Hebrews 10:25 (New International Version)
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Once there was a man who loved his church and loved Sunday School. He hardly ever missed, and was loath to be absent, even on account of sickness.
Then one Sunday, he thought "I have always been faithful to the church and to Sunday School, and it is the last day of hunting season, so I think I will miss this one Sunday and make one last hunting trip". So, he did. The next Sunday was the NFL playoffs, and he hadn't missed two Sundays in a row in ages, so, he thought" they won't miss me. No one even called last week to see where I was. I'll just skip today and go next Sunday". And so, he did. Then there was the Pro-bowl. Then there were the NBA playoffs. And then it was spring and good fishing weather. Then The World Series. Then hunting season again. Then :::::::::::::::::::::::!. Then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. And then:::::::::::::::::::::: !.
One Saturday night, much later, as he prepared himself for bed, the man felt a little tug at his heart and thought to himself, “I think I will go to Sunday School tomorrow and see some of my old friends." So, before retiring, he phoned his old Sunday School teacher and asked if the class still started at 10; 00 A.M. When the old teacher heard the question, he laughed wistfully and replied “No, the men's class doesn't meet anymore. Everyone just lost interest”. “Ah, well!" Sighed the man, “I’ll just skip Sunday School and go to church, but, not tomorrow, I have too much to do.
Sometime later on a Saturday night, after having spent the entire day with an unexplained nagging at his mind, the man thought. “I will go to church tomorrow and see how they are doing." So, bright and early Sunday morning the man arose, dressed, and made his way to the little white country church where he had spent so many blissful hours in the company of his Christian friends. As he approached, he could see that the churchyard was crowded with cars and his heart raced with anticipation of reunion with his many friends. But! As he turned into the drive, he was shocked to see that, on the front of the building where had once hung a familiar cross, now hung a flashing neon sign guaranteeing the best pizza in town. When he inquired about the church, someone replied "oh, this hasn't been used as a church for a long time." Puzzled and somewhat dismayed, he drove home, vowing that next week he would drive into town and visit one of the larger churches to which surely, some of his friends had transferred their membership.
As time passed, the man just could not shake off the vision of the little white church turned pizza parlor. So, one Sunday morning, he dressed and drove into town to attend services at one of the larger churches, where he was sure he could locate a Christian friend, or two from his old congregation. But, as he approached what had been one of the largest churches in town, he could see that the parking lot was deserted. As he pulled into the parking lot, he could see that the signboard that had once announced the names of the church staff Sunday School hours, and the title of next Sunday's sermon, now announced the names and suite numbers of lawyers, accountants, consultants, and even a fitness center.
Panic stricken, the man raced down the street to where he knew the next large church stood. A chill ran over him as he turned down the street, because he could see another deserted expanse of blacktop with familiar yellow stripes. As he approached, he knew, without looking, that, though the names were different, the signboard out front advertised anything but church services. He raced up one street and down another, looking for a church in session, and finally, realizing that his quest was in vain, he raced out onto the highway, intent on escaping this churchless town and finding a place where they still held services and he could go to worship.
As the miles stretched into hundreds and the hours into days and he lost count of the cities through which he passed and the pizza parlors, hamburger joints, office buildings, and garages, decorated with the familiar steeples he saw, the feeling of panic slowly gave way to the sickening realization of what had taken place during the many months that he had been consumed by his own selfish and trivial pursuits.
Dear Lord we pray that we would never become too busy to worship together with our brothers and sisters in church. In Jesus’ name, Amen.