I have always wanted my children to acknowledge and respect the presence of others. I don’t want them to grow up thinking they are the center of the universe, because they are not, but God is, and other people are just as precious as they are in the eyes of God. It is because of this conviction I uphold, that I have emphasized to them the importance of greeting others, being on time, respecting other’s property, and sharing opportunities with others, such as passing the ball to their teammates so they can also score goals in soccer games.
I have tried to do the same as a pastor here at New Life. As you know, I don’t give any preferential treatment based on gender, ethnicity, educational background, or socio-economic status. Yes, it is true that I love those who honor God and I ache over those who should honor God because they have seen and heard enough, but for whatever the reason, just don’t do it. Nevertheless, I do respect and acknowledge everyone’s presence, not because of what they have accomplished, but simply because they are created in the image of God. Nothing hurts us more than being ignored by others, as if we didn’t even exist. This may be one of the reasons Facebook is very popular among us these days. No one is a nobody in Facebook; rather everyone is significant enough to occupy space to express themselves. All of us have the innate desire to be honored by having our presence respected and acknowledged by those around us.
If we, the created beings, need to be honored by other fellow human beings, how much more should God, the Creator, be honored by His creatures? Sadly, I see some of us taking God flippantly in various ways. A good number of us still do not come to Sunday worship on time, but are habitually late. We would not do this to someone who is significant to us, but we do this to God very casually. This is not honoring to God.
Some of us are not focused and paying full attention to what is taking place during worship. We would not do this when we are with someone who is significant to us. This is not honoring to God.
Some of us stand in the back during worship, talking to those around us. We would not do this when we are in a meeting, in the presence of someone who matters to us. This is not honoring to God.
Some of us leave even before the worship is over, to do whatever we want to do. We would not do this if our CEO was present in our meeting. This is not honoring to God.
Some of us don’t even come into the worship center to worship God as one body of Christ, because we say that we need to take care of our infant child. If we didn’t have a children’s ministry, then this would be understandable. However, we have a great children’s ministry that is run by staff and parent volunteers. Yes, sometimes kids get sick because they pass germs to each other. But for us to not drop off our children for the fear that they will get sick, and as a result, not participate in corporate worship, is nothing less than valuing the gift more than the Giver. And this definitely is not honoring to God.
As we are nearing the end of the year when things get busier and more hectic, I want all of us to refocus our hearts and finish the year strong by honoring God through our Sunday corporate worship. In order to help you do this, I want us to do the following:
First, let’s be on time. This means that we come to church at least ten minutes before, to prepare our hearts to receive what God has in store for us.
Second, let’s fill up the front seats toward the middle. There is a world of difference between sitting in the front and sitting in the back, sitting in the middle and sitting on the side. If you don’t believe this, try it for the next three months. If I am proven wrong, I will take you out for Pho! 🙂
Third, let’s drop off our children at JCS when we are not scheduled to serve, so we can fully participate during worship. (By the way, New Life has a policy which requires every registered member who has a child at JCS, to serve one month out of every four months.) Let’s remember that parents who are growing in their love for and knowledge of God, will be better parents to their children. Therefore, love God even for the sake of your precious children!
Fourth, let’s remain in worship until everything is completely over. Let’s not leave until we finish with our last closing song. I was told by Director Chae that there is an unwritten policy that parents pick up their children right after the message when worship goes a little long. This will not be our policy any longer. Not only is this distracting for the speaker and the praise team, it is not honoring to God or beneficial to those who leave, because we just don’t know how God is going to work in our midst until the end.
I want to thank you in advance for your full cooperation on this. As usual, those of you who abide by this will benefit the most.
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