This Sunday morning my wife and I had a case of “Bedside Baptist,” and decided to sleep in instead of going to church. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay.
I know, I know, you might be saying, “Scripture tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, you shouldn’t miss church!” Or, “Hey, aren’t you a visible leader in the church, shouldn’t you be there every week?”
And in general, I agree with your sentiment. We shouldn’t forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and as a leader in the church I need to be mindful of setting an example for others to follow.
But in skipping Sunday morning service this week, I don’t feel I am failing to do either. Indeed, I think we should all occasionally skip a church service or two.
Attending Every Church Service
I used to not be this way though. Once upon a time, if the church doors were open, I was there just about every single time without fail. The only reason I did not attend every service was if I were sick or out of town on vacation.
As a result of this practice, if I were to add up all the times I missed a church service in any given calendar year, I would not even be able to count all the fingers on one hand that I missed church in any given year. And if I missed a church service, I felt a lot of shame and guilt over such.
It was a source of pride for me to say I seldom ever missed a single church service. Which, at the end of the day, is a really strange way to think.
While I believe regularly “attending church” to be very important as a Christian, it’s not the end-all-be-all of Christianity. Jesus isn’t going to be sad if you don’t show up; your truck isn’t going to break down; your wife isn’t going to leave you; you aren’t going to lose your job; you aren’t going to fall into deep and dark sin. Everything will be just fine in your life.
I know, your pastor may feel it is the most important thing in the world, especially if they are insecure about the number of people who show up on any given week to hear them preach. And as someone who has done my share of preaching and teaching over the years, I get it, your preacher would rather speak to a big crowd than a small one.
The Importance Of The Church In Your Life
But YOU don’t need to fall for any of this broken way of thinking. What’s important about attending church is not whether or not you have an unbroken chain of attendance going back to the time of the apostles. Rather, the importance is whether or not the church is mingled into the regular rhythms of your life, that you value the importance the church, and see it as a place you can grow in your faith and serve others.
For me, the church is a central part of my life. I gather frequently for Sunday morning celebrations, volunteer to minister to the youth on Sunday nights, and regularly meet in small gatherings of the saints throughout the rest of the week at various times and places.
Our perfunctory attendance on Sunday morning is not what matters. What matters is that you see life in the church as part of the fabric of who you are.
And if you’ve had a long week and need to just take time to sleep in and recharge with a lazy Sunday morning and afternoon, then that’s okay.
Sleep and simply taking a break from being around people is an important spiritual discipline too. And while there is much grace to be found in gathering with the saints to worship the Lord, there is also much grace to be found in the comforts of “Bedside Baptist.”