It Never Rains
About 34 years ago, while unmarried and living in Beckley, WV, I would occasionally receive a call from my good friend Alan Rich, also single at the time, to ask about playing a round of golf. Though I knew Alan was going to outshoot me, I always enjoyed playing with him and some of the other members of the church, but there were times I would question Alan about the advisability of driving all the way out to Grandview because of the threat of bad weather. After asking the question a few times, I came to know what the answer was going to be—“It never rains on the golf course.” If he had enough time off from work to play, we were going to play and a little rain wasn’t going to stop us.
But then there was the day we were at the Grandview golf course and while the rain had begun to fall, we continued to play. Eventually, I found myself trying to stand upright in a fierce wind, being pelted by hail as I prepared to swing my club, a.ka. lightning rod, and there came a lightning bolt and clap of thunder that seemed to be simultaneous. Alan looked at the rest of us and said, “It’s raining,” and we all headed for cover.
As members of a local body we have obligations to God and one another. We might start with the exhortation to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” (Heb. 10:24, 25). There is also the obligation to speak to one another and teach and admonish in song (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). When a church commits itself to authorized financial endeavors (2 Cor. 8, 9), each member should feel an obligation to contribute to the meeting of that need (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). Perhaps it could be summed up this way: “every joint” is to supply what it can and “every part” is to do its share in contributing to the building up of the body (Eph. 4:16).
Now what does this have to do with the story about rain on the golf course? There are going to be times when the most devoted saints, disciples who delight in worshiping God and being with their brothers and sisters, will not be able to assemble. There may come a time when health concerns render one permanently unable to gather with the saints, but I want us to honestly ask ourselves if we are approaching our worship assemblies as we should. Shouldn’t those who seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33) be of the mind that “it never rains on Sunday or Wednesday”? Shouldn’t it take, figuratively speaking, hail and lightning to keep us home instead of a few clouds or even a light drizzle?
Please understand that I do not question the legitimacy of all absences, for I know that sickness and failing health can prevent our doing what we most want to do, but I have observed through the years that it when it comes to missing the assemblies of the saints, it takes a lot less “rain” for some than it does for others.
“For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” 2 Cor. 8:3-5
All quotes taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1994, Thomas Nelson Publishers.