Why Go To Church?

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
May 7, 2001

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. ‘I’ve gone for 30 years now,’ he wrote, ‘and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the priests are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.’

This started a real controversy in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: ‘I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals.

But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!’

By Georgy
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31 comments
  1. That makes me feel better – it is rare I remember what was said in the sermon:)

  2. I wrote a piece about reasons to go to church, and sermons weren’t on the list. Here’s my list:1. Critical thinking (helped by sermons), 2. A community of support, 3. Lifelong learning (helped by sermons), 4. Singing, 5. Child education, 6. Ritual. 7. Peace. 8. Helping others. 9. Creativity and growth, 10. Fun!
    There are so many other reasons to go to church, sermons are just one small piece.

    • Divva on a mission said:

      Yes!!! Love it!!

  3. True, however, it is important to read the Scriptures during the week. Thank you, for supplying a daily challenge too.

  4. Sermons certainly aren’t the only reason to go to Church on Sunday (I like the lists above),
    but what strikes about this particular analogy is:
    – Did the original writer just sample? (or perhaps just turn up his nose at the food)?

    – Or did he take the time to absorb and digest?
    Only one way of eating will result in nourishment!
    Be blessed Kenny T! And thanks for continuing to post!!!

  5. A pastor on the radio once said that his brain was like a sieve–so many spiritual truths that he heard or read just slipped right through. “But at least my sieve is clean!” he added. Such a viewpoint gives motivation to keep listening, keep reading (every day, not just Sunday morning in church), and allow the purity of God’s Word to do its work.

  6. Chris Jordan said:

    Reblogged this on New Life and commented:
    Check out this inspirational and challenging blog from “Morning Story and Dilbert” on “Why Go To Church?”

  7. Definitely worth sharing here. Thanks for this!

  8. Divva on a mission said:

    Reblogged this on Divva's Diary and commented:
    Love it!!

  9. If all we went to Mass for was for ourselves and our nourishment, this answer would be enough. But we go also, and arguably primarily, because we owe God our worship. He has commanded it, and He gave us the Church to show us how to worship and where to worship and when to worship. So the answer given was a good one though sadly incomplete. It is not all about us. It is all about God. He wants a relationship with us and He has provided a way for that relationship to be formed. We must be formed in His image and we must be conformed to Christ. The Mass, and the grace we receive in the sacraments, is the ordinary way God has given us to accomplish this. The Mass is how God accomplishes this transformation in us. The Christian who decides he doesn’t need the Church or the Mass any more is on his way to becoming anything but a Christian.

    May we remain in Him so that He will remain in us. Peace be with you. God bless you! 🙂

  10. Two alternatives come to mind:
    First, you may go to church for years and not experience change because the preachers are little more than motivational speakers, who merely talk about how good God is and never challenge you about the things that are wrong with us people. You may attend a church building all your life and never ever hear the true Gospel preached. No Gospel preaching, no real conviction, no salvation, therefore, you’re still dead in your trespasses and sin with a little religious varnish on the outside.
    Second case, you may go to a good Bible-believing and Gospel-centered church, get a lot of knowledge in your head and become full of pride as a result of how much you know of the Bible. And yet never ever allow the Cross to bring you to a place of real repentance for your sins. You may be excellent at using the Bible for finding sins in others, and be totally oblivious to your own.
    I cannot conceive of a truly born-again person who attends church for years and yet never shows any real fruit. Jesus said, By the fruit you shall know them. Is a person at least in a very embryonic sense, a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, with love, peace, joy, patience, etc.? Or are our practical lives more similar to the “works of the flesh”? We should all examine ourselves, whether we are in the faith. Being in the faith is not simply repeating a prayer or mentally assenting to spiritual truths. We have to receive and trust Jesus with the innermost parts of our being.
    Being a member of a good Bible-believing church is not just useful but I should think almost essential in the first years of a believer’s spiritual life. However, I have to say finding one such church is no easy task nowadays. In the end you realize we have to examine ALL things being taught to us through the lens of the Bible, not sheepishly accept everything we hear as Gospel truth.
    The person who complained about time being wasted should really do himself and his pastor a favor and stop going to church. Why go through the motions? Why do we think we can play make-believe with God and get away with it?
    And I absolutely agree with the commenter who said we need to read the Bible every day. Who would think it’s a good idea to go to the restaurant once a week, eat like a pig and then fast the rest of the week? Yet that’s what many Christians do when it comes to spiritual food. We ought to be prepared to teach to others, yet we choose to remain spiritual babies.

    • All I can say is, “AMEN!” I am in a Bible-believing church and we are taught to read the Bible everyday. It is our medicine. Proverbs 3:8 (New Living Translation) Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones. If you are sick, you take medicine. We are spiritually sick if we don’t read the Word of God. We are born into sin, which equals sickness and death and the only way to get better is to go to the One Who made our bodies, the best doctor ever. When we get the flu, we fly to the doctors office, so why don’t we fly to the Healer of our souls when we should? I myself, although a true born-again believer, still backslide and don’t take my medicine everyday like I should. I look around and see everyone’s faults, as you mentioned, and think I’m doing ok, but I’m really not. I still have a long way to go. I don’t know if it is human nature, or spiritual laziness that afflicts me and many like me. I know that sometimes it feels like what Paul says, “I want to do right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do what I hate.” (Paraphrasing from memory) I personally just need to step up to the plate and get right with God.

      Sorry, that went off on a personal trail. My main point is that I agree with everything you said. It was inspired. It is a lot like what my Pastor teaches us. I don’t recall her comparing it to a restaurant, but she does, of course, call it our spiritual food and our medicine. I really liked how you put it. It really puts it into context for people. God Bless you and keep the faith! You sound like you are running the good race and winning!

      • Thanks to you both!
        You know, just yesterday I went to see an eye doctor because I’ve been having a severe case of photophobia, that is, too much sensitivity to light, which makes my eyes hurt basically all the time, especially when I’m outdoors at daytime or when in front of the computer.
        One of the questions the doctor asked me is, How are you eating? It seems photophobia is the result of vitamin deficiency.
        Reading your comments, Cinderella, I remember the doctor and think, WOW, what a parable.
        When we’re eating spiritual junk, our whole being suffers, and our spiritual eyes are affected. We don’t see quite as well and LIGHT hurts. That is, the light of God’s Word revealing our shortcomings! Why do we run back into the dark? Because light hurts. It exposes us, and we want to think we’re oh so perfect. John 3 explains it very well.
        19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
        So, let’s eat our fruit and veggies, in the natural and the spiritual! And let’s keep our eyes clean.

  11. In a way, I can sympathize with the original writer of the letter to the editor while at the same time I can criticize him as well. I’ve fond that if I don’t actively put forth the effort to take notes in church and to keep my attention focused, I can get two hours outside of church and not remember anything that was said. But by taking notes all that changes. I typically just write down those things that stand out to me.

    What’s worse are those times when I failed to pay close attention and later, not being able to remember what the sermon was about, I realize that I’m on that week’s schedule to write a devotion about the sermon for the church website.

  12. jtg4charis said:

    It highlights the difference between a church goer and someone who participates in church to cultivate his/her relationship with God and the others who attend.

  13. J. Randall Stewart said:

    Keith Green once said, “Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.” I like that thought. Church is not a place, it’s a people. We are the Church, and coming together can be beneficial, encouraging, uplifting, refreshing, and rejuvenating. But it can also be empty and worthless too, depending on the individual as well as the collective. I think, as a whole, we have made Church out to be such a narrow thing, when God see’s it so broad. We have confined and limited it to a small space, in a building and in our lives. Church is so much bigger, and better than we often let it be.

  14. mtetar said:

    Amen!!! We need The Word always. Be Blessed, Mtetar

  15. I wish I were smart enough to come up with simple answers like the man who was nourished by his wife’s diligent care. Beautiful. I have been blessed to sit under some extraordinary preachers whose words are still tucked away in my head and my heart; that is because their words have been based on The Word, which is the only lasting source of sermons 🙂

  16. Excellent point. I don’t remember every sermon, but things from sermons have become part of my life, which is more important. To remember is one thing; to live it, another.

    janet

  17. awesome analogy! and so true..
    every time we spend in God’s house is never wasted. they all serve to strengthen u in Christ

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