by Jerry Carmichael


After some years of unfaithfulness to the Lord, my wife and I were restored to the fold.  We decided that once and for all God was going to be first in our lives.

A few short weeks passed and things seemed to be running smoothly.  We were welcomed to the fold warmly by fellow Christians.  We had begun to feel like we belonged to the family of the local church.  We informed non-Christian friends and family members of our decision as well.   

One Saturday evening as we were preparing our children for bed, anticipating the next morning’s worship service, a car pulled into the driveway. The couple who had come for a weekend visit were relatives from Ohio.  They informed us that they intended to stay the night and leave sometime the next day.  As young, immature Christians we were suddenly thrust into a spiritual dilemma.  Our options were obvious.

1) Miss the morning service and spend time with our visitors (After all, we would be able to attend the evening service; they would be gone by then).

2) Kindly and tactfully explain our commitment to the Lord and tell them that they could either go to services with us or stay at our house until we returned.  I remember the look on their faces until this day, when, before going to be Saturday night, we explained that we would be leaving the house at 9:30 A.M. the next day to attend Bible class and worship service and that they would be welcome to come along or stay until we returned.  They were up bright and early the next morning and ready to leave before we left for services.

Years have passed since that Saturday evening.  Word soon spread throughout the family that we would attend worship service even if we had company.  Some family members considered our decision rude and inhospitable. Others commended our commitment, but none ever again arranged a visit which would interfere with worship service!  As we have grown and matured in the faith, we have thanked God many times for our decision that day.  It was a boost of confidence to a couple of struggling newcomers to realize that we really could put God first.

What was a spiritual dilemma then, is second nature to us now.  We never plan anything which interferes with the assembling together of the saints!  We already have an appointment on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening and nothing short of incapacitating illness interferes with these appointments!  He who loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who loves son and daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:37, 38).”


From: Power, December 2003, edited by B.J. Clarke.