Today begins our special effort; a Sunday through Friday meeting focusing on the topic of “One Another”. I want to thank our Elders for their foresight, planning and interest in my spiritual growth. (Acts 20:28) It’s not easy being an Elder, with diverse personalities and maturity among members the work can be daunting at times. They have an awesome and vital role, but sadly sometimes a thankless task of looking out for you and me.(Heb. 13:7 This gospel meeting is but one way in which they are trying to fulfill their God given duty. (1 Peter 5:1-3)
While I am thankful we have an Eldership, the quality of my spiritual health falls on me. (Gal. 6:4-5) It is a bit like a doctor and patient association in this sense – sound and accurate advice is good, but it’s up to me use it in my life. (Heb. 13:17) Our Elders have provided a chance for spiritual growth this week, and I’m sure they encourage everyone to attend. The question is, how will I use the opportunity? I know this; my faith can do nothing but grow stronger if I attend. (Eph. 4:15-16)) Where will I be each service of the meeting?
We have several local men who do a good job preaching and we’re blessed by their efforts. Our Elders decided to use some of these men to preach in this week’s meeting, one I believe to be good and profitable. I am confident they will prepare, do a good job and present the truth. They will do all of this whether I attend or not, but I plan to be present for every service. What about you, will you support and encourage them by your presences?
All of our services glorify God by design and intent. We respect Bible authority and our acts of worship follow the examples of Divine revelation. (Col. 3:17) You will not see or hear anything unless certified by the New Testament. (2 Tim. 1:13) I want to be a part of this effort to worship and glorify God. I cannot imagine telling God that there’s something more important than He is (Matt. 6:19-21) by choosing to miss without “good” reason. What if Jesus returns on Tuesday night and I’m not with the saints, but home watching TV? Do I want to face Him and explain myself under those conditions? (Matt. 7:21-23)
This weeklong series of gospel lessons gives me a chance to encourage you and you me, but it’s a lost opportunity if one of us is absent. I want you to be present, I need and enjoy your fellowship so don’t steal the prospect of mutual exhortation. (Heb. 10:25) There may be other opportunities, but if I waste this time it’s gone forever.
As important as my presence is, attendance doesn’t guarantee value or benefit. To get the most out of a service I need to prepare mentally. My focus and attention must be on the prayers, songs and sermon. (1 Cor. 14:15) I can be an active participant, even if I don’t have a public role, by becoming mentally involved. Have you ever gone to a service only to come away without any memory of the lesson or songs? It’s a complete waste of time and it is my fault. (Acts 20:9) Put worldly matters aside, be thankful for the opportunity and give attention to the reason you are there. That’s my goal for this week.
While the focus of a gospel meeting is usually toward the members, I want to encourage you to invite others to come. They may say no or not show up, but you have done your job if you ask them. (Matt. 9:37-38) My “job”, is that really the way I look at inviting people? Sadly, many of us think it a burden to go out and give a simple invitation to others to hear God’s Word. The gospel is God’s power to save and it gives hope to a hopeless people. (Rom. 1:16-17) I should not think of it as a weight around my neck but a chance to help others with what they need most.
I want to thank Danny Simmons, Justin Bonner, Shawn Lauderdale, Reagan Bonner, Jeremy Koontz, Garrett Starling, and Rowdy Stone for their time and effort this week. I know they have put a great deal of work into their preparation and will do a good job. We have several other men just as capable and we’re blessed with their preaching ability. I appreciate their efforts too. I am looking forward to the week. What about you?
By Terry Starling