Why go to church?
Here I am in church looking across three teenagers talking. They are talking animatedly with lots of laughing and giggling.
Behind me are two young adults seemingly absorbed in their smart phones – texting, playing games and what not.
On the other side of the hall, still more teenagers. A raucous group of boys are joking around and laughing.
In their background is the booming bass of the preacher as he rambles about God and someone named Christ. These people are oblivious to the preacher in front of them. Ask them and they will tell you that they want to go to church.
Makes you furious right? Sacrilege! Heresy! Put them to death and all that jazz.
Now consider this story:
I had my internship training in a hospital not many years ago. It was a government hospital for soldiers and their family. It’s a sort of service for the men who have served the country.
And, man, the facility was huge!
One of the moments I couldn’t forget there was when I was asked to go visit a patient in the ICU. I was supposed to do a bedside feeding assessment.
I’ve been in most of the wards so the ICU, I thought, was easy.
I thought wrong.
Imagine going inside a room full of beeping machines and people gasping for breath. The mere sound would make you cringe and want your life to end. The machines seemed to be sucking my very breath. At each step, I felt the people around me are not just sucking air but also my energy and will to live. I wanted to bolt out. Yet these people were placed there in the hopes of living. They and their family hope that with the care given in the hospital, regardless of the costs, they will continue on living.
Now, why go to hospital?
Hospitals and churches have a lot in common. They are both created to restore life. They are both created to cater to the broken, weak and sick.
The hospital was made for the physically sick and diseased. The church was made for the spiritually sick and sinful. Thus, you go to the hospital when you are sick and go the church when you have realized that you are sinful.
Therefore, we do not need to be surprised to see sinful and heretical people in a church in the same way we are not surprised to see sick people in a hospital.
Both were instituted for the healing of man.
What about glory? What about praise? What about worship?
Glorifying someone is giving him or her public adulation. Jose Rizal has been adulated as a hero and a martyr for the Philippines. Though not as spiritual as popes, his name is already a household name in any Filipino home here and abroad.
In the same manner, saints and martyrs of the faith are also given special recognition. In the Philippines, feasts are held annually to celebrate the saints and what they stood for. I am not a Catholic to know these celebrations specifically, but their contribution has given such an impact in the lives of the people who believe in them that a feast was given in their honour.
The names of these men and women are forever etched in memory and are forever glorified as great men. Days are set aside for these men in their respective places to celebrate their contributions for society.
With God’s contribution to your personal existence, I guess the adulation should not be bound by just one day of praise and worship. Think about it, when Some One became responsible for your very existence in this earth, shouldn’t He be lauded with your every breath? And when that some One also saved you from eternal doom, shouldn’t He be remembered in your every waking moment?
So unless you realize and become satisfied with who God is and what He has done for you, you will realize that to glorify Him and to praise Him, you need not only go to church. In order to glorify Him and praise Him, you need to dedicate your every breath and your whole life for Him and His purpose.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Realizing this will make you change your perspective on all the people who go to church. More than that, it will make you realize what it means to glorify God. You don’t glorify God by only going to church, you glorify God by being satisfied in what He has done for you and surrendering your whole life for Him.
If God made us for his glory, it is clear that we should live for his glory. Our duty comes from his design. So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that he is for us. This is the essence of loving God (Matthew 22:37) and trusting him (1 John 5:3-4) and being thankful to him (Psalm 100:2-4) It is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others (Colossians 1:4-5).
~ John Piper