Let's Talk About Sunday Night
Graduating from high school and attending Sunday evening services have a lot in common. Neither are required. Both have benefits. This article is written to expand on the comparison.
High School Graduation
Graduating from high school is not a legal requirement. Here is the Texas statute.
A student (must) attend public school until the student's 19thbirthday, unless the student is exempt (exemptions are limited to disciplinary expulsions and placements in equivalency programs; home school is a kind of mandatory attendance).
Parents are horrified by this tidbit because they understand the many advantages of remaining in school. What are the advantages of high school graduation? Here are the top five:
- Students who learn more, earn more:
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates a person with a high school diploma will earn $9,634 more per year than a high school dropout. A high-school dropout is ineligible for 90% of jobs in America, including the military.
- You’re less likely to be unemployed:
High school completers are less likely to be unemployed than those who have dropped out of high school.
- College is suddenly within reach:
Virtually all post-secondary institutions, colleges, and universities require a high school diploma or GED.
- You’ll feel better about yourself:
Research shows that confidence and self-esteem are linked to your education level. Those with a high school diploma have higher levels of self-esteem than those who do not.
- You’ll increase your knowledge:
Learning more about math, science, English, history, and other subjects will help expand your knowledge of the world around you.
For every good old boy or computer geek who dropped out of school before graduating and then made a success of himself, there are hundreds of drop-outs who have painfully fallen on their faces. Maturity is often measured in terms of delayed gratification, the ability to resist a smaller immediate reward in order to receive a larger reward later. Enduring school until graduation certainly leads to greater rewards.
Sunday Evening Services
Just as graduating from high school is not a legal requirement, there is no religious requirement that forces anyone to attend Sunday evening services. Extra services developed from the desire for extra opportunities for worship, genuine fellowship, and Bible study. These are not bad practices, but we must not elevate our useful customs to the level of a book-chapter-verse command.
No one is horrified by this tidbit. Even so, there are some very good reasons for attending Sunday evening services. Give these some thought.
- Attendance on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights has long been considered a baseline for active involvement. I have never heard anyone suggest that attending "whenever the doors are open" is a substitute for other good works, or a make-up for bad works. I have heard of brethren being thankful for additional opportunities for worship, genuine fellowship, and Bible study.
- Attendance whenever the doors are open equals about four (4) total hours per week. Let's generously double that time to eight (8) hours per week to account for prep time (seriously, it's not that much). Eight hours is less than 5% of the total number of hours in a seven-day week (168).
- Surprising information for young families: yours is not the first generation that has found itself very busy. Raising children has always been highly demanding, totally involving, and wringingly hands-on (if it is done correctly). Grades, homework, extra curriculars, and etc. are not new (little league baseball began in the 1920s). Dedicated brethren have been raising active and well-rounded children, finding time for themselves and for family time, and still worshipping regularly for a long time now. Suggestion: pray for God to show you how.
- Who do you think is the biggest fan of skipping Sunday evenings? Who do you think is the source for every excuse? Who are you agreeing with when you decide that ceasing to attend Sunday evenings is your best bet? You know the answer (hint: it's not God).
- Do not be deceived into thinking that you have discovered some rich vein of Christian liberty when you conclude that you are better off attending only on Sunday mornings. "You...were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh" (Gal. 5:13, I Pet. 2:13). Do not misuse Christian liberty as a pretext for selfish indulgences.