Show Appreciation for God’s House
1 In Bible times Jehovah commanded his people to assemble together regularly at his house. (Lev. 23:2) These gatherings helped them keep their minds on God’s word, providing time for meditation, association, and discussion of Jehovah’s Law. Their minds became filled with God’s thoughts, which brought rich spiritual blessings. These were truly happy occasions. The arrangement promoted unity and clean worship. Gatherings in God’s house today are no less important.
2 How Can We Show We Appreciate Meetings? Some congregations report low meeting attendance. Occasionally a person’s situation may prevent him from attending a meeting. But have you allowed relatively minor problems to interfere with regular meeting attendance? Some may decide to stay home if they have a slight headache or feel tired after a busy day. Others have felt obligated to entertain unbelieving relatives who want to visit. Some have even missed meetings in order to watch a favorite TV program or some sporting event. The level of appreciation demonstrated in these situations obviously falls short of the heartfelt desire expressed by the sons of Korah: “My soul has yearned and also pined away for the courtyards of Jehovah.”—Ps. 84:2.
3 Although there is an abundance of spiritual food provided at the meetings, some in attendance have difficulty paying attention. They may find themselves daydreaming, thinking about the day’s anxieties, or even dozing off. Many have found that taking brief notes helps them keep alert and focus on what is being said. Writing things down also impresses the information on the mind. In addition, advance preparation is an aid to benefiting fully. If we prepare well, we will be able “to pay more than the usual attention.”—Heb. 2:1.
4 Children as well as adults need to absorb the instruction provided at meetings. What the children learn will be very limited if parents provide toys or coloring books to keep them occupied and quiet. There is a lack of proper discipline when children are allowed to play, talk, cry, or do other things that disturb those sitting nearby. Frequent and unnecessary trips to the rest room or water fountain during the meeting are usually reduced when the child knows that one of his parents will always accompany him.
5 Punctuality Is Important: Occasionally, unavoidable circumstances may prevent us from arriving at a meeting on time, but habitually arriving late after the opening song and prayer shows a lack of respect for the sacred purpose of the meetings and our responsibility to avoid disturbing others. Remember that singing and praying with our brothers at congregation meetings is part of our worship. Habitual tardiness is usually a result of poor organization or failure to plan in advance. Being punctual shows that we respect and appreciate our meetings.
6 As the day draws ever nearer, the need to assemble together can only become greater. (Heb. 10:24, 25) Let us show our appreciation by regular attendance, advance preparation, punctuality, rapt attention, and then application of what we learn.