Leave Your Burdens at the Gate

burdensFor greater than twenty years I haven’t wondered where I’m supposed to be on Sunday morning. I haven’t gotten up on any given Sunday and said, “what a great day to go to the mall! That actually wouldn’t happen on a Thursday! With words unspoken you may have perhaps read that as if it were spoken in a self-righteous church lady voice. Please don’t. There’s no holier than thou or preachy connotation. It’s written in humble gratitude that God gave me a place to call home in the house of the Lord at Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, West Virginia. It’s church day! And I’m excited about what the Lord will do there.

I’m still in Jeremiah, although I only made it but through one chapter this morning before getting waylaid on this thought.

Jeremiah 17:24-25

And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

It’s exciting to know that God cares about my church attendance! I was in a meeting one day when someone said, “I can be just as good of a Christian outside of the church as in”. I’d argue, no you can’t. I actually didn’t argue, it was an adult at a youth camp, but I did get my point across. And although this may be an Old Testament scripture, in a land of kings and princes, it’s as relative today as it was when it was written between 630 and 580 B.C.

We need church and not going has consequences.

The above scripture tells of the blessings that God says will come when we attend church, there was also scripture that told of the cursing of turning your back on God. (vs. 27) The blessing of honoring God by putting Him first on the Sabbath is a country going in the right direction. But let’s put it on a personal level, how about a life going in the right direction? For the record, those who argued with me that they could be out of church and still be a good Christian are now out of church. And though I believe they are saved, they’re lives are a mess. It’s not to say that problems won’t come when you’re in church, but what you are is equipped to handle them.

Sunday School isn’t just for children. It’s a place to delve deeper into the word of God. It’s like having a free conference every Sunday! And those who take advantage of it are fewer and fewer. Sunday School is usually followed by the worship hour. It’s a time of preaching and singing and there are those who attend it and miss the whole point by “enduring” it rather than embracing it!

Jeremiah’s words struck me when he said to “bring no burdens through the gate… but hallow the Sabbath.” That’s how to enjoy church. There’s a reason it’s called a sanctuary. It’s a place to escape the world. I hope this morning finds you in the house of God with your burdens on the outside. Just be open to listening to the Word of God this morning and let God deal with the burdens. It’s not easy, even for those of us at it for a long time… but it’s needful for a great life and for a great country – that America gets itself back to church.

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