As I reflect on activities that have been of the most benefit and blessing to the growth and maturation of our whole family, I cannot help but ponder the great blessings we have received from sharing in the body of Christ. Specifically, being very active and involved at our various church homes has been a tremendous blessing. Now that our churches are opening up and finding ways to bring their members physically back together, I encourage you to join if you are safely able rather than continuing as a virtual member.
As Aaron and I look back on our courting period and our 24 years of marriage, we are so thankful that God led us to College Church in Wheaton, IL. The ministry there laid the groundwork and foundation of our marriage and family. We know that we landed there quite providentially, and not to our own credit. We praise God for his grace and sovereignty in this! The Godly, Biblical influences we experienced as 19-22 year-olds have had life-long, eternal effects that are ongoing.
Through the influence of R. Kent Hughes and others we were inspired to do as Paul describes in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Aaron and I learned that working out this salvation involves many disciplines that do not come naturally. In fact, these disciplines are not only unnatural, but these efforts are being fought against by our enemy at all times. Therefore, our daily Christian walk is not one of comfort and ease at all times, but rather a tenacious run and a fight at many moments. This is described well in Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It may seem very difficult at times to continue to be involved heartily in a local church. At times, church attendance, service and fellowship can make one grow weary. Young children need morning naps, and the family has such demanding schedules that weekends sometimes seem the only opportunity for rest. Many Christian families today choose to use the time to catch up on work, or pursue recreation and “me time.” It is easy to understand that there are competing desires and activities which make getting the whole family out to church difficult. However, it is important to realize that the choice to not participate in the body of Christ regularly and with vulnerability has negative ripple effects. Conversely, choosing to participate with all your heart will have showers of blessings!
When we choose involvement in the body of Christ, we choose the opportunity to be known, to be loved, to be challenged and to grow. By serving, praying, bearing one another’s burdens, teaching and receiving teaching, we complete God’s calling in our lives. It may seem mundane or ordinary at times to attend church. However, know that when you are obedient in your worship and in your specific calling in your local body you are fulfilling God’s plan for your life. Fulfilling your calling brings God’s blessing! There is nothing mundane about God, or his blessings! This seemingly ordinary attendance and just “showing up” is an opening for your heart to be changed! And, when your heart is changed, your children, spouse and all others around you will be changed as well.