Keeping the membership up was a constant battle. We talked to our friends, invited neighbors, even advertised in the weekly paper. The results barely kept up with the attrition of old age, relocation, and moms going back to work. Oh, everyone got a kick out of the programs. No one turned down a free lunch. But when they found out they would have to work on fundraisers and projects, suddenly everyone was too busy.
Some of them paid dues, but never showed up, thinking that was at least a monetary help. Eventually we decided that if that was all they would do, we would not approach them the next year to renew their membership. Our state and national affiliation dues were charged per capita, and our miniscule local dues barely covered them. What we were about wasn’t fun and games and good food. Our stated aim was to help keep music programs in the poor rural schools and provide scholarships for worthy students to help with the costs of private lessons. If a member did not have the same interests, he really didn’t belong anyway.
Isn’t it that way with the Lord’s body? Too many are on the rolls in name only. Oh, they may come, but not for the reason the scriptures give. Assembling with the saints is not about entertainment; it’s about provoking one another to love and good works, Heb 10: 24, 25. It isn’t about showing off our talents and receiving praise; it’s about edification and giving God praise, 1 Cor 14:26. It isn’t about whether I approve of what went on or who is there, it’s about communing with the Lord, Matt 26:29. It certainly isn’t about judging others, their clothing, their words, their actions; it’s about realizing that the Judge of all is watching my worship and deciding whether or not it is acceptable.
If all I do is sit there waiting to be catered to, or even uplifted for that matter, I have not fulfilled the real duty of meeting with my brethren no matter how many times I sit on that pew, or how long. Walking in those doors places an obligation on me to act, not react. Claiming membership means I need to get busy, not be served. Putting my name on a roll means I do more than put my check in the plate.
Eventually my little organization no longer invited members in name only to re-up. What would happen if the elders did that in the church? But here is a more sobering thought—the Lord is already doing it. Is your name still on His list?
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done… And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:12,15.