I picked up the Reader's Digest today from the mail and started to skim it.
Now that my weekend company has left, my husband has left to be on the road for a couple weeks, and my college guys are almost back at school, I thought I'd sit down and chill for a minute.
My eyes were drawn to a story about how to be happy. I didn't really read the story but one of the subtitles caught my attention. It said Go To Church (Or Somewhere). I was sort of heartened to see that title but then I read it.
"Churchgoers are happier than non-churchgoers, but not for the reasons people expect. Our best indication is that it's not the religion part that makes people happy. It's the going-to-church-part. It's the community part. It's the holding hands and singing. It's the knowing-folks-who-would-bring-you-soup-if-you-get-sick part. Odds seem to me pretty good that you could also get all the benefits out of a really tight stamp collecting club."
Wow. I have to disagree on one point for sure. I don't think a stamp collecting club could give me what my church does. And let me tell you, my church does not give me religion. It gives me community. But not the kind that just brings you soup when you're sick!
My church gives me friends that I could call in the wee hours of the night to ask for help with ANYTHING. My church gives me an experience of worship with other believers that is unrivaled by anything I could do alone. My church family sat me in a chair and prayed over me to be healed when doctors told me that I probably wouldn't survive a deadly cancer. They cried with me and listened to my fears and my hopes for my children in my absence. A club can pat you on the back and give you their best wishes but they don't have access to Almighty God.
My church gives me opportunity to minister to others using my gifts and talents which are given to me through the Holy Spirit of God. Things that on my own I would totally screw up.
My church allows me to reach out to people all over the world through my giving. I can't even write down all the things that my church blesses me with that a club never could.
And most of all, my church points me to JESUS who is the author and perfecter of LIFE. No club can give me that.
What about you? Can a club give you what your church does?
I think we really need to think about this