We had a special service on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to praise our God and thank Him for all the wonderful things He has done for us. We had a period of singing. We had men share what they were thankful for and offer encouragement from God’s Word. One of our elders, Rodney Mathis, shared some things with us that were very encouraging, and I asked him if I could publish them in an article. Many people read our bulletin articles and they are available online. I believe his experience can teach us, so I want to share Rodney’s words to us that night.

My family attended Union Hill church of Christ from 1979-1994. I am thankful for Charles and Linda Maxwell and the example they set for me and my family while I was attending Union. We attended Sycamore church of Christ for around 4 years and enjoyed our time there. We started to at-tend Double Springs in late 1998. Pam’s Husband, Jerry, developed cancer, so we visited Double Springs because Jerry was unable to withstand the drive up to Sycamore. The congregation here showed all of us so much love and friendship during the loss of Jerry that we decided to make Double Springs our new church home.

My dad died in January of 2000. I was 40 years old at that time. My main concern, at that time, was providing for my family and enjoying life. The first few years at Double Springs, I was a poor example. I was a part-time worshiping Christian. I came to church services when it was convenient for me. I would worship and love God when it did not interfere with my fishing, sports activities, working on the farm, or watching a TV show that I wanted to see. I even missed church to go and work out so I could be physically fit. On several Wednesday and Sunday nights, I would conveniently “be sick” and not attend services, but would always be able to go to work at my paying job. I remember coming home and telling Donna to go ahead to church, but that I didn’t feel good and was going to stay home. After a couple years, the loving people at Double Springs started showing me that being here on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night was where I needed to be. Slowly but surely, I started to change my mindset and my priorities. Being a full-time worshiping Christian is what I needed to be. One Wednesday, I had been sick all day. Donna said, “Are you going to church tonight?” I told her, “Yes ma’am! I was able to work all day, why would I not go worship God?” She looked at me and smiled. I decided to be spiritually fit instead of spending so much time at the gym trying to be physically fit. I finally realized that, if I was a Christian, I needed to be a full-time Christian. If I am going to do the Lord’s Will, I will set the example for others by not creating excuses for why I can’t or don’t do the Lord’s Will. How can I talk to someone else about attending church and worshiping God when I only do it part-time myself and only when it’s convenient for me?

You must ask yourself the same questions. Am I a full-time Christian or a part-time Christian? What kind of example do I set for my children, grand-children, friends, and others? What if I invite someone to worship with me on a Sunday or Wednesday and I am not here because I felt fishing, football, watching a TV program or working out was more important? They will question my faith. We are the only example some people will ever see. I am not saying if that you miss a worship service you are going to go to hell. However, church services build us up and help us grow in the faith. I am asking you, “When you miss a worship service, does it make you closer to God”? We all have only one life to do God’s Will and follow the plan of salvation. Are you doing God’s Will or your own will? Do you set the proper example for others to follow? We will all have to answer for everything we do and don’t do. Only you can answer that question!

I think a very fitting passage to go with Rodney’s words can be found in the Book of James. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1: 22-24 ESV) Let’s carefully consider these thoughts.

~ Mike