I see it over and over again in the church. The pastor gives the altar call but no one moves from their seat. It's not a call for salvation. It's a call for those who need a touch in body or a touch in their life from God. The pastor says, "Come" and there are some who go forward when the need in their life is so great that they can't stand the weight of their burden. But most of the time, the pews remain full.
I remember a time when the whole family would go to the altar. My father would stand up and that was the indication to me, my siblings, and my mother that we were to follow. Many times I bowed my head at the altar not understanding the significance of that motion. But I learned that going to the altar means you are surrendering to the authority of the Almighty God. It's a simple gesture of bowing your head and lowering your knee that speaks volumes about who leads your life. The Bible tells us that one day, "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Philippians 2:10-11). But do we want to wait until then? Is God pleased with those who stay in their seat? If we can't bow our knee in church at an altar made to be knelt at, where else can we do it?
There was a time when the altar was so frequented that there were pillows placed there for your knees. But they were picked up a long time ago. I have heard many seniors complain about their whereabouts and how they wish for the "old days." But I don't see them kneeling anymore either. Yet inspite of our infrequent desire to take that walk, many will confess that they have met God at the altar. Simply by taking that walk, they have felt the Power of God move in their life. Something special happens when we move forward out of our seats, down an aisle, and on our knees. It's a way we speak without saying a word. When we go, we are saying, "I want more of God", "I need more of Him in my life", or "I can't do this without Him". But when we stay in our seats, we are saying, "not now I have somewhere else to be", "it's not for me I'm great", " or I don't need God this time".
In the Word of God an altar was built to remember God's blessings, to give thanks, and for atonement of sins. There is significance in the Altar. Here are just a few who built them to God: Noah (Genesis 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 12:7), Isaac (Gen. 26:25), Jacob (Gen. 35:7), Moses (Exodus 17:15), Joshua (Joshua 8:30-31), David (2 Samuel 24:25), and Solomon (2 Chronicles 4:1). After Jesus' death on the cross we don't have to physically build an altar and make a sacrifice because Jesus took that upon himself, however, we need to daily offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Those wooden altars in front of the church is a great place to do just that. It's a place where we choose to do Jesus' will over our own. Personally I never want to see the day when the walk to the altar becomes unfamiliar to me. I'm burdened for the day when those few steps become the way of the past. Let's not let that happen on our watch! Let's go there more often than we stay in our seats. Take the time.