President James Madison experienced many health problems in the later part of his life. A friend of his sent him a box of vegetable pills he had made and asked James to inform him if they helped at all. After some time, the man received a letter from President Madison which said, “My dear friend, I thank you very much for the box of pills. I have taken them all; and while I cannot say I am better since taking them, it is quite possible that I might have been worse if I had not taken them."
Today, many walk away from religious activities because they felt like they “didn’t get anything out of it.” I don’t remember many of the meals I have eaten in my life, but one look at my waistline will tell you that I haven’t missed many. Even though I don’t remember what I ate, my body has still grown and gained strength because of them. If I’m honest, I don’t remember the vast majority of lessons I have heard in my life, but this doesn’t mean I haven’t benefited from them. I know I have grown spiritually because of the godly influences that have been in my life. In fact, like Madison, there is no telling how much worse I would be without them. It scares me to think about where I would spend my time if not at church and other spiritual activities. I would most likely be filling my mind with worldly influences from TV, video games, non-Christian friends, etc. Surely many sins would not be far behind such influences (1 Corinthians 15:33).
It doesn’t always feel like we get something out of worship, but we do. Just the simple fact of being present at worship brings us away from the world and around positive Christian examples. Not to mention, the class or lesson might have something, even if it is little, to help us walk closer to the Lord.
Next time you feel like you aren’t getting anything out of worship, it’s time to take a good long hard look at yourself and ask some tough questions: (1) Can you honestly say you have NEVER benefited from worship in the past, and WILL NEVER benefit from it in the future? (2) Are you being selfish? (3) Why do you want to skip out on spiritual activities and being around other Christians so badly? (4) What will you spend your time doing if not with Christians in the assembly?
The old saying is so true, “You get what you put into it.” When we put selfishness, arrogance, and worldly thoughts into worship, it’s no surprise that we walk away feeling “empty.” After all, there was no room for anything else other than our own selfishness (Philippians 2:3-4)! However, when we put humility, an open heart, and a focused mind into worship, there is no limit to the benefits we will reap (James 4:10; Luke 14:11).
Whether we believe it or not, there is nothing better we could do with our time than being around other Christians and worshipping God (Luke 10:27). If we feel otherwise then it is time to check our priorities.