where everybody knows your name…

One of the things I have never been is “a regular.” No… not regular… A regular… You know what I mean. I mean like you go into a restaurant and the waitress says, “He’s one of our regulars.” The cool thing about regulars is they are known. They have their “usual” and can often times get their own drinks because they know where everything is, and the people that work in the restaurant know them and trust them, and it’s okay. Sadly, I have never been “a regular,” but my wife is.

Julie often times goes to the same two or three places for lunch everyday, and orders the same things from each place that she goes. For those that have ever eaten lunch with her you know what those meals are and where, but most importantly the servers and staff at these places know her. They’ll have her tea ready when they see her, and all they have to do is ask what sort of day she’s having to know whether it is sweet or unsweet. They know what she orders, and don’t even have to ask. The odd thing that happens with regulars and the people at the restaurant is that there is this cool relationship that is formed. Sort of a friendship, really. There is a trust. There is a knowledge. There is a comfort to going to a place where everybody knows your name… as the great sitcom once said.

I think about our churches and our Christian relationships, and feel like on some level we ought to remember what it means to be “a regular.” There are people at my church with whom I have built real relationships. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I know where they need prayer. I know when I can rely on them and when I shouldn’t expect to.

But we can’t expect to be a regular where we don’t put in the time. Imagine going to a brand new restaurant and telling the waiter, “I’ll have the usual.” He’ll look at you, kinda puzzled, and bring you a big plate of nothing, because that’s your usual there. Quite often Christians that go to church once every couple of months expect to be treated the same as those who make weekly worship a priority for their lives. Often they wonder why they don’t get asked to be a leader in things. They wonder why their opinions aren’t listened to with the same force as others’ opinions are. But why is there such confusion?

Even some of the best Christians I know I have a hard time being a “regular” with their church attendance. I know I’m speaking from the cheap seats. I work at a church. I can count on one hand how many Sundays I have missed in the last three years. So, maybe I am being unfair.

But think of the percentage of days you miss of your job. Think of the percentage of days you don’t show up for your boss. Out of 100 days of your job, how often do you miss? Five, Ten… less, more? Now, what about your worship? Are you a once-a-monther, twice a month… more, less? How do the two compare?

The writer of Hebrews gets that perseverance in doing what is right is difficult, but sometimes we forget that even our meeting together is a part of that call…

23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT

God has put us in this great relationship with the church, not just for our benefit, but also because being together with each other is part of being together with Christ. It is part of being a Christian.

So, where are are we “regulars”? And what does that say about our priorities?

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