I was reading through one of the news web site when I can across a headline that grabbed by attention. “State Senator wants Mandatory Church Attendance.” Seems as if a State Senator from Arizona rose to the floor to declare that because of the lack of morals in our country, a state law was now needed to require people to attend church. Even the next day when pressed for an answer she refused to back down. To correct the evil of our day, she said, everyone must attend a church every Sunday of his or her choice.
Wow! We now need a law to come to church. That would be one way to fill our sanctuaries!
I remember when my children were younger, Debbie and I would think about their future. We would imagine who among their friends or children of our friends would make great mates from them. We would compare personalities and tendencies, then make lists – jokingly, of course! Our children were not happy with us. While we did that playfully, we were reminded of a valuable lesson – it is ultimately their choice. You cannot dictate who should love whom. Because if we did, would it be true love?
Christ chose to love us even in spite of our sinfulness. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus looked for a way out, yet yield to God because of His unending love for us. He chose to love me. That is why we know that it is true love. We choose to love Him. Scripture gives us the image of Christ standing at the door knocking, wanting, and pleading to come in. He has never forced us to accept Him. Our faith is built on my choice to freely give my life in obedience to Him. My testimony is built not on some force regulation but out of my choice, I chose Jesus.
As Easter approaches and we see how Christ gave Himself to us through the suffering and humiliation on the cross, may we completely and freely give of ourselves in service and devotion to our Savior.
Dr. Rich Lloyd
A follower of Jesus Christ. Husband to Debbie since 1980. Father to Logan, Kelsey and Jordan. Since 2000 the Pastor of the First Baptist Church Newport, Newport, Tennessee nestled in the great Smoky Mountains. A graduate of Samford University (BA '79) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv '83, ThM '85 and PhD '91). A third generation Southern Baptist minister. A serious Peyton Manning and Atlanta Braves fan!