Church services have changed since covid hit, so much so that many people are wondering, “What’s the purpose in going out to church when I can program it into my home?”
Here is one benefit in a nutshell: while sitting in a church service, trying to follow someone else’s sermon, you may get a message from God that you didn’t expect.
Since relocating to Mississippi in July 2020, I have been visiting a number of churches in search of God’s new church family and home. Having recently retired from a fast-paced staff position with a large church and now living in a rural community with houses set back off the road, meeting others who might advise is not as physically easy as it would seem. Known as part of the Bible Belt, this area has many church buildings. Finding the congregations, the people, the church sisters, and brothers, even the pastors, is another story, especially with covid, masks, distancing, etc. Many churches are closed and many more are abandoned.
Every Sunday morning has called me to service, to fulfill what I believe to be the purpose of the local church: celebrating God together and ministering to one another.
While I was sitting through one more service and wondering exactly why God had me at that particular church, the speaker expounded upon Matthew 13:44-50, about hidden treasures and their value. That’s when my eyes fell on Matthew 13:52: “and he (Jesus) said to them (disciples), ‘Therefore, every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.'” ESV.
Another version reads: “Then he (Jesus) added, ‘Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.'” NLT. Still another translation says, “He responded, ‘Every scholar of the Scriptures, who is instructed in the ways of heaven’s kingdom realm, is like a wealthy homeowner with his house filled with treasures both new and old. And he knows how and when to bring them out to show others.’”
I thought, ‘that’s for me’. I love to journal (scribe), I’ve been taught the Word of God, experienced many years of service, facilitated classes that the Holy Spirit taught, and have many foundational truths as well as new personal insights and applications. This is my verse and direction for the year 2021.
You may not feel at home in a church service or even welcomed or acknowledged. Opening the Bible to a passage you didn’t pick may be the only benefit that you receive. But what a great thing, if you come away knowing God has provided direction and spoken directly to you.