Today’s verses may seem insignificant, but the principle underlying them is huge. When Mary and Joseph returned from Egypt, they settled once again in Nazareth, far to the north of Judea, but at least once a year they traveled to Jerusalem as a family. In Luke 2:41-42, we read that it was their custom to head to Jerusalem every year. Mary and Joseph had already dedicated Jesus to the Lord, but they also followed through by taking him regularly to synagogue and to Passover celebrations. Mary and Joseph established a pattern of meeting regularly with other believers. And when Jesus grew up, he continued to attend his local synagogue. In Luke 4:16 he entered the synagogue in Nazareth “as was his habit.”
Regular church attendance is not something that happens naturally. Parents instill a pattern in the lives of their children by exposing them to church services week after week, month after month, and year after year. This offers no guarantee that their children will continue to attend church and believe in God, but in those early years, habits are formed. Verses memorized in Sunday School sink deep into the soil of a child’s heart. Years later, God can use those verses to call those children back to himself.
My husband Gene was raised in a home where his parents did not attend church, but by God’s grace, his public school teacher offered to take Gene to her church. For many years Alice Huntington faithfully picked him up every week and transported him to Sunday School. After class, she took him home, a step that meant week after week she herself would arrive late to the adult service that followed the class. I owe more that I can ever say to Mrs. Huntington for the way she invested in the life of my husband. Which person in your life is God calling you to invest in today?