I love my wife. That probably isn't very surprising to you and it shouldn't be. If I was not married to Greta, there are many relationships that I would simply not have with people I greatly enjoy as friends.Nor would I have the pleasant memories of spending time with them if God had not given me the wife that He graciously did. I am a comfortable, laid back man of simple pleasures. Before I was married, my idea of a great weekend was relaxing at home by myself or with my close family to watch a good game, or maybe just to curl up on a chair to read a good book. Hosting people in my home or setting up activities with a few other people was not something I had hardly any interest in. Since being married though I have found great joy in getting together with other people and even hosting families or new friends within my home. There are a host of enjoyable times I have spent with others and many friends that I now have which I am certain I wouldn't have now if not for my wife. I joined in because I knew she'd be there with me. I spent time with people I didn't know because I knew I'd also get to spend time with her. Her presence has comforted me in social contexts and with people whom I would have avoided without her.
As Greta and I often do on Sunday afternoons or evenings, we were sharing our observations of that day's gathering with our church family. Recently during one of these discussions we were both giving thanks to God for one particular person's growing commitment to the church fellowship. My wife made the observation to me about this person that if it were not for another particular family's interest in her, that she probably wouldn't be coming as often, if at all. When she said that, it hit me, "yes," I thought,"they are the reason why she comes." This person just knowing that this family will be at church is probably the main reason why she has been so committed to coming each week. She knows that they will be there and that they love her and have shown such an interest in her.
Have you ever thought about that? You or your family may be the reason why someone else comes to church. Your relationship with another person or another family in your church may be such an encouragement to them that it is primarily because of you that they make sure to come each week. Now, I know that maybe that shouldn't be the primary reason why anyone comes to church. Yes, we should want to come to church in order to worship the Lord and be instructed in His Word and seek to serve and love our church family. But we all know that if we are consistently encouraged by another person's or family's presence at the worship service that it motivates us even more to want to go. My wife and I could both see that this is the case with one certain person who we have been encouraged to see grow in her faith and commitment to the church.
My wife has played that role for me. If not for her, I just wouldn't seek to reach out and get to know others. I wouldn't go to social events if she didn't go with me. I would probably never invite others over to my home for dinner if I didn't have her to be there to help carry the conversation forward. I lean upon her in many social situations, and there may be people who lean upon you within your church family. If you were not a part of the church, they may not be either. If you decided to go somewhere else, they would probably no longer have such a strong desire to come and may give it up all together. That may not be the way it should be, but at least for now in that person's life, it is the way it is. They will grow in their faith as they continue to come, especially with your help and encouragement.
The church is such an incredible, gracious gift to us from the Lord. If not for the church we wouldn't know the Lord, we wouldn't experience what it is to be loved by the Lord in tangible ways, and we wouldn't consistently be strengthened and exhorted to continue in our pilgrimage of faith. We need each other and others need you. Let us never overlook the Apostle's exhortation to us in Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."