“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb 10:25 NIV)
Did you know that we can be of encouragement to one another through worship? I sure didn’t know, especially when I was young and wild and only cared about myself. But now that I have matured in years a bit (I am called a dinosaur by my students! It must mean something!) I have started to realize the importance of regularly coming together for worship. These meetings are not only such a blessing to me, but I can also be an encouragement to others who attend. And so are you! Let me share with you what happened to me last Sunday. It’s a day I will never forget!
My brother-in-law and his family had come up from Virginia to orchestrate with my mother-in-law’s moving sale. I was in charge of keeping the kids. That was easy. They were so happy to be able to play with their cousins that it seemed I had the best job of everybody.
The sale was to be on Sunday, and it so happened that this was the Sunday of the Spring time change. And since the sale was to start at 7:00 a.m., by the NEW time, all the adults (except myself) had to get what seemed to be a VERY early start! I hadn’t changed my watch the day before and when I woke up at 6:00 a.m. I glanced at my watch and said to myself: “It’s only 5:00 a.m. by the new time standards. I better force myself to stay in bed!” So I forced myself to stay where I was. I tossed here and there. I felt like I was running a marathon! Finally tired of tossing (this is hard work, believe me!) I got up. My watch read 6:35, so I figured it was really only 5:35 and I’d have an extra hour to play with. Then my youngest son came charging upstairs:
“Papa, it is time to wake up! It’s 7:35 a.m.!”
“7:35 a.m.? Are you sure?”
“Yes, papa. You remember the time change!”
Oh no! I had it all backwards! Instead of being an hour ahead, I was 2 hours late! I still had to send the newsletters, feed the kids, get ready for church and pick up my wife by 9:00 a.m. from my mother-in-law’s home 20 minutes drive away. Normally we had to be in church for 10:00. But this day, my kids had to be there for 9:30 to help set up the puppet stage for the kids church. I had barely one hour to get ready before we had to leave, and instead of my usual two kids, I was responsible for getting four out the door on time!
Feeding the bunch didn’t turn out to be so bad after all. The kids had already fed themselves before I got up, and being a master magician, I was able to transform myself from a grumpy-looking zombie in pajamas into a decent (hopefully!) Well-dressed church-goer within the limits of our time restraints.
As I sat down in the driver’s seat of the van at 8:30 a.m. with all 4 kids securely fastened into their safety belts, I went over the usual checklist:
“Do you have your coats?”
“Do you have your Bibles?”
“Do you have your water bottles?”
“Water bottles? Oh no, we forgot them!”
To my horror of horror, I now had to release the troupes, open up the house, and send them off to accomplish the impossible task of finding their water bottles.
But it got worse. As soon as we were inside, my youngest son yelled:
“Papa. Grams’ cats have escaped! We need to find them!”
Sure enough, my mother-in-law’s two cats who we were responsible for while she was in the hospital, were nowhere to be found. In most households, this wouldn’t constitute much of a problem. But because we have 4 pet birds that would be considered a delicious treat to any pair of felines, we quickly embarqued on a two-part search: 1. To find a pair of cats; and 2. To find a pair of water bottles!
After a hectic search (Boy, these cats can run! Try to catch cats who are determined to remain free to roam around the house with the only purpose of anticipating a delicious feathered snack!) We had both cats cornered. To make sure they would not escape again, we put them in their crate and locked them up in my son’s bedroom. Amazingly enough, finding the water bottles was simple after that search!
We were now back in the car, 20 minutes late, and as I backed out of the garage, I discovered it had snowed during the night. And not just a little snow either. Now everyone knows you aren’t supposed to have snow in April, so naturally, the roads hadn’t been plowed. Oh no! It took all of my driving abilities, along with the protective help of many guardian angels, to keep us from slipping into the many attractive-looking ditches, but I finally arrived, 25 minutes late, at my mother-in-law’s place to pick up my wife. We had exactly 5 minutes to get to church in time to help with the puppet stage.
The rest was history. We flew down the highway, which, miraculously, had been plowed, and somehow we managed to arrive at church on time. It was a miracle!
As we entered the church, Mr. Jack came to us apologizing. Today there would be no puppets during kid’s church!
We might have been angry, but instead we rejoiced that we were half an hour early for once. We spent the time before worship meditating over God’s Word. What was amazing is that once worship started, all the stress we had gone through evaporated. We were an encouragement to one another as we all sang praise to the Lord. As I looked at my kids and my wife, I realized that there was no better place to be than in church worshipping the Lord. All our morning adventures had been worth this special moment. At the end of the service we all thanked each other for being such an encouragement to one another and praised the Lord for the special blessing that had been bestowed on us.
My friend, if you are not taking the time to regularly worship the Lord with other believers, you are missing a huge blessing! Your hectic schedules will keep your hearts pumping with anxiety. Come to the Lord and hand Him over your worries, and come rejoice in the company of saints worshipping the Lord. Come and be a blessing to others and see your burdens evaporate in the presence of the Lord. You won’t regret it!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries