Question:

Why do the churches of Christ have two worship services on Sundays? Is it required and is it scriptural? If so, how can I get the heart and desire to go out of my own way to worship God whenever the church meets, as Hebrews talks about not giving up meeting together? I find it gets in my own schedule's way to go to both services because I am a full-time college student where I often do homework on weekends, and I often drive ten minutes away to go there. But I know these are just excuses and if it's God's will that we meet, then I want to do His will. What are your thoughts?

Answer:

In my own case, I attended a university full-time, worked part-time, attended a local church on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights and drove a hour to a country congregation to help them with the preaching on Sunday mornings.

Evening worship services are generally traced back to World War II when businesses shifted to seven-day, 24-hour work schedules in order to support the war effort. In an effort to make it possible for their brethren to worship, two assemblies were offered. It has remained popular with most congregations, though you will find that many congregations in the northeast have returned to one meeting per Sunday because of distance brethren have to travel to reach the building. The congregation where you attend decided that for most of the brethren holding services two times on Sunday worked best for the people there. It is not fixed in stone, but if that is what works, those who are members show adapt themselves to benefit the brethren.

The problem you are facing is not the frequency for which you attend. After all you go to you college classes far more often and for longer periods of time without too much difficulty. Nor is the distance anything worth mentioning. You go other places that are farther on a regular basis without too much difficulty. The real problem is one of priorities. You put other things first in your life and now find that something needs to give. That is why the Lord said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

In the Old Tesatament Israel was told to offer to God the firstfruits of their crops. "Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10). In other words, they gave to God first, then worked with what was left for their own purposes. That is what God expects of us as well. When I lay out my budget, my contribution has always come out first, then I figure out what to do with the rest. And the same thing goes with my time. The times for worship and Bible study are blocked out first. Then I schedule the rest of my week around those givens.

After all, the reason we are here is to serve God. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Sadly, you see it as going out of your way to serve God. That shouldn't be. Contrast this to David's attitude. "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD"" (Psalm 122:1).

Far too often people only want to serve when they feel like it. There will always be times when we need to do things despite our feelings. We have lost our sense of duty. "And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'" (Luke 17:7-10). Each of us are unprofitable servants. There are many commands that we have not accomplished as well as we ought to have done. Even if we do everything we should do, we are still only doing what we should do. But such is the duty we owe God.