Ajisegiri Agbabiaka, a master’s degree holder, Christian, works hard all through the week to earn a living. He lives in the bustling city of Lagos. For some time now he has been avoiding going to the Church on Sundays. Brother Agbabiaka (not his real name) is a good friend of mine. We went to the same alma mater. He is bored. He sees Church as a routine. He is no longer fascinated to going to the Church. Agbabiaka prioritizes pleasing his body over any Church activity. He wants to relax at home after a hardworking week rather than go to the Church to praise his maker on Sundays.
I totally do not blame my friend after all I once had similar thought of what is the good or benefit of going to the Church at the expense of my comfort. After much inner fight I resolved that it is not about the messenger or about the building called the Church. It is about the MESSAGE coming out of that Church. Is it profitable to my soul? Is it edifying? Am I being blessed or not? If all these queries were not confirmed I can always change Church so I concluded.
My friend no longer sees any benefit of going to the Church. That explains his unreceptive stance or negative hypothesis about the Church today. The Church must help people like him realize this profound detour from the right path, else, the Church may just become out of fashion for some people. According to him (I am paraphrasing here), some people force themselves to go to the Church just to avoid being painted as devils or sinners if they were seen at home on Sundays. So they jump to go to the Church at the expense of their health or convenience to avoid the shame. In other words, people are ashamed of being seen at home; so they just want to fulfil all righteousness by saying hello to the Church, not by their conviction that going to the Church is a necessity and not a routine.
STRESS is one of the main reasons my friend gave to support his premise of staying put at home to please his body. He emphasized that one should get rest; go for vacation and other similar pleasure or recreational activities that will advance the health of the body. Don’t you think my friend has a valid point(s)? Of course, he does. But he went aloof as my conversation with him continued. He said God will not be angry if one does not go to the Church on some Sundays to rest at home. He argued that he does not need to go to the Church to be a good Christian. That, God is everywhere and so he can always render praises to Him from home. Highlighted below are cardinal points I presented before him trying to win him to my side.
- It is true that God is everywhere, but in his presence there is fullness of joy so says the Scripture in Psalm 16:11. You cannot get that fullness, that satisfaction while sitting at home.
- Going to the Church on Sunday especially, is a commandment—a necessity, not a routine.
- If you are bored or tired of going to a particular Church, change that Church and go to another one. Simple.
- No man is an island of knowledge. We all need help. We need each other to survive.
- What you know or have, others may desire it; what others have or know you may be seriously in want of it. (It’s a case of you rub my back I rub you back)
- We need corporate prayers. Hebrews 10:25.
- You will get the fun you are looking for when you go to the Church because the Church is one of the agents of socialization.
- The message is the ultimate, not the messenger. Be illuminated by the message, don’t be distracted or dissuaded by the messenger, or the message channel—the Church.
All said and done, but don’t get it twisted; your health is very paramount. Attend to your health if it is life threatening. But sitting at home on the Sabbath day using resting or relaxing at home as an excuse to avoid going to the Church is very naïve and foolhardy. It is possible to work-hard through the week, serve God during the weekend, and still don’t compromise your health. It’s all about wisdom. If you can (i.e. you can move your body), please go to the Church on Sundays and other days. Going to the Church should not be a compulsion, but a passion for service and honour to your creator.