Each day until Thanksgiving, Everyday Truth is looking at a different reason to be thankful in a family devotional. Use these devotionals with your kids to help keep your family focused on giving thanks. If you missed the introductory post, check it out here for directions on creating a "Thanksgiving wall." When you're done with the devotional head on over to the Everyday Truth Facebook page and join in the discussion of why we're thankful for the church.
Do you have a church you attend? I bet your church meets in a building. Some churches have beautiful buildings with stained glass windows and artwork on the walls. Other churches may not have a building of their own. They may meet in someone's home or in a school. Two churches may even share the same building.
Where your church meets isn't important because a church is not a building. A church is the people that meet in the building. When the Bible talks about the church, it's not talking about a pretty building with a steeple. It's talking about the people who meet together. When the Bible was written, the church didn't have a building, and many times the people had to meet together in secret because there were lots of people who didn't like Christ-followers and wanted to hurt them.
No matter where our church meets or how many people are part of our church, we should be thankful for the church. If you have a pastor who preaches the Bible, Sunday School or youth group leaders who care about you and other kids who are also trying to follow Jesus, you should be thankful.
We can be thankful if we live in a country where meeting with others in the church is something we can do without being afraid of going to jail. In many places in the world, it's a crime to be a Christ-follower and to meet together with other Christ-followers. In some countries it's illegal to even own a Bible. When Christ-followers in those countries choose to meet together, they are risking their freedom and sometimes their lives -- just to go to church.
The Bible tells us the church is a group of people who "devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people." (Acts 2:42-27)
As part of the church, we should be learning about God, telling others about Him and taking care of each other. That's what a church is all about. The next time you go to church, look around at the people. Think about how each person is taking part in the jobs of the church. Thank someone -- your pastor, your Sunday School teacher or even the person cleaning up a spill on the floor -- for whatever job they are doing.
On your Thanksgiving wall today, write down one thing that you are thankful for about your church. It can be the fun children's activities, the great people, your pastor or something else. Thank God for the one thing you like best about your church. And as you head to church on Sunday, remember the church is not a building. It's the people.