Unlike in years past, millions of Americans are "voting early." Instead of waiting for election day, people can simply drop by their local library and cast their vote at their convenience for a couple of weeks prior to the general election. Pretty convenient AND a good way to avoid long lines in November.
There is, however, another election that Christians participate in several times every week. The process is simple, easy and quick. We all "vote" yea or nay on whether we assemble with the saints...or not. If you are reading this on Lord's Day morning, did you vote to attend Bible study earlier...or not? How will you cast your vote regarding attending this evening's worship? That election is going on as we speak, the jury is still out. Yea or nay? What about Wednesday Bible Study? What about our next fellowship opportunity? How did you vote in regards to your congregations last gospel meeting? How do you vote regarding various other Bible studies offered by others?
Do we use the same criteria to decide if we come home every night...or not, attend holiday functions with our extended families...or not and mark family birthdays and anniversaries...or not? Do you vote to not attend vacation time with your spouse or children? How about your job? Do you vote to come and go as you please?
Voting is all about our priorities. The priority of every Christian is to go to heaven and influence others to go with us. As a parent or a spouse, unlike political elections, when we vote to not attend the assembly of the saints, we not only vote for ourselves...we vote for our children as well. If the parents are absent, so are the children! What life lesson is then learned? How will this shape THIER priorities in years to come?
Noting the fact that there are times in our lives that we cannot be at the assembly, there are also many times when we are not hindered. People become ill, they have to go out of town and have to work. But there is most of the time when people are well, they are in town and they don't have to work. Do we still stay away? Do we vote to be absent for sports, naps, TV, golf, etc. or just plain indifference? Some, of course, can't drive when it's dark. If that's the case just ask the deacons at your congregation to find a volunteer to pick you up...there are many who would love to do so! Only God and you know why you vote the way you do. No one is your judge but Christ.
When we are absent from the assembly, not only do we miss out on all God's spiritual blessings, we deny others the encouragement they would otherwise receive by your presence. Let's consider the Scripture the next time "early voting" comes up!
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet 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 (ESV)
When we vote TO attend the assembly of the saints:
We hold fast the confession of our hope
We do not waver
We assert the faithfulness of God
We stir up others to love
We stir up others to good words
We do not neglect meeting together
We do not participate in others bad habits of neglect
We encourage one another
Remember that God is seeking us to worship Him in spirit and in truth! [John 4:24] When we neglect the assembly we deny God what He is seeking. Your hand is on the lever, which way will you pull it?
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