By Greg Laurie
“One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came.”—John 20:24
I heard about a one hundred-year-old man who was celebrating his birthday at the church where he had attended since he was a boy. They threw a big party for him with cake, ice cream, and lots of birthday cards. Then his great-grandson walked up to the microphone to say a few words. Turning to his grandfather he said, “Great-Grandpa, we know you can barely hear or see, but tell us, why do you still go to church every Sunday?”
The man replied, “Because I love Jesus with all my heart, and He commanded me to be here.” Then he paused for a moment and added, “And I just want to show everybody whose side I’m on.”
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After Jesus rose from the dead, a skeptical, disillusioned Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to the group of Christians who were gathered together. When they told Thomas what had happened, he effectively said, “I’ll believe that when I can put my hand in the wound on His side and touch the holes in His hands.”
But the next time they met, Thomas was there. And guess who showed up again? Jesus. Thomas missed out when he separated himself from other believers. And he received so much more when he joined them. In the same way, when we isolate ourselves from other believers, we lose perspective. We can become fearful, confused, angry, and bitter.
The psalmist Asaph grappled with an age-old question: Why do the wicked prosper? But he gained perspective when he worshipped with God’s people in God’s house (see Psalm 73:16–17).
We should be a part of the church, because it is where we hear the Word of God. It is where we worship the Lord. It is where we receive untold spiritual benefits. It is where we encounter God.
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