See you at church.

by Mark Klages , Christian Examiner Contributor |

In a country where police are doused with water and buckets thrown at their heads (seemingly without recompense), in a country where a respected and honored Marine and servant gets paraded around and ridiculed for political gain, and in a country where the freedom to practice hedonism and sexual promiscuity have accompanied a rise in violence while church attendance has dropped a staggering 20 percent over the last 20 years, you still question that we need God?

In 2001, Americans of all origins, ages, and both genders asked, "Where was God" when terrorists attacked and killed over 3,000 souls in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Now I think the question has become, "Where are God's children?"

Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the history of the game. For the record, I am not a Brady fan, nor do I care for the Patriots and Belichick's way of doing business. But Brady's success is irrefutable. Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach literally run circles around some of the best "futbol" players in the world. Lebron James and Zion Williamson are two sides of the same coin. Each showed so extreme natural talent that he was fast tracked into the elite club of basketball – the NBA. Saul "Slash" Hudson, Brad Paisley, and Vince Gill are three of the most prolific, most talented, and most well-known guitarists in the modern history of music. And all of these groups have one thing in common.

Commitment.

If we are honest, raw talent may have gotten these folks noticed, but it took hard work, dedication to their craft, and repetition for them to reach elite status. If you survey all the people I just mentioned, you'll find some striking similarities (with notable exceptions for the musicians). They all start their day the night before, with eight hours of quality sleep. They rise early, eat healthy, hit the gym or the studio religiously (pun intended), and work hard at being the best. It's not unheard of for a household name in the NFL to spend ten hours in the gym doing drills, lifting weights, working cardio, and studying the competition. That is what makes elite athletes elite.

Yet, we Christians try to hit church every few Sunday mornings, sometimes after a late Saturday night, and expect to fend off the seasoned, exceptionally successful attacks of the greatest adversary in the history of the world – Satan. I'm not giving myself a pass on this either. Work keeps many of us away more than we would like, but so does the race or the game, plans with friends, or just lack of dedication to our craft. For those not following me, our craft is living a godly life. Would you expect Lebron James to vie for MVP if he showed up to practice twice a month and only on days when practice would be short – or accompanied by breakfast? Would you expect to see Megan Rapinoe shred her competition if she "couldn't be bothered" to attend practice on Wednesday night?

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25, NIV)

See you at church.

– Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.