Back to School...Back to ChurchAugust 23, 2016
If you do not have school age children then you will be surprised to see school buses out on the road beginning this week with school starting August 1st for most. Hard to believe that school is back in session. Hopefully all of you have had a good summer and am sure it was much like ours - very full with trips and outings but altogether too short. Whereas the summer months are chaotic, and frenzied with usually no set-schedule. The school schedule (although very busy too) begins setting a normal routine for much of life. With this we get into a groove of normalcy. Most weeks are generally the same which helps us to be disciplined people. As you begin that new schedule you will have many obligations, however I hope that you will make your church a priority on that list. Here is why…
Life is busy. You are busy. Your family is busy. That is a given. But we always have time for that which is a priority and is important in our life. If you have children in school - school is important and a priority. I guarantee that Monday through Friday you are going to be up early and out the door so that your children can be to school on time and not marked tardy. Same goes with your work – you are going to be there when you are supposed to for the sake of your employers or customers. If we are willing to do this for school and work but not for church, isn’t there a disconnect there? I’m sure you would not say that church is less important than work or school, but with our actions we often demonstrate that it is less important than those other things.
Carl Trueman in a recent article wrote this compelling and convicting statement:
Maybe the reason why our children have no love for Christ is due to the fact that we as parents do not show any love or passion for Christ, evidenced by how we prioritize our time both on Sundays and during the week. When television, sports, school, hobbies even family itself are elevated to a place of idolatry and replace the vital Christian responsibilities, then we tell our children that Christ is secondary to all these things. We tell our children that it is not necessary to take up your cross and die to yourself daily in order to follow Christ. We tell them that you only have to live for Christ when it’s convenient for you. We tell them it is okay to sacrifice time with all-satisfying Savior if something “more fun” or “more important” comes along (sarcasm indicated by quotation marks if you didn’t catch that). And this sounds like a clear path to apostasy if you ask me.
As your pastor I am not asking you to add one more thing to your plate – you already have enough. What I am asking is watch what you are adding and saying “yes” to because everything you add may crowd out something else – and church attendance and participation will never be the blinking-red light of need and therefore easily dismissed for other “needs”. However missing out on the preaching and teaching, the means of grace, and the fellowship of the saints you neglect your soul and the soul of your family by missing out on the good blessings that God intends to give you. And doing so for much lesser things.
As a kid my family was middle-class at best. We went on one or two vacations a year –usually to my grandparents’ home in Minnesota or Iowa. I played on a few sports teams. Ate out at restaurants only on someone’s birthday. By today’s standards, it was a pretty bland childhood. But every Sunday my parents had myself and my sibling in the pew of the church both morning and evening. To be honest I didn’t always enjoy it – and wished many times I could be doing something else. However through that weekly Lord’s Day priority the Lord regenerated my cold childhood heart and made me grow in appreciation and love for Him and His church. Looking back that was much greater than vacations, sports teams, or any other frivolities of life. That pattern set by my parents was set early on and that discipline was one the Lord blessed in my life.
So as you finish summer and enter into fall, it’s a new season to be reminded and renewed in a pattern of putting priorities first. Be committed to your church through your active attendance and participation – as a result you and your family will bless the Lord and be blessed by Him (Ps.134:1-3).