We know “assembling” means to come together or gather together or meeting together. This verse, to put guilt on those who left traditional church, is used to mean that a person is not supposed to forsake going to Sunday Church services because all have an obligation to be present. That is NOT the message.
Important things to note:
- It does NOT say “assembly.”
- A “specific meeting” is not identified
- The “place” is not specified nor the “time,” “frequency” or “length” of the meetings.
The passage in Hebrews isn’t talking about “church attendance” on a certain day of the week with a large group of people in a church building with added activities and entertainment.
Assembling together may consist of only 2 or 3 people.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20)
A little testimony of mine.
I meet Christians at my workplace when they are traveling. Sometimes they are repeat guests. I have built relationships with a few of them though they may only be there for a short time. We have shared many testimonies of what God is doing, or share a word we have received in our devotion time. We are able to encourage and edify each other by sharing what Christ is doing in our lives. At work I have had these Christians come to the front desk and we get to talk some more as time permits.
I remember a few years ago when a woman came into our hotel looking for a room. She had no reservation. At the time I was going through some depression since leaving the IC (Institutional Church). I always say I was going through my “detox” time from the IC. I felt like I was not hearing from God and I prayed for Him to give me some kind of sign to let me know if I were doing the right thing or that He’s even there and hears me. That is the afternoon when this lady walked into the hotel looking for a room. She and her husband had just come in from Canada. Her husband was waiting in the car. She told me she had been at our place eight years before. It was three months after her vacation that she found out her eight year old daughter had a serious illness. Tears were welling up in me as I listened about her daughter’s battle with cancer. She said this was her first time back to the hotel since her daughter’s death.
I got them checked into the hotel. Later that evening she and her husband were going out for dinner. As I saw her coming to the desk, I asked her if she had a good cry. I knew it would probably be hard for her with the memories and her first time being back. She said she did have a good cry but that she was okay and then gave me a book. It was her story about how God carried her through the darkest trial of her life with the illness of her daughter.
I know all this must have been by divine appointment because I only got one phone call that night and I was working alone. This meant I was able to read the whole book that evening at work without many interruptions. I was crying like a baby all through the book because each chapter seemed to be talking just to me. The one phone call I did get that night, I had to let it ring a few times until I could compose myself. It was like a little break because I was just so overwhelmed with God’s mercy and love. What the woman wrote in that book spoke to my heart and melted my spirit. It talked about the love of Jesus, about Him giving us strength when ours is gone, He knows our fears and struggles, the admonishment of continuing to seek Him even when we feel like giving up, and how He comforts and dries the tears and gives us strength to go on in life when everything else seems to be falling apart. There was so much more to the book. By the time I was done reading, I was literally on my knees just thanking Jesus for answering my prayers. I felt like He was in the room with me. That was the turning point in my life. The next day I shared with that lady what happened and how God used her and her story in my time of need. We got to talk for some time that afternoon. It was a year later when she and her husband came back to visit and she said my countenance was so much better since the last time she saw me.
Meetings like these count as assembling together, even if it’s just with another person – anytime, anywhere and any place.
I have had quite a few moments like these since leaving the IC. Would I like to meet with more people? Sure I would, but right now that is not where the Father has me. I cherish what fellowship I do get with those who visit in town or those I can call on the phone or through email and Facebook. I don’t know what the future will be like, but I know I have today and I still have Jesus.