In my study of the book of I Samuel, I have read many valuable lessons that can be applied to certain situations today. For instance, this book shows the power of prayer as well as God’s Will always prevailing over man’s will. Another lesson that can be gleaned from this book is the need for Christians to be obedient followers of God every day of the week instead of just during worship service on the first day of the week. Likewise, it is also important that Christians not let secular activities or anything else besides sickness or caring for the sick to get in the way of them attending worship services each time that their local congregation of the church of Christ meets. Christians should always strive to be strong and faithful members of the Lord’s church. Those who allow the world to take priority over God are weak and need spiritual guidance in order to become strong.
The verse in I Samuel that speaks of God’s displeasure toward those who are not obedient to Him every day of their lives comes from I Samuel 15:22, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” We see from this that mere outward, insincere expressions of loyalty to God are not what God requires. God wants us to love Him from the heart, and thereby obey Him. In so doing, the outward expressions will take care of themselves for they will be truly sincere and heart-felt. There are some people who will do and say whatever they want six days of the week without giving a thought as to whether or not they are pleasing unto God. When Sunday morning rolls around, these same people will often attend worship service and go through all of the motions of worship without taking God’s Word and the actions of worship into their hearts. They will then persist in their waywardness by not resolving to practice obedience unto the Lord when they leave the worship service and walk back into the world. Those who believe that going to worship services of the church of Christ on Sunday will get them into heaven without being faithful Christians every other day of the week will have an awakening either upon their deaths or the Judgment Day. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Going to worship services and listening to what the Bible teaches, but not practicing those teachings in everyday life will cause both Christians and non-Christians alike to lose the reward of heaven. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).
Having said all of this, it is important to attend the worship services of the church, but let us live for the Lord each and every day. Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Christians must be mindful of the importance of not letting secular activities get in the way of worshipping the Lord on the first day of the week as well as each time their home congregation meets. For instance, missing worship service in order to work a secular job for monetary gain goes against God’s Commandment that we should always put Him first in our lives. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).
I remember when I would interview for jobs in retail while I was in college, I would always tell the employer up front that I needed to have time off to attend Bible study and worship services on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesday nights. I had some employers say that they could not allow me to have time off on Sunday or Wednesday nights and therefore would not hire me. Those who were accepting of my request did hire me, and I was able to keep God first in my life as well as work a secular job. My experience shows that if a person looking for a job is up front enough to ask their employer for time off from work to attend worship service and Bible study, then he or she may find that some employers are willing to work out a schedule with their employees so that they can attend service on Sunday as well as service on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, however, there are some Christians who will not take a stand for God and ask their employers for time off from work to attend worship service. This is a sad situation because Christians who do this are making their jobs and money an idol before God. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10).
Likewise, Christians should not blame “getting home late from work” as an excuse to not assemble. It is better for a person to come a little late for worship service than to not come at all. Christians should also not let any other secular activity get in the way of worshipping the Lord, whether it is related to school, sports, or whatever else.
As stated earlier, God in His mercy understands if a person misses worship service due to sickness or taking care of the sick. What amazes me is how there are some Christians who will miss worship service for something that they would not miss their secular jobs over come Monday morning. Such things like headaches, tiredness, and other mild ailments will keep some people out of worship services, but they would never risk missing their secular jobs for the same issues. This goes back to a Christian’s need to put God as top priority in his or her life. Matthew 6:33 says, “Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We should never put secular things above spiritual ones. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).
The purpose of this article was to teach on how a Christian can either become strong or remain strong by putting God first in his or her life. There is nothing that another person here on the earth can do to us as punishment that will cause us to lose our souls, but by putting worldly things above God, Christians risk losing their souls for all eternity. May we ever strive to be a light unto the world and to not let the devil lead us to believe that we should put our focus on the little problems of this life rather than on our goal of reaching Heaven. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21). Let’s make sure our heart is in the right place!