Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12)
Bring Your Glove To Church
The American Baseball season is well underway, with games dotting the landscape of towns across America. It has been called “America’s Pastime” and the essence of the American spirit. A most unusual game took place recently. The time was set for the teams to play, and the fans gathered to watch a rival match between two champions. Batting first, the visiting team sent their first batter to the box to prepare for the opening pitch. As he gazed over the field for a strategic place to play the ball, the batter noticed that five or six of the nine players did not have gloves, including the catcher. The visiting team routed the home team as players were unable to handle the balls without the glove.
Tim Kurkjian writes, “A player’s glove, especially for a good defensive player, is his most personal piece of equipment, and it is treated with great respect and care.” No one would imagine a game where the teams would show up without their gloves. Kurkjian relates how “former Indians pitcher Brian Anderson once forgot his glove on a spring training bus trip to Winter Haven, Fla., so, in full uniform, he borrowed a car to go buy a glove” at Walmart. The glove is one of the most important tools a player has to play the game. If a player refused to bring his glove to the game, he would not last long in the sport.
When Jesus promised the apostles that He would build His church, there were expectations included in that promise. The saints would gather on the first day of the week to worship the Father, remember the Son of God’s sacrifice, and fellowship as saints in the grace of God. Every first day of the week would be when God’s people would gather together in the same place for the singular purpose of obeying the Lord, receiving edification and instruction, and admonishing one another in love. The focus of the assembly would be worship. Reading from the pages of holy writ would be the primary foundation of worship. It would be impossible to worship God in spirit and truth without the written word. As the canon of God’s word was established, it became known as “The Bible.” This book would become the foundational rock of truth in the church of Christ.
For many years, the Bible was considered a person’s most personal possession, and it is treated with great respect and care. Families would go to church each Sunday carrying their Bibles in their hands. Children learned early how to find the books of the Bible. Memory verses were learned to gain knowledge of scripture. Preachers would preach from the Book, citing many passages the audience would turn to and read along with the speaker. Almost everyone had a Bible, and if they happen to forget their Bible, they used the one found in the pew. Worship service was a time of investigating, learning, and opening up the word of God.
Sadly, so often in today’s busy world, many of God’s people come to services without a Bible. Pew Bibles are available to open and follow along, but many sit dispassionately listening to the message. Few Bibles are opened. With the advent of media, there is no need to open the Bible as all the scriptures are displayed on the screen for the audience’s convenience. There is a good reason for showing the passages on the overhead because many of those sitting in the pew have no idea where the books of the Bible are located, much less how to find chapters and verses. This again is a sad commentary on how God’s people have little knowledge of God’s book. The church is like a baseball team showing up to play but without their gloves.
Sometimes, the innovations of men have crippled the instructions of the Lord. When churches begin to fill with saints who do not bring their Bibles and who do not open a Bible to read along with the message or spend time examining the text, the work of the Lord suffers. A lot. Bible class teachers who do not teach the Bible in class but instead spend the hour playing – are preparing a generation to forget God. Churches who do not put the word of God first will be first in apostasy and worldliness. The Bereans were more noble than those of Thessalonica because they knew what to do with a baseball glove.