OceanSide church of Christ
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WHY IS IT?
Victor M. Eskew
Since the dawn of time, men have asked the question: “Why?” When man looks at the wonders of the world, he asks: “Why?” When man experiences the events of life, he asks: “Why?” Sometimes, man finds the answers to his questions. At other times, answers are not readily available. In this article, we are asking the question: “Why is it?” We want to apply it to several issues that face members of the Lord’s church in their service to God.
#1 – Why is it that members of the Lord’s church attend the A.M. worship service, but do not attend Bible study the same morning? There are probably many answers that could be given to this question. Some people are not “morning” people. They have a difficult time getting up and getting ready in the morning. Some feel that Bible classes are optional matters. These classes are for anyone who desires to attend, but no one really has to go. Still others believe that Bible classes are dull, boring, and irrelevant to their lives. Thus, they choose to stay home.
#2 – Why is it that members of the church will attend the A.M. service, but they will not attend the P.M. service? Some of the elderly say they do not attend the evening service because they are afraid to drive in the dark. Many tell us that the evening worship service is not authorized by the Word of God. In other words, the Bible does not say: “Thou shalt attend the evening worship services of the church.” Some will admit that they do not come because they have not made it a habit in their spiritual life. A few are honest enough to admit that they do not enjoy sitting through an hour-long service again. To them, there is no benefit of the worship service in their lives.
#3 – Why it is that the members of the church will attend the “fun” events of the church (picnics, parties, showers, fellowship meals, trips to amusement parks, etc.), but they will not support the “sober” events of the church (gospel meetings, work days, planning days, ladies’ days, teacher’s workshops, seminars, etc.)? One answer lies in the words we used to describe these different events. Some events are “fun”; others are “sober.” Almost everyone is up for a little fun. Sobering events, on the other hand, do not have the same caliber of excitement and thrill surrounding them.
#4 – Why is it that we have to beg and plead, and beg and plead some more to get teachers to assist in the Educational Program of the church? Again, the answers are many. Some will not teach because their schedules are too filled to take on another task. Others refuse to teach because they enjoy attending class, not teaching class. Still others will not teach because they believe the position will turn into a “full-time” position. Once they assume the responsibility, they will never be able to quit. A few believe they are not capable of teaching. Therefore, they will not teach.
#5 – Why it is that members will tell others about the bargains at the supermarket, but will not tell others about the cleansing blood of Christ that was shed on the cross of Calvary? Perhaps the biggest reason here involves the reception of the message. We know that others are eager to hear about the bargain at the store. They will listen intently to what we have to say, and they will act on the information they are given. This reaction, however, is not what they receive when they tell others about the gospel of Christ. Individuals turn them off, reject their message, and will, at times, cease to be their friend. Who wants to tell others about something that is only going to bring rejection and criticism?
#6 – Why is it that we are so concerned for members of our physical families, but we show so little concern for members of our spiritual family? One reason for this is because we have not taken the time to get to know our brothers and sisters in Christ. Many have been members of a local congregation for years, but do not know the names of many in their congregation. This happens, in part, because we are only with our brothers and sisters for maybe an hour or two each week. Even then, we only talk for a brief period of time.
Why is it? Why is it? Why is it? We could just keep asking the question and searching for answers. The answers, though, are usually superficial. This writer believes that the real answers are threefold. First, many members of the church have a serious heart condition. They go through the motions that comfort their consciences, but their hearts are not really part of their Christianity. The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day had this problem. Jesus rebuked them for it. “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophecy of you saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:7-9). If the heart is fully engaged in one’s Christian service, there is not only a desire to be faithful and diligent, there is also translation of that desire into action.l
Second, individuals who say they love God either do not know what love is, or, they are not willing to love God with their all. God does not want a portion of our love. He desires all of our love. “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all they strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30). When man tries to love God and something carnal at the same time, an impossibility arises. Jesus said: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). As long as individuals have divided loyalties, they will have trouble with every Christian responsibility.
Third, we have some with the church who have not grown in their knowledge of God’s Word. These individuals are ignorant. These individuals do not know. Many of these individuals believe that the only way God authorizes is through a strict: “Thus saith the Lord.” They are ignorant of the fact that God authorizes in other ways also. Take for instance, God has specifically told us to give upon the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2). He does not tell us specifically how much we are to give. He does instruct us to give bountifully (II Cor. 9:6-7). This instruction keeps us from merely throwing a penny into the collection plate each week. No, the Bible does not specifically say: “Attend Bible class every Sunday morning.” The Bible does tell us to grow in our knowledge of the Word of God (II Pet. 3:18). The Bible also instructs elders to feed the flock (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 5:1-2). If the shepherds provide Bible classes to feed us, we should submit to their lead (Heb. 13:17). These things should propel all of us to attend every Bible class that we possibly can. Yes, knowledge is the key. As long as brethren are ignorant, they will face destruction (Hos. 4:6).
Preachers, elders, and faithful members will continue to ask: “Why is it?” in regard to pitiable actions on the part of some members. A bad heart condition, an unwillingness to love God with all their being, and a lack of knowledge will always be three large contributing factors. Some need radical heart surgery. Some need to learn to love God. Some need to have their knowledge of God’s Word increased. Do you fall into one of these categories, dear reader? What do you need to do to develop greater faithfulness to the Lord’s cause?