I love watching soccer. Believe it or not it is something that I find enjoyable. And before you mock me let me remind you that billions of people across the world enjoy it as well.
I love telling the coach of my favorite team how wrong he was in his decision making. I love sharing my opinion with the referee over his decision-making abilities, or his need to visit the ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Let me tell you it is very difficult for me to remain silent while watching my favorite team play.
The only problem with all that is that no one can hear me, well maybe my neighbors can, but those involved in the actual outcome of the game can’t. The coach, the players, the referee all have no idea that there is some guy thousands of miles away yelling at them through the television screen.
This spectator mentality is what we see in many churches. Many people show up thinking that the Church is there in order to serve them. In fact if we are honest everyone naturally thinks this way. We all are born thinking that the world exists for our purposes. Many young pastors like me actually encourage this. They set up churches to look like rock-concerts with a mini, story-filled sermon jammed in the middle that will rarely last longer than 20 minutes. The Bible is set aside and the service seems to be geared to make unbelievers feel welcome and comfortable.
The writer of Hebrews has a different mindset. He is convinced that being part of the Church implies being more than a spectator. In fact, he encourages all believers to be active participants. In Hebrews 10:24-25 we find a famous passage. A passage we usually rush to when we find someone who claims to be a Christian but doesn’t attend church. While it certainly is the go-to “don’t skip church” passage, it is so much more. In just two short verses we are given five implied commands that could radically change our Sunday morning.
The First thing we must do is PREPARE for Sunday morning.
“and let us consider…”
The word “consider” in verse 24 implies that we need our minds to be engaged on Sunday morning. That means that our minds must be alert. This implies that we need to be in tip-top shape. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that we will not be able to be fully alert Sunday morning unless we get a good night’s sleep. That’s why they say that Sunday morning begins Saturday night. We need to be rested, not only because we are better sermon listeners, but because we are more alert and eager to serve and encourage others when we hug the pillow enough. I think it’s implied that we are prepared for Church. That means that we aren’t scrambling to get everything ready to get out of the door Sunday morning. Perhaps having lunch all ready, clothes picked out, and Bibles and notebooks in the car Saturday night will prevent a lot of drama in the morning. Another key aspect is to have our minds thinking about the Lord and others, rather than worldly things. Doing some Netflix binge-watching right before church is probably not the best thing to do. We’re probably going to be wondering what will happen to our favorite character rather than how we can be serving our fellow brothers and sisters.
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