God’s people have been gathering together since Sinai. During the period of the Levitical priesthood, the people would assemble at the Tabernacle and later at the Temple to offer sacrifices and to celebrate holy days. After Judaism ended and Jesus established his church, people continued to come together to worship. Acts 2:46 tells us they were together day by day fellowshipping and engaging in various aspects of worship.
The practice of the earliest Christians, acting under apostolic approval, was to come together on Sunday to break bread (Communion), receive teaching. and to contribute to the works of the church (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). The assembly was important. There were no “Lone Ranger” Christians apart from those who assembled. Brethren worshiped God together and encouraged one another through their fellowship and singing, something that cannot be done if you are not part of the assembly. Coming together like this implies respect for both God, as the object of worship, and the brethren, as co-worshippers of the Lord.
A worshipper would never consider doing anything that would distract from his own devotion to God through worship, nor would he distract others from their worshipping.
I fear we have forgotten that simple lesson.
From his perch behind the pulpit, the preacher sees a lot. When he preaches from the floor he often can see the screens of smartphones and immediately knows that some are not paying attention to a word he says.
From where he stands he can see the adults making goo-goo eyes at babies, playing with non-infant children and actually laughing at one another.
From his perspective, he can see into the darkened training rooms where people of all ages sit to chit chat during worship.
From his point of view, he sees the people who leave early even though worship is not completed.
The speaker further knows that it is not about him; he takes no personal offense at such antics but is saddened by those who think little of worship. There is always a better speaker somewhere else. Sadly, the same things occur in his audience too.
Let me suggest the following to help you worship better and to eliminate the distractions to others.
Leave the phone in the car. – I love technology but the distractions of a phone that can access Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, email, and texting is just too much for me to handle. Use a paper Bible as it is easier to take notes and underline.
Sit closer to the front. This puts many of the distractions behind you and allows you to focus on worship.
Teach children; do not play with children in worship.
Go to the bathroom before Wait until the end to go again if possible.
Do not leave early. Make a statement to the people you are meeting that worship is more important to you than they are!
It boils down to one question: Is there anything more important that worship? I didn’t think so.
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.