I am a bit sore this morning. Last night Jodie and I went to our weight lifting class at the YMCA. With pulsing dance re-mixes of current pop tunes blaring from the speakers and the instructor barking commands, I duly squatted, pressed, curled, and crunched. Now, yall know I am not an athlete, and I do not exercise because of my vanity. A shredded physique is not necessary to my sense of worth. I workout on occasion because a gym membership is cheaper than a heart attack.
Therefore, given my low aptitude for exercise and my less than competitive attitude, I am not always sure how much I get out of my YMCA dues. This is especially true if I simply go to the gym but do not take a class. For some reason, whether I am on an elliptical machine (a medieval torture device that simulates running) or lifting weights in the gym on my own its just too easy to say, “I’m tired. I’m going home.”
On the other hand, taking the class is better. I do not know if it is the instructor’s motivational ability, the guy behind me who is twice my age and lifting three time the weight I am, or that I do not want to look like a wimp in front of my wife, but I work harder in the classes. I am pushed and challenged more than I can be motivated left to my own devices. Consequently, I get more out of the experience.
If we think about it, this is a lot like church. Admittedly, we can and should pray on our own, daily in fact. Private devotions are an important part of a healthy spirituality. But being part of a community, that is coming to worship God with other people is necessary too. It is in communal worship, when we have to confess, praise, and thank God, that we get stretched to the max. It is when we are with other people that we are challenged to give up ourselves, to repent of the selfishness and envy that can only lead to chaos and strife. Furthermore it is in the giving that we receive the life more abundant that Jesus came to give us.
We all know we should go to church, but some Sunday mornings the snooze button is just too tempting, or the kid’s soccer games just too early, or the recliner and football call our names too loudly. However, I implore you to come join us every time you possibly can. Come join us! Come immerse yourself in God’s love emanating from this place and these people. Come learn. Come grow. Come serve. Come and receive life.