It has always been a struggle to get every member of the local church to attend all Bible classes and worship services. Yes, they will come to the A.M. worship service, but not to the other periods of Bible study and worship. When asked why, they will respond: “Those services are optional. They are not commanded by God.”
My question is: “If these are optional services, why do some people choose to attend them?”
Could it be their love for God? Could it be their love for truth? Could it be their love for worship? Could it be their desire for Christian fellowship? Could it be their level of Christian maturity? Could it be their hunger for spiritual things? Could it be their commitment to the local congregation? Could it be their desire to set a good Christian example? Could it be they long to grow in Christ? Could it be additional worship and study keep them faithful? Could it be they understand they are to be subject to the elders? Could it be they want to be like the first century Christians? Could it be they realize the need to sacrifice? Could it be a combination of these things and more? COULD BE!
Some Christians seem like they want to try to skim by when it comes to the final judgment. It is not about their heart, their faith, and their love for God. It is about doing just enough to get by. Their Christianity is not about a relationship with their Savior. Their Christianity is more about guilt, shame, and fear.
Personally, I love attending the “optional” things, including the various works of the church: VBS, gospel meetings, work days, clothing giveaways, men’s breakfasts, men’s days, etc. Why? I enjoy them because I realize the benefits I derive from participating in such works. I am the one blessed. Too, there is a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that I have served my Lord by serving His church.
Yes, many believe that so many things the church does are optional. I also know some of my brethren who would say: “These are not as optional as some brethren might think they are.”
I am thankful that in most churches the majority of brethren are still interested in what some call “the optional” aspects of the church.
Victor Eskew Oceanside church of Christ, Atlantic Beach, FL