Many people come to church for many reasons. Some seek recognition, because they feel insignificant. Some seek power, probably for similar reasons. Some seek a way to get out of hell, while others seek a way to get in good with God. The thing is, though, we should never approach God with any ulterior motives than to simply meet with Him. As a recovering Martha (who worked and worked while her sister sat at the feet of Jesus), I can tell you none of these things brings the peace of God. Jesus calls us in to intimacy with Himself, and there only is where peace is found. Consider the words of David in Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still water. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
What wonderful reminders! It is the Shepherd who gives the sheep peace. Through His preparation, through His leading, through His discipline and love, the Shepherd gives peace to those who are his. Loved ones, whatever reasons you may have to come to church, leave them behind, and just get to Jesus. Leave your desire for recognition, friendship, power, prestige, or any other such thing behind, and get to the Master Shepherd who wants to give you peace, rest, and comfort. He will lead and guide you, He will give you your rest and your ministry, He will comfort and quiet your soul. There is no other way. The Kingdom is not a place where we may force our way in, nor is our position beyond anything He appoints. The only way in is through the Door of the sheep, and that Door is Jesus Christ.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”