Emma, my four-year old, was helping her mother pack clothes for vacation. It was a teaching moment for Shawna. She was instructing Emma how to consider your vacation destination and activities, then pack accordingly. In a moment of revelation Emma declared, “Well I need church clothes, we are going to church there aren’t we?” To say the least I was proud of my little girl for factoring worship into our vacation plans. She used some pretty good deductive reasoning: we go to church on Sunday, it will be Sunday at some point while we are on vacation, thus we are going to church on vacation.
I hope at some point Emma moves past going to church because it is Sunday and begins going to church for a host of other reasons.
I hope at some point in the future Emma goes to church because she delights in worship. I hope she will experience Isaiah moments when she “sees” the Lord in His glory, begins to long for that experience, and goes to church because she worships Him in His glory there.
I hope at some point in the future Emma goes to church out of a hunger to listen while God’s Word is being taught. Nothing transforms people like the Word of God and God has divinely ordained the act of preaching to be a major contributor to His children’s spiritual development. I hope Emma has a hunger for this development and discovers the joy of growing in her walk with Jesus through the guidance of a gifted teacher.
I hope at some point in the future Emma goes to church because she connects her life with other believers. Whether she is a teenager with a group of friends, a young lady adjusting to married life, or a young mother struggling with her four-year old daughter (oh yes I have prayed the proverbial, “just like you” prayer), I hope she is surrounded with other growing believers and connects with them at church.
I think Emma is right where she should be in her spiritual development to understand we go to church because it is Sunday, that is how four-year olds should think. But if she turns 14, or 24, or 54, and is still going to church just because it is Sunday, I will be a bit disappointed. I hope as she matures Emma will discover the joy of church that happens on Sunday, but she knows that she goes for a host of other reasons.