Have you ever been to a Tee Ball game where the league chooses not to
keep score? This is done to make sure the little boys and girls focus on how to play the game and not on who's winning. After the game the kids go get a freeze pop and talk about playing tag or the latest video game. On the other hand if you look around you will see moms, dads, granddad and sometimes coaches comparing "secret" scorecards, discussing and sometimes arguing about who won. Somebody is always keeping score.
Way too often we keep our own secret scorecards at church. We count how many Sunday's, bible classes, and pot luck dinners someone has missed this month. You take that number times the number of small groups they did not attend last year. Now take those numbers divided by their hospital visits and prayer request, and we now know how strong their spiritual life is. I think to myself just how ridiculous and damaging this can be, but realize it was not that long ago I subscribed to the very same equation. I pray we all spend more energy loving than wasted time keeping score.
Now after doing the math, let's think about just how important church attendance, small group fellowship, and other things mentioned above really are. To Jeff and the praise team: After countless hours of preparation nothing can be more discouraging than a half full auditorium. To the little boys and girls who run to give John or Miss Susan a hug, being there matters. For elders who pray for a spirit of unity, protection from the evil one, and a greater love for Jesus by every member of the flock, our being together is great joy. To small group leaders and class teachers who study, open their homes and shares God's word, fewer people showing up hurts.
I don't know about you but I need a hug, handshake and smile from Willard and Betty. I need to see my brothers and sisters sitting around me singing and praising Jesus. I need to hear a powerful message from God's word. I need to see the teens and young children excited about going to classes. If we are honest with ourselves we need each other. Jesus tells us in Matthew and Luke of a shepherd leaving 99 sheep to bring one back home. Jesus spoke to the multitudes, fed the thousands and ate with all twelve. Jesus thought it was important to be there! He did not keep score but kept his promise of grace.