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Divine Spiritual Nourishment to Heal Your SoulJune 13, 2022
After losing his job, Rick Kalinowski decided to dedicate his time to building adorable mini-picnic benches for the squirrels around his home. What else would you do with your free time? The bench is big enough for a squirrel to sit on comfortably. The table section can hold a bucket of nuts or other squirrel food. The whole thing attaches to a fence at about three feet. Squirrels seem to love their free food and squirrel sized picnic table.
The tiny picnic tables made people chuckle after images were shared online, but Kalinowski’s story had a very surprising twist. He’s managed to turn it into a successful business. He created an Etsy store, SquirrellyTreasureCo, which received 400 orders in the first 24 hours.
I love these stories of how people turned their covid quarantine time into something special in their lives. Many did, but today I want to talk about one trend that has turned out not to be so special. Depending on the poll you look at somewhere between 20%-30% of Christians stopped going to church during the covid quarantine, and have not returned.
I have had many conversations with people who have chosen this path. The first few months they didn’t seem to miss much. They reasoned that they would get back when they thought it was safe. The months passed into years and they decided they may not even need church. Then they stopped thinking about church all together. They also experienced something else which they think is independent of the church decision. They are struggling with lots of emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental issues, and they don’t understand why. They never struggled with those issues before.
It reminds me of a letter writer to “Dear Abby” many years ago. He wrote something like, “I have been going to church for twenty years now and can’t remember a single sermon.”
Abby responded with something like, “I asked my husband of 20 years how many dinners he remembered through the years. He admitted that he didn’t really remember any but the most recent. But he was sure he would have starved to death a long time ago if he hadn’t eaten them.
I think worship attendance is like that. We may not think any particular service is overly important, but over time we will spiritually starve to death. Every poll taken of Christians who are active in their church and faith indicates that they are happier, with better marriages, well-adjusted kids, who enjoy their jobs more, and enjoy better physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health. These are all the things the quarantine seems to have undermined most in people’s lives.
Jesus believed completely in the power of worshipping God with a community of faith. The Gospels make it clear every Sabbath He went to the synagogue. This was rarely an easy event as the local spiritual leaders often fought with Him. But He went and took His disciples because He believed it was critical to our faith. He said in John 4:23–24, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
I mentioned those conversations with Christians who stopped worshipping. I have found the opposite to be true of those who kept worshipping. The negative effects of the quarantine are almost non-existent in their lives. These Christians are living boldly, going on mission trips, never missing worship, and full of JOY and laughter as they gather with their spiritual family.
What about you? How is your spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental health now that most of us are finished with the quarantine? Have you let God back in your life? Have you let your church family back in your life? Have you considered that you need your church family in your life to fully live with God in your life?
Life can easily get so busy, or chaotic, or quarantined that we can find ourselves just giving God lip service or put Jesus on a shelf. Don’t pretend to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Make a commitment to live out the disciplines of a disciple again: Worship, prayer, Bible study, service, evangelism, benevolent giving, and fellowship with your spiritual family, to name seven important disciplines. Be honest with yourself. Do you need your spiritual family in your life again?