WHAT’S YOUR REASON?
By Ada Nicholson Brownell
The man was about 60. He was dirty and missing a few teeth.
“I haven’t been to church for about 30 years,” he said. Last time I went, I had a brand new hat. I hung it in the vestibule. When I went to get it after the service, it was gone, and a dirty shabby one was left in its place. I vowed I’d never go to church again. I never have and I never will.
(Jesus once lost a garment too, for it is written, “And they crucified him and parted his garments, casting lots…”)
“You want to know why I don’t go to church?” a young fellow responded. “The last time I went I tore a hole in a brand new suit. The pew had a nail sticking out of it. I’ll never go again.”
(There were some nails in an old rugged cross, too, for the Bible says, “I shall see in his hands the prints of the nails…”)
“Every time I go to church someone asks me to get saved,” a teen complained. “I’m tired of it. I’m not going anymore.”
(When the thief was dying on the cross, he did not wait for someone to invite him, but said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom…”}
“They’re always asking for money,” grumbled a well-dressed gentleman. “That’s why I don’t go.”
(Some people, like the rich young ruler who talked with Jesus, would rather die rich but unhappy, it seems. “And he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions…”}
“I know a deacon who is a crook,” a thin middle-aged man said “My wife couldn’t drag me to church with her.”
(Eleven of Christ’s disciples could have offered this same excuse. Jesus knew this and said, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”)
“They’re too strict,” a coed said of her parents’ church. I want to find out what goes on the world. I’m through with church.”
(If she would have been living when Jesus was on earth, she would have considered Him too strict, for He said, “Enter ye at the strait gate…because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…”)
We must recognize churchgoing doesn’t make a person a Christian—only the new birth can do that—but not one of these people professed to be serving the Lord despite the imperfections of the church. Not many people do.
If you don’t go to church or serve the Lord, perhaps you have your own favorite reason. Of course, you know it should be a good reason because it will be all you have to tell God when you stand before Him and try to explain why you didn’t serve Him.
It should be a good reason because it will have to show why you didn’t accept Jesus’ sufferings for your sins. He knows the imperfections of His church better than you do, but He does not forsake it. His love for us is enough to bind Him to us.
Whatever your reason for avoiding God and not associating with His people, ought to be good enough to comfort you for a Christless eternity.
Wouldn’t it be better, though, to recognize that excuse for what it is—a flimsy device to justify your rejection of Christ by the visible rejection of the church—than to face up to it when it’s too late?
Don’t let your excuses keep you away from God for another hour. You’ll find many good reasons for serving God in this life, and more in the world to come.
THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, January 15, 1967