“I DON’T GET MUCH OUT OF THE SERVICE”
by Wayne S. Walker
“Let us go into His tabernacle; let us worship at His footstool” (Psalm 132.7). David loved to be in God’s house. Sometimes people who are supposed to be Christians try to give themselves excuses for not being more faithful in their attendance at church services by saying, “I just don’t get very much out of the services. The sermons are all on subjects that I’ve heard before. The Bible class teachers discuss books and topics that I’ve already studied. Even the song leaders choose the same old songs over and over again.” Of course, if the preacher talked about the exact same passage of scripture every Sunday, the Bible classes stayed in the same Bible book all the time, and we sang nothing but “Holy, Holy, Holy” at each service, it would get a little boring, but is that really the problem?
Many years ago, before the days of indoor plumbing, there were two neighbors in a small village who went to the town well every day to draw water for their homes. One always came with a big bucket while the other brought only a small pail. One day, the fellow with the small pail acted rather disgusted and said, “I think that I’m going to quit coming to the well every day. I just don’t seem to be getting very much out of it!” Think! Who do you suppose got more out of the well? The one who used the big bucket, or the one who had the small pail?
Why is it that two people can attend the same service and one find it satisfying while the other “didn’t get much out of it”? Could it be perhaps that they came with different sized buckets? The first loves to praise God, loves to study the Bible, and loves to hear God’s word proclaimed. The second apparently just does not delight on those things, and so he “doesn’t get much out of it.” To be honest, I have sat through a few services when the class was taught by someone who was an unprepared, last-minute substitute, the song leader did the best that he could but did not know music very well, and/or the lesson was presented by a young man who was struggling through one of his first attempts to preach. However, I still got something out of it!
Besides, we do not, or should not, attend church services simply because of what we can “get out of it.” There is also the matter of what we can give to others. Our very presence is a means of “exhorting one another” (Hebrews 10:25). By joining in the singing, we are “teaching and admonishing one another” (Colossians 3:16). Also, of course, each Christian has a responsibility before God to “worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Yes, we may worship as individuals in private and as families in our homes, but there are times when God commands the church to come together for edification (1 Corinthians 14:23-26). In addition, if you find that you can do such a better job of teaching the class, or leading the singing, or presenting the lesson than someone else, then by all means volunteer! Those who actually give something usually find that they often get as much as if not more than they themselves give.
And there is one other consideration regarding the claim that “I just don’t get much out of the services.” I have heard the late Cecil Willis tell this story and I think that I have seen it in an article that he wrote. He was holding a gospel meeting, and at every service there was an elderly gentleman present who was blind and almost deaf. I believe that it was on the last evening Cecil, almost yelling into the man’s ear, said he knew that being blind the man could not see the chalk board and being almost deaf he could hear very little so he could not get much out of the services. Thus Cecil asked him why he bothered to come. The man replied, “So everyone will know whose side I’m on.” That is one good reason for a Christian to be at every service possible. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30). One thing we always sought to do in our homeschooling was to encourage our children to delight in going to worship.