“And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.” -Mark 4:24
It is often said, that you get out of something, only what you put in to it. It’s true of our work, it’s true of our study, relationships, and more. William Barclay had some keen observations as to how this principle may apply to the Saints’ weekly gathering:
It is true of worship.
The more we bring to the worship of God’s house the more we will get from it. When we come to worship in the house of God, there are three wrong ways in which we may come.
1. We may come entirely to get. If we come in such a way the likelihood is that we will criticize the organist and the choir and find fault with the minister’s preaching. We will regard the whole service as a performance laid on for our special entertainment.
We must come prepared to give; we must remember that worship is a corporate act, and that each of us can contribute something to it. If we ask, not, “What can I get out of this service?” but, “What can I contribute to this service?” we will in the end get far more out of it than if we simply came to take.
2. We may come without expectation. Our coming may be the result of habit and routine. It may be simply part of the time-table into which we have divided the week. But, after all, we should be coming to meet God, and when we meet him anything may happen.
3. We may come without preparation. It is so easy to leave for the worship of God’s house with no preparation of mind or heart at all because often it is a rush to get there at all. But it would make all the difference in the world, if, before we came, we were for a moment or two still and quiet and companied with God in prayer. As the Jewish Rabbis told their disciples: “They pray best together who first pray alone.” *
I would add, with sadness of heart, there is perhaps a “fourth wrong way” that seems particularly pandemic in our day, and that is to simply not come at all. For any variety of reasons, believers find the convenience of not gathering weekly for corporate worship, to be an acceptable practice. I would ask, dear Saint, if this is your position, what do expect the Lord to “measure to you” as you neglect His command? (Tweet This)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. -Hebrews 10:23-25
*Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) Mark ©The Westminster Press, 1954