· Because we are given an opportunity to give at church and we have to give to live. The Sea of Galilee in Israel is apparently a gorgeous turquoise lake of fresh water, teeming with all kinds of fish. It flows into the Jordan River, which descends hundreds of feet and ends in the lowest body of water on Earth, called the Dead Sea. Because the Dead Sea is so low, it has no outlet, there is nowhere for its water to flow—it flows in, but not out. As a result, the Dead Sea is so full of salt and other minerals that it cannot support life. It’s literally a Dead Sea.
That’s what happens to the person who does not give—he dies. There are dozens of outlets for our gifts at any healthy church. We help the poor, give counsel to people in need, provide a place for activities for the whole family, give to help missions in underprivileged countries, support orphans, provide worship, teaching and encouragement, etc. I can’t think of a better venue to support than the work of the church, which meets needs of the spirit, soul and body.
· Because everybody needs to give and receive encouragement. It takes courage to live in our world and life has a way of sapping that courage from us. The stress of work, bills, sickness, traffic, relationships, grief over loss, failure, accidents and family—even good stresses such as moving to a new home or neighbourhood, starting a new job, getting married or having a baby—tend to sap our daily intake of courage. Then we add a negative comment from our spouse, a child who disappoints, a pointed quip from a fellow worker, a pushy driver behind us, a negative news report or an assignment bigger than we can handle, and the discouragement side of the scale outweighs the encouragement side.
We all need to be encouraged regularly, to be around others who are encouragers and to give back our own words of encouragement. Someone once said, and I’ve found it to be true, that it takes seven words of encouragement to balance one word of discouragement.
· To pray with like-minded believers. Yes, we can pray by ourselves but praying in harmony with one or more others multiplies our enthusiasm and the weight of our words. There is power in agreement, Jesus said churches should primarily be houses of prayer or all nations. There are many venues for praying in church; whether corporate prayers, private prayers, pastoral prayers or small group prayers. God has promised He will respond to believing prayer that lines up with His will for us.
· Because we need to be accountable for our words and actions. No man is an island; we live in partnership with our circles of influence and are interconnected to the rest of the world around us. It does matter what we say because our words carry the power of life and death in them. It does matter how we behave, even in private, because every action affects someone else. Like it or not, we are all interdependent on our little planet.
Whether we are a small child or the Queen of England, we must be held accountable for what we say and do in our worlds. Ultimately, all of us will give an account of how we have used our time, talents, energy, money and words before God.
The Biblical mandate of believers is for each of us to be subject to one another while on earth. For pastor, leader, adult or child, accountability is necessary.