|Volume 23 Number 11 November 2021
Absenteeism is a problem within any congregation of the Lord’s people. I do not know all the reasons for this, nor do I sit for hours trying to figure it all out. However, it is good from time to time to be reminded of our spiritual needs, which are met by being present for the services of the church.
Because of Saul’s hatred for David, David had to be absent from the feast of the New Moon. “Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Tomorrow is the New Moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty’” (1 Samuel 20:18 NKJV). Jonathan loved David, and when David was absent, Jonathan missed him. Because we love our brethren today, they are missed when they are absent. Christians have a responsibility to the local congregation. Whenever we are absent, it not only affects us, but we also affect our brethren who are present.
Absenteeism shows disrespect for elders who have planned and set aside this special time each week for our spiritual nourishment. “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Absenteeism affects the preacher who has planned a sermon to meet the needs of a congregation, which does not show up for it. How could it be thought to be mandatory for the preacher to be present at all services and no thought be given to individual responsibility to do so? Absenteeism affects the brethren who are present because it puts a damper on the whole idea of “…the whole church comes together in one place…” (1 Corinthians 14:23). Absenteeism affects the song leader, because many voices are not present to join heartily in singing praises to the name of our Lord. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Absenteeism affects the one who is absent because it expresses an attitude of indifference and apathy toward the work and worship of the Church. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
I do not believe that it is a sin every time one misses a service. There are times when one has a reason for not being present. God will accept our reasons, but He will never accept our excuses. He did not accept excuses made by Moses, nor did the master of the house accept the excuses of those who bought ground or oxen, or even those who had married a wife (Luke 14:15-24).
Christians should neither be guilty of making excuses, nor should we be looking for reasons to be absent. Christians should want to be present with their brothers and sisters, to worship and praise our Father Who has made all our blessings possible. Those who would absent themselves from any opportunity to serve and honor God will find themselves absent from those who are allowed to enter Heaven’s glorious portals. (Adapted from an article by Terry Joe Kee – June 23, 1966)
Someone Needs to Know about Jesus
Someone needs to know about Jesus, someone so lost in sin,
To experience the joy of salvation and new life in Christ to begin.
Will you tell the story of Jesus? Will you spread the most wonderful Word?
For many are groping in darkness, and so many have never heard.
Through Him sin’s bonds are broken, and blind eyes are made to see.
So let the message be spoken, that sin’s captives are forever free.
His light will drive away darkness and turn your dark night to day.
He will fill up our hearts with gladness, driving shadows of doubt away.
Come to the loving Savior, whom everyone needs to know,
Give your heart to the Master, and salvation He will bestow.