Easter Sunday afternoon, after everyone had left, I picked up an insert in the Sunday paper and scanned the lead story, “Cheater’s Guide to Living to 100.”
Journalist, Dan Buetter, has conducted research among the people who live the longest on this planet and arrived at some interesting conclusions.
Based on his research, the article highlights several things that could extend life expectancy. For example, an exercise regimen can add four and a half years. Not surprising. Those who eat mostly plant based diets can live over twenty-five percent longer. But there’s something you can do that may extend your life more than fourteen years. What is it?
Wait for it . . .
Dan Buettner has found, “Attending services (faith-based) four times a month can add up to fourteen years to your life.”
Fourteen years. That’s incredible.
Yet, according to those who study these things, for many years, church attendance has been in decline in the US.
Cultural values have shifted in the past few decades, and church attendance no longer tops the priority list as it once did. Folks haven’t necessarily left the church, they just don’t come as often anymore. Why? There are many reasons, but being too busy often tops the list. It seems we're cheating ourselves out of life because of it.
Buettner includes this finding about church attendance under the heading, “Find Your Tribe.” In a culture sometimes driven by social media, we can find ourselves, especially as we grow older, growing more and more isolated. But church attendance, real live showing up and sitting in a seat attendance, helps us to connect to others. Typing in a comment on Facebook doesn’t provide the same interaction.
And what might even be better is having a responsibility in that church, because according to Buettener, “Having a purpose in life provides a buffer against mortality, no matter your age.”
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, a tentmaker once wrote, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 The Message).
God knew that among the many benefits of gathering together for worship, it could help us live longer. And as my husband often says, “It’s not true because it’s in the Bible, it’s in the Bible because it’s true.”
So, next Sunday, don’t let the weather dictate what you’re going to do. Don’t plan on catching up on your emails Sunday morning, and don’t decide you’ll just sleep in. Get up, go to church. When you get there, see if you can’t find a way to contribute.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll just see you on your 100th.