Most everyone in our society loves to eat out, and to many in our fast paced society, eating out has become a necessity. There are all types of restaurants and eating establishments in almost every community; the fast food restaurants where you can grab a meal and go in a matter of minutes, as well as family restaurants where you can sit and enjoy a leisurely meal together. I am thankful we have these eating establishments. It is so convenient when traveling to have a place to stop and eat at meal time and an occasional meal in a restaurant gives mom a break from the kitchen.
I wonder though, as I ponder the conduct of some Christians, if we have not developed a view that the church is a kind of “spiritual restaurant”. Some brethren attend the assemblies only occasionally as if the church were a restaurant where one has no responsibilities or obligations but can come and enjoy a spiritual feast when the mood strikes and it is convenient. Some attend only on holidays and special occasions as if the assemblies of the church are designed to be enjoyed only on rare and special occasions. Some run in, grab a Bible class and maybe a Lord’s Supper and then they are gone as quickly as those who run in to the fast food restaurant and grab a coke and a burger. Some Christians seem to want to sit alone and keep to themselves in the assemblies as in a booth in a restaurant, oblivious to the others who are present.
The church of our Lord was not designed as a restaurant! It was designed as a family. Just as every good family enjoys mealtimes together, the assemblies of the Lord’s church were designed to be the spiritual family’s “meal time”. It is where God’s people enjoy the fellowship of being together. It is where we can enjoy feasting together on the Word of God. It is where we join our voices together in praise and adoration for God our Father and a time to remember the death of our Savior.
Being part of a family brings great blessings but it also carries great responsibilities. No loving family member would miss a meal time with the family without a good reason and a prompt explanation. No loving family members would leave without explanation before the meal was over simply because there was somewhere else they wanted to be. No loving family, when meeting together for a meal, would hesitate to check on an absent family member who was expected to be present. Brethren, we are God’s family! Let’s act like family! Let’s love like family!