Thoughts from me - a preacher's wife, farmer's daughter, mom, and nurse. Posts are mainly intended to help me journal the events of my life - topics will include kids, church, work, marriage, life in general,
and of course my dogs . . . and whatever else I feel compelled to write about.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Burger King v. Mom's cooking

After about the 5th or 6th time walking past the dining room table where Brian was sitting studying in preparation for Sunday, a thought occurred to me. I see Brian making preparations for Sunday all week long.

Usually early in the week I notice that the books in his library (a/k/a bathroom) change from what they were the previous week. Then throughout the week when he comes home from work, I notice that he deposits on the desk along with his keys a notepad where he has been writing down thoughts and scripture references. I have noticed that his Friday afternoons at the church are a time of physical preparation for Sunday as well as a time to pray for members as he straightens the sanctuary. And then I notice that it is usually Friday night that his thoughts even more focus on Sunday, and Saturday morning and late evening are then spent putting things on paper.

That's a lot of time invested. The thought that occurred to me today was, "How much time do I invest in Sunday?"

Do I spend time during the week praying for Sunday? Do I make sure that through the week I plow the fallow ground of my heart preparing it for seeds that will be sown on Sunday? Or do I just walk into church expecting God to speak to me through the message having done nothing throughout the week to prepare my heart to receive His word.

For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem.
Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns
Jeremiah 4:3

Sow with a view to righteousness. Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord. Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12

Beside that last verse I have written in my Bible, I must "examine my heart and have painful cultivation first" if I want God to work in my life. Have I had a time of painful cultivation this week?

It is possible to walk into a church where the Bible is being taught, listen to the message, and leave empty and no better off spiritually than you were when you walked in. It is also possible to walk into a restaurant where food is being served, sit down at the table and eat, and leave hungry. I know this because I have been witness to both.

Joel's English class went on a field trip to Kabuto's restaurant. I am not sure how an English class field trip to a Japanese restaurant ever got approved by the principal - but it did. Anyway, I gave Joel $10 that morning to buy his meal at Kabuto's.

When I picked Joel up from school that day, the first thing he said to me was, "Man, I'm hungry." "I thought you went to Kabuto's," I said. "We did," he said, "I just didn't like it."

Fortunately, he had the foresight to ask for a box and brought his meal home for Brian to eat for lunch the next day. But he had managed to go to a restaurant where perfectly good food was being served, sit at the table, pick at his meal, and leave the restaurant hungry.

Likewise, I have seen people walk into a church service where the Bible was being preached, listen to the message, and walk out saying, "There was nothing there that applied to my life." In other words, "I just didn't like it."

A popular complaint in churches today is, "I'm just not being fed." Often though, I don't think the problem is not being fed, I think the problem is not being fed what we like.

Church isn't like Burger King where "you can have it your way." Church instead is more like eating at home when you were a kid. Here's what I mean.

At Burger King you can look at a menu board and order what you want. If you don't feel like a Whopper you can have Chicken Fries or maybe you just feel like onion rings and a coke - it doesn't matter the choice is yours.

Eating at home when you were a kid meant you ate what your mom had prepared. When Joel was younger, he used to hate supper. No matter what I made he would usually complain and then ask if he could make oatmeal or a P/B & J sandwich. My response was usually, "No, but you can eat the peas, egg noodes, and salisbury steak that I made."

As a mom I try to make well-balanced, nutritious meals making sure that all of the food groups are represented, not too high fat, enough fiber . . . It may not always be what we want to eat, but it is usually what we need to eat.

It's probably a poor analogy, but pastors are kind of like moms in that sense. They preach what we need to hear which is not always what we want to hear.

Another reason why the "I'm just not being fed" mantra gets on my nerves is because it's so selfish. I think too many times we plop down in our favorite spot in church with the attitude of "feed me" when we have neglected to feed ourself all week.

Who is supposed to be feeding you anyway? You are! If you only ate once a week, you would starve. You must feed yourself - with daily Bible reading, study, and, of course, prayer. It makes an incredible difference if you pray before a worship service, asking God to speak to you, then expecting and listening for His voice. God speaks through even the driest sermons. Lyn Pryor - excerpt from Confessions of Church Hopper in Homelife Magazine, July 2007.

Instead of walking past Brian studying, I think I will sit down and join him in preparing my heart for Sunday. I will feed on God's Word and allow it to break up the fallow ground in my heart.

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