Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday? (Part 2)

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Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday? (Part 2)

Luke 14:23

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

As the missionaries go out into the “bush” or foreign field, we back at home are faced with the dilemma with ever declining church membership and attendance. Even in local church sanctioned ministries we are still affected with the decline of church attendance and slumping worship service participation. We, as conservative Christians, have noticed that even the contemporary non-traditional churches aren’t exempt from this epidemic. Seeing these trends, we must conclude that it isn’t the presentation but the message itself. We further conclude that since the gospel message is the power of God unto salvation, then it must be the hearts and minds of mankind. 

I believe that our text, above, will shed some light upon the subject and make us aware of the condition of man’s hearts. I find five things that clue us into the conditions as to why people began declining to attend:

Luke 14:7-30

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them:I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

This week I will cover the five excuses that people present when they object to attending the house of God and how to overcome them with scripture. 

  1. There Is No Knowledge Of How Quickly Things Are Changing
  2. They Are Too Busy With Business & Work
  3. They Have Personal Matter That Are More Important
  4. They Make An Idol Of Their Families 
  5. They All Have Misplaced Priorities

Join us as we learn “Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday?”

II. They Are Too Busy With Business & Work

People today have very busy lives especially when it comes to their careers and jobs. I remember one time when I took a job and I requested that I NOT work on Sundays. They honored my request for about 6 months, but when they had a dire need they pressed me to work and I did. Then, I found my name appearing on the schedule on Sundays during church time. When I confronted the scheduler I was given a line of excuses but basically it boiled down to my giving in that one time! Needless to say, I put in my resignation letter and left two weeks later due to conflicts of interest. 

All too often, because people are afraid to say NO, they will see themselves pushed or better yet bullied around for fear of losing a job. When the boss asks them to work Sundays or during a preplanned family event they will cave in because the job or career is their source of income to support their families. It all come down to priorities and boundaries. If you allow your employer to cross your boundaries that they aren’t aware of, then it’s your fault. However, if they ask you to do something that they are aware of that either violates your boundaries or you’re uncomfortable doing, you’ve a decision to make. 

Here are a few possible reasons to miss church because of work that people use and their comebacks to counter them:

  1. They boss told me that I had to come in on Sunday and work. In this situation, I can’t say too much but I usually do ask questions like:
    • In what field or industry to you work? 
    • How many other employees will be there with you?
    • What do you have to do during this time? 
    • How do you feel about this?
  2. I have a huge project that I need to complete before the deadline. 
    • Much like many people I ask “When is the deadline?”
    • When were you assigned this project?
    • Who else is assigned to this project?
  3. Workload has increased and I have been busy.
    • In what field or industry to you work? 
    • How many other employees will be there with you?
    • What do you have to do during this time? 
    • How do you feel about this?

Bottom line, people will make work a priority because there is a tangible result that accompanies their labor. Unlike church, there is no visible tangible result that they can see feel and touch in reward for their labors. In this arena, trying to change the person’s mind about working less and attending church will do nothing more than fuel their fire to not attend. Unless they see the significance in making God a priority, their desire will not be there to go to church. I have learned that people will give significant effort to things that are priorities. I have never heard a man on his death bed say “I wish I had mad more money.” It’s not a priority at that time! Life and experiences are the priority. 

In our text we see that this first man placed business way before his obligation. Notice what Jesus tells us in this text:The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it:

Here is what I hear when I read this text.

  1. I have time but I don’t have time for this, meaning God
  2. I have spent money and my money and business decisions are more important 
  3. I have priorities but my priorities aren’t aligned with God

People will place their careers and jobs before God because they haven’t been taught that it isn’t correct to do so or that it isn’t wrong to commit spiritual adultery. The best advice that I can give when dealing with someone that has placed their work before God is to be a good friend to them and encourage them to stay connected to God. Some people have to work during church time but want to be at church while others will miss work at every opportunity and use work as an excuse. Ultimately, they are accountable to God! Our churches are diminishing their attendance due to Christians working on both unwillingly and willingly. They question is, “Which one are you?” In tommorow’s devotional we will talk about personal matters and how they keep people out of church. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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