How many of us have been asked at one time or another in our life, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I guess I should appeal to the adult readers and ask, “What do you do for a living?” The ultimate question that we as Christians need to ask ourselves is, “Do we do church?” Do we go to church because we feel it’s something to “do”? Do you go to church because you feel it is your weekly obligation to fulfill your Christian duty? Do you sit down, sing the songs, listen to the announcements, regretfully tithe your 10%, listen the message (which may or may not make you feel better about how you lived your life during the week), say hi to someone, and then head home feeling “accomplished”? For those of us who have been raised in the church, or have attended church for many, many years, can you identify with this? Maybe you’ve only been going to church for a few years or less and yet, you can identify with this as well. Maybe not so much on your own compulsion, yet you’re surrounded by many others who treat church within that context. Allow me to share a story about how we often treat our experience at church.
This past week, my family and I were going through our normal nightly routine at home. The kids had spent the day at school. They had been completing their homework and playing with their toys. My wife was cleaning up in the kitchen, and I was finishing a little light reading and preparation for work the next day. As I realized it was the kid’s bedtime, I set my book down, and gave the “all call” for our bedtime routine. The kids are to straighten up their toys, put on their jammies, and brush their teeth. My kids know exactly what to do, how to do it, and what mommy and daddy’s expectations are for their nightly routine. We have religiously taught them the same routine their entire lives. They know the consequences if they do not follow the rules, all the while understanding the benefits if they do what they’re told. So, I called out the signal with all the daddy-voice I could muster, “Kids! Bedtime!” Now, on average, it takes them about 10-15 minutes to complete their tasks before they hop in to bed. Having to share a bathroom between 3 kids can pose some issues. As I was allowing the allotted time to pass, I realized that something seemed very strange. It was very quiet upstairs. Every parent with small children understands the very conspicuous silence I’m referring to. Something wasn’t right. They either completed their routine earlier than expected, and had crawled in to bed, or someone was unconscious while the others were devising their alibis. So, I began my assent. As I reached the top of the stairs, I saw something that made me both angry and proud at the same time.
Instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing, my three children were sitting quietly on our love sac. My oldest daughter had her bible in her lap feverishly searching the scriptures while the other two watched and waited patiently. I observed for a moment before I asked in all my daddy anger, “What are you doing?! Why are all three of you disobeying me?!” The anger for disobedience overtook my pride in that my children were reading their bible. With the biggest puppy-dog eyes, my oldest decided to speak on behalf of the other two to explain their disobedience. She simply looked up at me and explained:
Daddy, we heard everything that you told us. We listened carefully to what you told us to do. We were so inspired by your encouraging words, that we wanted to break down just what exactly you told us to do. I wanted to search the scriptures to see what Jesus has to say about our bedtime routine. Dad, sometimes we think it’s hard and uncomfortable to actually do what you tell us to do. So, instead of doing what we were very clearly told to do, we just wanted to complete a word-study of what you said and discuss its importance to our lives. We hope we’ve honored you dad. Are you proud of us?
First of all, you can LOL. Especially if you have small children, you know this is not possible, and have probably added ROF to your LOL. Secondly, how many of us treat going to church this way? Do you go to church, listen intently to what your pastor is teaching, yet go out and do nothing with it? How many of us understand the importance of God’s instruction? How many Christians are extremely encouraged by scripture, yet are deathly afraid to put it in to action? It needs to be our intent to grow as Christians and live out what we truly want to be…Christ-like!
“We need to stop treating church as something we do, and start allowing the church to become who we are.” ~ Ryan Sharp
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” ~ Isaiah 58:6-8 (ESV)
This is my challenge to you AND to me. Join me by putting our faith in to action. Let’s live out the gospel and begin to change the negative perception so many have of the church today. Stop doing church. Be the church to the world around you!
God bless you! Rak Chazak!