One Sunday a plainly dressed, scholarly-looking man went to a church in the Netherlands and took a seat near the pulpit. A few minutes later, a lady approached the pew. Seeing a stranger sitting in it, she curtly advised him that this was ‘her seat’. He graciously apologised, and moved to one of the pews in the back of the church reserved for the poor. There, he joined in the service and left afterward without further incident.
When the service was over, one of the woman’s friends asked her if she knew who it was she had ordered out of her pew. ‘No,’ the woman replied casually, ‘only some stranger, I suppose.’ She was shocked to learn from her friend that the stranger was King Oscar of Sweden, who was in the country visiting their queen.
There’s a lesson here for us all. Whether you go to a big church or a small one, Jesus the Head of the church, said, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.’ (Matthew 18:20 NKJV) That means, Jesus, the King of Kings, will be present. You must recognise His presence, worship Him, and make Him your central focus. Otherwise, you might as well join a social club or just stay home.
The psalmist gives us the protocol for church: ‘Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.’ (Psalm 100:4–5 NKJV)