I must confess that a fear has been stirred in me this week. As you know, Easter is this weekend. We have the great blessing of remembering what Christ has done for us and looking ahead to when He will return. For most Christians, this is a very joyous occasion to celebrate the reason for our salvation. I say, ‘for most’ because this week I heard one Christian say otherwise. They do not feel a need to attend a service because they know the story by heart.
Now, certainly there is no requirement that one must celebrate Easter by attending a service. There are definitely great benefits and Scriptural support for worshiping in fellowship, but no demand that on Easter you attend church. One could very well choose to enjoy worshiping God by enjoying His creation, taking a walk, serving, and many other ways. It is my hope that this is the intention of the Christian; to still purposefully and thoughtfully worship the Savior on Easter although they will not go to a church. However, my fear was not provoked by an absence in the pew but by their reason for not going.
How do we get to a point where we feel that our knowledge and experiences excuse us from worship? Is Easter only for some but not others? The short answer is no. If someone truly knows the story of Christ’s death and resurrection by heart, then they have even more reason to worship with others. They have all the more reason to praise God with believers and invite unbelievers that they may know in His unfailing love.
There is danger in making such excuses that goes beyond choosing not to worship on such a significant occasion. Behind such excuses that are wrapped up in one’s personal knowledge and experience, is an attitude of arrival. An attitude of arrival is expressed anytime someone believes that they are too good for something. That their experiences place them above others. They do not feel the need to take advice from others because they already know what the best and only choice is. They do not need to participate because they have ‘been there, done that’ and now it is below them. They do not feel like they can learn anything more, because they know it already. They have arrived.
The irony, however, is this. When leaders feel that they have arrived and are at the top of the mountain, the only place left to go is down. Proverbs 16:18 is a well-known verse and yet not always realized when we think we’re at the top. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (ESV).
Avoid an attitude of arrival. We must humble ourselves if we ever wish to lead people well. Adopt a spirit of lifelong learning and be open to the advice of others. I hope to always be changing, I hope to always be growing. I do not want to be the same person that I am today in ten years, let alone a year from now. I hope that I am a better person for God, for others, and for myself. If we set ourselves on a mountain above others, we will miss out on so many wonderful and exciting things that this life has to offer. Our knowledge and experiences should never be used as a prideful excuse that elevates us above people and participation. And it absolutely should never be an excuse to neglect worshiping God.
Leader, may you pursue a humble spirit of lifelong learning and avoid an attitude of arrival. May we both be humbled this weekend as we worship the One who has rescued us from destruction and rejoice in His love and grace. He deserves nothing less from us. Happy Easter Leader!