Tomorrow, Christians around the world will gather together to worship God collectively in their local Churches. As I begin to think about this, I recall something I read in what I would consider a “Christian” Dear Abby. The woman was answering the question of tithing and where a certain lady should tithe her money. After a few paragraphs on the Old Testament origin of tithing and the fact that Christians aren’t commanded (yet are encouraged) to tithe (which she handled rather well), she went on to say something to this effect:
If you have been fed by televangelists, feel free to keep giving them your tithe. I don’t know if anyone can really answer where you should give your money to.
She didn’t encourage her reader to take part in the local Church or even try to find one. She acknowledged the fact th the woman should give to where she had been fed (good) but she neglected the advice of the woman’s friend which was to give money to her local Church (bad).
Brothers and sisters, this cannot be
Whatever your opinion of para-church organizations, T.V. ministries, and other national ministries might be, they deserve our prayers, and at times, our finances as they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, this should never be done at the cost of neglecting our local Church body. The command in Hebrews 10 to never neglect meeting together applies not only to the physical meeting, but also to our spiritual responsibilities to our fellow disciples that worship with us. So as you worship tomorrow, take these things in mind:
- Where do I worship and who do I worship with?
- Am I devoted to them in love and unity? What is hindering my love for them? Is it my sin?
- Do I give to my Church? Do I give well? Why or why not?
- Am I devoting more of my time to listening to others sermons from other Churches than I am to spending time in community with my Church family?
I’ll leave you with this request from Desiring God regarding John Piper:
While we encourage you to join us for the sermon, we encourage you even more to give primary attention to the preaching of your local church. In other words, we do not intend for John Piper’s sermon to replace the preaching of the Word from your pastor in your local church.