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"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is ..."
A minister recently asked a returning soldier from Afghanistan to give a few words of testimony. The congregation had just sung, "Like a mighty army moves the Church of God," so when the young soldier stood up he said, "You might have been able to sing that hymn some years ago without anyone challenging you, but now millions of men know exactly how an army does move. And it doesn't operate the way a lot of you do. Suppose the military accepted the lame excuses you present as an alibi for not attending services. Imagine this if you can. The trumpet sounds and the squads form and get ready to be deployed. The sergeant barks out, 'Count off! One, two, three ... say, number four is missing. Where's Pvt. Smith?’ 'Oh,' says someone nearby, 'Mr. Smith was too sleepy to get up this morning. He was out late last night and needed some extra rest. He said to tell you he would be with you in spirit.'
'That's fine,' says the sergeant, 'remember me to him. But where is Brown?' 'Oh, he's playing golf. He only gets a bit of time off, and you know how important that is to him.' 'Sure, sure,' says the sergeant cheerfully, 'I hope he has a good game. Where's Robinson?' 'Robinson,' explains the buddy, 'is sorry not to be here in person but he is entertaining friends today. Besides, he was here the last time we went out to battle.' 'Thank you,' says the sergeant smiling. 'Tell him he is welcome any time he finds it convenient to drop in for a while.' Honestly, folks, did a conversation like that ever happen in ANY army? Why, if any soldier tried to pull that stuff, he would get thrown into the brig! Yet you hear things like that every week in church. 'Like a mighty army!' Why if this church really moved like a mighty army, a lot of folks would be court-martialed within the hour.
Christians, re-read Hebrews 10:25, and then ask yourself, "Should I be court-martialed?”
Louis Abel is pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Chiefland.