Ray was late in attending church one Sunday morning. He arrived a couple of minutes before the worship team finished singing the final song. He did not have a car, he lost his job 3 months ago, and he did not have enough fare to ride all the way from his home to his church. Nevertheless, he persisted and walked for 5 hours just to attend the service.
When he arrived, he took an empty chair and sat further than the last row of chairs, far enough so that he does not distract the rest of the congregation with his very sweaty shirt. It seemed to work and no one seemed to notice, so he pulled out his pocket bible and did his best to concentrate and listen to his pastor preach.
After the service, he was surprised when the pastor went straight up to him and asked him step into his office so they could talk.
When they were at last alone, the pastor asked him for an explanation why he was late and why he was all so sweaty and sitting alone in the corner. Ray told him of his situation and the pastor, with tears in his eyes, asked him: “Why didn’t you come to me earlier and ask for my help? I could have saved you the trouble of having to walk for hours!”
Ray was just silent.
“Do you want to know what kept you from asking for help? Do you want to know the answer?”
Ray nodded yes.
“The answer is pride.”
While we may admire Ray for his dedication and desire not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as stated in Hebrews 10:25, the pastor was right. You see, Ray was close to the pastor. They worked together doing campus ministry work when they were still students in college. Ray could have told him he needed help with fare a few nights ago when he was there a few days earlier at church attending the midweek Bible study service. But he didn’t.
Remember that pride comes before a fall (Prov. 16:18). It is the one thing that is able to separate us from God and from each other.
So let us lay our egos at the foot of the cross, love one another, and spur each other to grow spiritually because after all, the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42, ESV)