Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015 “No Excuse Sunday”

“Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.”              (Hebrews 10:25)

“A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” (Psalm 84:10)

Good Morning Everyone!

For those who have been counting, (and that “group” includes primarily me alone), this month marks the fortieth anniversary of my service as an ordained pastor. There are a lot of people I have met whose names I no longer remember…lots that I do remember…and others I remember for things they have said to me. The last of these categories has a sub-category that includes those that have offered what they consider to be legitimate excuses for not attending worship. Some are rather mundane and not very original, such as “Sunday is my family day and the only time we really get to spend time together” …Translation:“Picnics are a lot more appealing than going to church.” Another oft heard excuse is ““We had out of town company this weekend.” Translation-“Sleeping in sounds like a great idea. Sunday is the “Day of Rest” after all”. Others come up with more original excuses. My all-time favorite was one I heard from a woman I went to visit at the first church I served in Ohio when I began my ministry. It was a hot July morning when I drove up the rather long dirt driveway to her home to introduce myself. I learned that she was an infrequent attendee…Translation: (She never attended). When I asked her why she looked outside and said “It’s hard driving up and down that hill when it snows.” I was so flummoxed by this observation that I could offer no non-sarcastic response, so I simply said that, yes, I could see where that would be problematical in DECEMBER!

Excuses! Excuses! One clever pastor posted the following rebuttals to such excuses in his church’s newsletter. Here is what he wrote:

To make it possible for everyone to attend church this Sunday, we are going to have a special “No Excuse Sunday”: Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, “Sunday is my only day to sleep in.” There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard. Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night. We will have steel helmets for those who say, “The roof would cave in if I ever came to church.” Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot. Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present. Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can’t go to church and cook dinner, too. We will distribute “Stamp Out Stewardship” buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money. One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature. Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday. The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them. We will provide hearing aids for those who can’t hear the preacher and cotton wool for those who think he’s too loud! Hope to see you there! 

Perhaps the best admonishment of all is that offered in the Book of Hebrews: “Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.”    Choosing not to worship can quickly become a habit…one that the Enemy will gleefully exploit to our detriment and to his advantage.  Instead of nodding understandably when you hear such excuses, take that time to encourage one another instead to be at worship. Let them know they are missed. Stay connected with the family of faith…even if that road is hard to drive in the winter! Let’s pray!

Eternal God; It is so true that “A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” It is a privilege and a joy to be in fellowship with the saints, joined together in worship and praise. May I faithfully be found there giving glory to Your Great Name, for You are worthy of all praise. Amen!












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