Why Attend Church?

Why do we need to attend church?

I would like to start this message off with a little story.

Once upon a time in the Amazon river basin, there was a family of Amazonian giant otters. In this family were three brothers who had just come of age. Their names were Wanci, Khukhushe and Thiwahe. It was time for them to leave home and make their way in the world. Because there were few suitable homes in the area, they would each have to search far and wide for a new place of their own.

The first brother, Wanci found an enormous lake high in the andes. There were many frogs, crustaceans and fish, enough to feed his entire village back home for many years. But without anyone to share this vast harvest, he became very lonely. As the months went by, Wanci wasted away despite the abundance of food, for his sorrow consumed him.

The second brother, Khukhushe, went south and moved in with several bachelor lobita otters. These lobita were fun companions. They played exciting and dangerous games like swatting at the tails of cows and then jumping out of the way before the cows could kick them. During the night, they would sneak into henhouses and steal eggs, a tasty delight for any otter. The more he hung around the lobitas, the more reckless Khukhushe became until finally, his luck ran out, and he was caught in a net by a chicken farmer, who sold him to a furrier.

The third brother, Thiwahe, searched far and wide, but no suitable home was found for him. So he said to himself, I will return to my home village. My mother and father will take me in again. Then I will go out and look for a home again next year. So Thiwahe returned to the village and to the home of his parents. As the year passed, Thiwahe kept company with the tribe's elders and warriors. He became strong and wise by following their examples. The next year, when he set out again, he was able to travel further because of his strength and learning.

During his travels, Thiwahe met the lobitas who had been Khukhushe's roommates. After learning what had happened, he went to the furrier's farm where Khukhushe was being kept in a tiny cage. With the skills he had learned over the past year, he was able to release his brother from the cage.

Together, the brothers traveled north. In the mountains, Thiwahe's sharp senses caught the scent of Wanci. When he found him, Wanci was so weak that he could barely stand. Using his own strength, Thiwahe carried him back to the village in the Amazon. There, Khukhushe became strong again and Wanci became wise, and both were much happier in the presence of their kin.

At first, this may seem like just a happy little folk tale, but it illustrates some very important principles.

In the case of Wanci, whose name means "one", the point illustrated is that people need friends. Even those among us with the characteristics of solitary animals aren't designed for complete solitude. Why, in Genesis 2:18, God himself proclaims that it isn't good for man to be alone. Now in a strictly technical sense, Adam was never alone. He had the company of every sort of animal, and he also had the fellowship of God himself. Yet it was clearly not enough. There was a need beyond what God himself could fulfill directly. Much as he needed water, food, air, warmth and gravity, Adam needed the companionship of someone like himself. Someone who was at once both a physical animal and a being created in God's image.

For us, the need goes two steps further. First, the majority of our own little group are a little different from normal humans. Second, we have been transformed by the grace of God and made new in our spirits. This is something the unsaved cannot possibly understand. So if we truly need the companionship of people like us, furries are good, Christians are better, Christian furries are the jackpot. And if you find a friend with whom you can identify even more closely that that, wonderful! You've found something precious. Treat them like it.

In Ecclesiastes chapter 4, King Solomon has this to say about friendship-

Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Together, we are stronger than the sum of our parts.

Now let's take a look at the account of Khukhushe. In case you're wondering, his name means "pig". Khukhushe took up residence with those who were reckless and foolish, and as a result, he became reckless and foolish himself. Experience and scripture both tell us that we become like those we hang around with.

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

But it goes even further than that...

Prov 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Prov 27: 9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

A company of fools will become even more foolish as they egg each other on to new depths of stupidity. Anyone who's ever watched "Jack#$&" knows this for a fact.

A company of wise men encourage each other to greater wisdom. Happy people when put together become happier. So what happens when people of like faith assemble together? Obviously, they're going to grow more mature in their faith.

So what other reasons are there? Well, there's the fact that God tells us to.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Lastly, let's take a look at the very last part of the story. Thiwahe (whose name means "family") During his additional year in the village, he became strong and wise. This extra ability gave him what he needed to accomplish his goals when he went abroad again. Those goals being to travel far and to rescue his two brothers.

We also have a goal when we are apart. This being to share the gospel with the unsaved. It's the skills we gain in church which enable us to accomplish this with any effectiveness.

Pastor Oren Otter
August 6, 2005