The Missing Checkmark
Small things can convey important messages. A period (.) either ends a statement or defines value in a set of numbers. 1750 carries a different value then 17.50. An ant can lift twenty times its body weight and protect its Queen from other colonies. When one of these is missing the outcome is altered. Now consider the checkmark (✔) which can denote a task completed or a correct answer. Picture an attendance chart where names are listed down a column and dates are along the top. Image finding your name and running your finger to the right of the page. A checkmark has been placed under dates of Sunday and Wednesday services. Perhaps most of the boxes contain a ✔ but what about those where the ✔ is missing? A missing ✔ means a missing "body" at services. Those in attendance may wonder if you are sick or maybe out of town. They may even question if you are struggling spiritually. Do I have an answer? If I or a family member is ill have I reached out for help or alerted the elders or a friend? When I, as well as my ✔, are missing what am I depriving others? Encouragement from a friendly hello and smile, motivation for someone struggling when they see me participating in the song service? My voice cannot be added to those of my brothers and sisters as they sing praises to God. My example of opening my Bible to follow along during a sermon or Bible class is lost. Connections with my congregational family cannot be made and I am not able to make a visitor feel welcome.
When my ✔ is missing there is no immediate joy to be shared with one who is baptized into Christ or restored to our family. I cannot support and mourn with those who have lost loved ones through physical death or church discipline. Watching the little ones grow from the toddler weaving in and out of the crowd to one leading singing or teaching a Bible class — its lost if I'm missing. Although being a Christian means living a life of service to others, there are also personal loses: gaining Bible knowledge and insight, being uplifted by songs of praise, encouraged and motivated by Christians of all ages; growing as a Christian is instructed by Peter in I Peter 2: 1-3.
It is understood there are exceptions when your ✔ must be missing. Illnesses are part of life, caring for family members is required, traveling out of town will happen. And yes, brothers and sisters should inquire as to the reason for your absence. A missing ✔ is a missing body part of the church family. Reflection: Why is my ✔ missing? Why is my brother or sister missing and how can I help? How often is your ✔ missing?