Some time ago, a couple came to the local churches asking for financial help. When the pastor asked, “Where do you attend church?” the answer was, “We don’t.” They are professing Christians, but they don’t go to church anywhere. This is common.
I was thinking about why folks who call themselves Christians don’t regularly fellowship with other Christians, and while I know there are a variety of reasons, I think one reason is because they have been injured in the past. Sometimes avoidance of church is symptomatic of aversion to social interaction in general.
However, God created us as social people. The phrase, “It is not good for man to be alone” does not only reveal the origin of marriage, but verbalizes our need to interact with others. This interaction is essential if our lives are to have real meaning.
Paul Borthwick stated this well just over two decades ago.
It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a man’s ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a life with the fewest contacts and relations. If you want to get through the world with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as a man begins to enlarge his life, his resistances are multiplied. Let a man remove his petty selfish purposes and enthrone Christ, and his sufferings will be increased on every side. (Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, p. 86)
Borthwick says a mouthful in those few words. He speaks of being significant. He encourages sanctified ambitions. He addresses the purpose-driven life.
To me, he’s saying: Brave the pain, risk the injuries, and dream big for the sake of being significant in the eyes of Christ.