It’s been said that Christians need to be the church, not just go to church. Truer words were never spoken. When church is a once-a-week-event rather than a seven-day-a-week lifestyle, it runs the risk of becoming little more than a couple of hours of religious piety each week.
Have you ever watched the Indianapolis 500 or the Daytona 500 on t.v.? The race cars zoom around the track mile after mile, each driver pouring himself into doing his job to the best of his ability. At certain intervals, however, the drivers have to drive their cars into the pit area for pit stops. Nobody can race 500 miles without a few pit stops.
Once a pit stop officially begins a whirlwind of activity takes place. Pit crew members come flying over the retaining walls onto the track. They attack their driver’s car like a swarm of bees and do all the necessary work. Does the car need gas? One crew worker does that job. Does the car need fresh tires? A team of crew workers do that job. Does the windshield need cleaning? A crew worker does that job.
And what does the driver do while all this activity is going on? He sits in the car, maybe grabs a quick drink of something, and gets a round of encouragement or instruction from his crew chief. The entire event takes less than twenty seconds, and then the driver roars the car back out onto the track and resumes the race. It’s the race that is the big deal, not the pit stop. The pit stop is just something that helps the driver do better in the race.
Perhaps you’ve figured out by now where I’m going with this. The race in which Christians are running is life — the real world — and the regularly scheduled pit stops are church services. As for the pit crews, they are the pastors, ministers of music, Sunday School teachers, youth ministers, etc. These are the people who do the work in the pit area. They provide the Christian with encouragement, instruction, and assistance each church service.
Unfortunately, the problem that Christianity has had since sometime along about the 3rd century is that Christians think of the scheduled pit stops as being the main thing. To them the race (life) is just what you have to endure to get back to the safety of the pit area once a week. They don’t understand that God gifts each Christian with not only natural talents but also spiritual gifts, all of which are supposed to be used in service to Him out in the real world. Talents are abilities the Christian receives at his or her physical birth. Spiritual gifts are abilities the indwelling Holy Spirit brings to the Christian at the moment of his or her spiritual birth (the born-again experience).
So, by stretching our analogy a bit further, we see that the Christians “car” is his or her body. That body has been well equipped by God with talents and spiritual gifts to run the race well. But what happens if the Christian doesn’t use those talents and spiritual gifts? The answer is, each day that Christian falls further behind in the race. And no driver ever won a trophy for being the first to make a pit stop or for making the most pit stops.
Christian, I hope this simple post will help you to get church attendance into proper perspective in your life. Are those pit stops important to the driver? Absolutely. There’s no doubt they help the driver do a better job of racing. But what you must always keep front and center in your mind is that the race is the thing. You see, God is trying to use Christians to minister to the whole world, and He knows full well that the whole world doesn’t attend church each Sunday. That’s why He needs us to be the church every day, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, rather than just go to church.