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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Attending to earn or Entering to learn?

If we really stop long enough to consider WHY we go to church, we'd all probably enjoy the experience a whole lot more!  We might actually walk away a different person!  Yet, most of us go to church in a kind of "mindless" manner.


1 Watch your step when you enter God's house.  Enter to learn. That's far better than mindlessly offering a sacrifice, doing more harm than good.  (Ecclesiastes 5:1)


Our writer reminds us of the importance of "entering to learn" - not just to be able to "check off" one more thing on our list of weekend experiences.  There is also a "warning" to watch our step - to be cautious in what we might commit to doing - because a vow spoken in haste is really a thing we will trip on!


The three words "enter to learn" tell us a great deal about how we should "approach" church.  First, we enter - we go in.  This suggest active engagement in the process of moving from one spot to another.  In entering, we are joining with others.  Now, imagine if we were all there with only one purpose in mind - to praise God with our whole heart, body, and mind.  What could be accomplished if there was such unity in worship?  


To enter also implies actually being "let in" or "welcomed in".  In fact, as it relates to church, God tells us where two or three are gathered in his name, there he is in the midst of that gathering.  Pretty phenomenal, if you ask me!  In going prepared to worship with all we are, God welcomes us into his presence - celebrating with us, not just being on the receiving end of our celebration!  


One of the most unused meanings of the word "enter" is the most telling part of how we are to "do church".  It carries the idea of penetrating or piercing.  In fact, as we gather together with purpose, we are driving back the gates of hell.  Satan's forces take a real blow when worship is done with intent!  


We are to enter to "learn".  Look at what you just read about "entering".  If we are actively engaged in the process of joining with others, there is a greater opportunity to learn, isn't there?  I am not an independent learner - neither are you!  We learn from each other's "schooling" in the things we call "life".  As one navigates the path ahead of us, we "learn" where to walk, what lies in our path, and what it takes to get from where we are to where we are headed.  


If we are welcomed in, it is for a purpose.  We are "designed" to be in a place where we can be taught from the Word - not only to hear, but also to "do".  Something which serves no purpose other than decoration we call a nick-knack.  God's churches are full of nick-knacks every week simply because we come to hear without the interest or intention of doing.  How much more could God do with his church if we actually entered to learn of him.


In doing warfare, we are learning of our enemy's varied tactics.  We experience afresh the plans of our Lord for his church - to push back the gates of hell.  We enter to become effective in warfare - learning of each other, listening intently to the "plan" of our Commander and Chief, and then we walk out what it is we learn.  This is warfare indeed!


Don't know if this might just change how we approach church this week, but it just might for some!  Let's enter to learn - challenging another to do the same!  We have no idea what might just be accomplished in the purposeful "entering to learn" rather than the passive "attending to earn".