Our Butt in the Pew

red cases lot

As parents, there are times we must discipline our children. The Scriptures speak to this often, especially in the Proverbs (Prov. 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15, and 29:17). Undisciplined children don’t bring much joy to anyone and will find it difficult to navigate life even when older.

A faithful parent disciplines directly. That is, he uses the rod, time-out, withholding privileges, and other prescribed parenting strategies to confront disobedience. He also disciplines his children indirectly. Moms and dads do so by instructing their children. It is a form of shaping behavior. This happens informally at dinner, in the car on the way to school, tucking them into bed, and a host of other places, as well. Indirect discipline can be verbal (conversation) and it can come in the form of modeling—our children learning how to behave and be disciplined by observing us.

Likewise, the faithful church must also discipline. Sometimes it is direct. The shepherds of the church (pastor and elders) are charged to shepherd the sheep under their care. Sometimes this involves the use of a figurative crook. This is always done with the goal of repentance and restoration. This kind of discipline doesn’t happen very often around here, but there have been times where it was needed and no doubt will be needed again in the future.

Indirect discipline, however, happens all the time. In fact, it occurs every Sunday morning for all of us. When we sit before God’s Word each Lord’s Day as it is expounded from the pulpit, we receive biblical instruction in hopes that it will shape our thinking and behavior.

This leads me to my chief point. When we miss more Sunday mornings than we should, we miss our lessons. When we miss our lessons there is going to be holes in our training. We run the risk of becoming an undisciplined child of God.

There’s enough sickness, vacations, and work responsibilities that will keep us home or take us elsewhere throughout the year. But some vacate their pew too easily. Excuses abound and absences mount. Some get to the point where they don’t need a reason to miss church anymore, they need one to attend. Truancy sets in and if not careful, delinquency follows.

Acts 20:27 should be a goal of every pastor; to be able to look back over years of pulpit ministry and be able to say as the Apostle Paul: “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). But only the “partial council” of God will be available for those who miss too many of their Sunday morning lessons. There are too many remedial Christians. We certainly don’t want to be one.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

July 31, 2014

1 comment

  1. Is this a bad time to say that this next Sunday is the one week per year I am going to miss because of camping?
    But yeah. Totally agree… see you for the next 51 Sundays, Lord willing!

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