Based on all our research and surveys, it's evident that church attendance has declined significantly. Some denominations are down more than others. The fact is that every denomination is losing members.
On Paul’s missionary trip through Macedonia, he encountered people who were suffering a “severe ordeal of affliction,” and living in “extreme poverty.” (II Corinthians 8:2) If anyone needed help, it was these folks. Yet, Paul tells us, that when they found out about the suffering and famine in Jerusalem and the offering Paul was taking to meet those needs, listen to what they did: “… they voluntarily gave according to their means and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the favor of partnering in this ministry to the saints…” (2 Corinthians 8:3-4).
It’s often said that “comparison is the thief of joy,” but why is that true?
The act of comparison takes our eyes off God and places them on ourselves and the people we’re comparing ourselves to. When we most need to see and understand the love of God, to begin “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18), we avert our gaze. When keeping our eyes fixed on God would reveal the goodness and mercy of God, we focus elsewhere. And that lack of focus on God is devastating because joy comes from God.
In this world where it can be hard to muster any hope; where the sorrows and suffering of the world pile up, walling us off from any possibility of a joyous future, I cling to a simple meal of bread and wine. It is at the Lord’s Table that I find the grace to carry on.