Come Hungry, But Not Starved…
There is something absolutely beautiful about the church coming together to worship God on a regular basis. I say “regular” because most churches that I am familiar with meet on a weekly basis, but I have visited many churches overseas who meet on a daily basis! I am even aware of churches that meet together every other week. I am not sure that the actual amount of time between meetings is nearly as important as the fact that it is an agreed upon, clearly communicated, and regular coming together of the body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit inspired writer of Hebrews seems to think that this meeting together is important.
… let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV, emphasis added)
The meeting together is important! We should by no means neglect it. However, I have said it before and I will say it again: You don’t have to be at church to worship God.
This truth is so important for us, as worshipers. I am big on corporate worship. I cannot stress enough how important corporate worship is for us (or to God, for that matter), but corporate worship is at its absolute best when private worship is also a regular reality. In the case of private worship, I would use the word “regular” to mean at least daily.
When I traveled overseas as a missionary, I had the experience of being in a nation that was predominantly of a different religion during their holy month. In this religion, they celebrate their holy month by starving themselves throughout the day and breaking their fast each night when the sun goes down. I was invited by one of my friends (who practiced this other religion) to participate in the breaking of the fast one night, so I went. I wasn’t that hungry because I had been eating throughout the day, but I thought it would be a neat experience. What I witnessed was, frankly, disturbing.
A dozen or more people were gathered around a banquet table, staring at the feast before them with bulging eyes, twitchy hands, and rumbling bellies. As soon as the sun went down and the call to break the fast rang out through the city, fingers and food went flailing everywhere! I kept my own hands back (mostly out of fear that they would be mistaken for food in the midst of the madness), but my friends devoured every last bit of food on the table. Even if I had wanted to participate, I would have had to jockey for position. A few minutes later, with sauces and shreds of chicken stuck to their hands and mouths, my friends sat down and reclined deeply into their chairs, completely stuffed.
Is this a picture of our corporate worship settings? Do we come so starved for the things of God that we forget about those around us, desperate to dig in for ourselves but oblivious of those around us? Or, are we so filled by other things (like I was), that we don’t really even participate at all. Perhaps we just stand back and watch with intrigue and curiosity.
There is a better way. Jesus reminded his disciples to pray for their “daily bread”. As worshipers, we should be praying for our “daily bread” and regularly meeting with God on our own. We don’t have to “fast” from God and then try to stuff ourselves during corporate worship. God is with us and is available to us all of the time -every single moment of every single day! Let us regularly taste and see that the Lord is good!
Still, when we come together, we should come hungry for God to show up in ways that only happen during corporate worship! Let’s not allow ourselves to be so full of other things that we are indifferent towards God. Come hungry… but not starved.
Artwork provided by my good friend, Brooke Gehman, an authentic and wonderful man of God, devoted follower of Christ, and an amazing husband and father. Brooke is a gifted Worship Leader, an incredible artist, and a Potter by trade (check out his website).