There’s an old story that made the rounds several years ago in church bulletins. It may be apocryphal but it makes a good point.
A church member once wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper complaining that it made no sense to attend church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years,” he wrote, “and in that time I’ve heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me. I can’t remember a single one of them.”
He then concluded, “So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”
This sparked controversy in “Letters to the Editor,” much to the delight of the publisher. It continued for several weeks until the debate ended with this letter.
“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this…they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today.”
“Likewise,” he concluded, “If I had not gone to church for spiritual nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today.”
The Bible uses metaphors for spiritual nourishment that speak of our relationship with the Lord and the Word of God as providing sustenance for the soul.
Jesus is the bread of life, and the water of life (Jn. 6:35; 4:14).
“Taste and see that the Lord is God” (Ps. 343:8).
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Ps. 42:1-2).
The Word is said to be “sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10).
While it is possible, as well as needful, to feed on His Word at home, there is a unique sense in which we are nourished by coming together as Family.
Bible class teachers and preachers can, and often do provide a greater spiritual feast than most Christians will receive at home. Furthermore, the collective encouragement we receive, the fellowship we share, the worship we offer the Lord, and the weekly communion in which we engage all provide spiritual nutrition.
Don’t miss a meal. Come to church. Take your place at the table. And satiate your soul with Divine sustenance.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman