Monday, August 2, 2010

A Retired Preacher's View from the Pew

On an early morning call a vet drove by a friend’s place and noticed he had herded his pigs into the front yard and they were eating apples that had fallen. Several days later when he drove by the farmer was picking up each of the pigs and holding them up to pick an apple from the tree.

An hour later when he drove back the farmer was lifting the last pig to get its apple.

He stopped and asked, “Fred, what are you doing?”

Fred, “The pigs liked the apples that fell to the ground so much that they ate them all, so I’m lifting them up so they can get them off the tree.”

“Isn’t that a lot of work, Fred?”

“I need the exercise.”

“But doesn’t that take a lot of time?”

“Just a couple of hours every day. Besides, what’s time to a pig?”

My Dad hated to get anywhere late, but especially church services. He would rather have been fifteen minutes early than one minute late. His feeling was that it’s pretty inconsiderate to make people wait for you when you’re late. (Yes, there are times it can’t be helped.) His attitude rubbed off on me.

Unfortunately, it’s not that way with everybody. But did you ever notice, often it’s the same people who are late over and over? There are some folks who will probably be late to their own funeral.

I have always considered the time we share worshipping together as one of the most important times, if not the most important time of the Christian’s week. If, as the Pastor, I didn’t think that, why would my parishioners? That time of corporate worship, whether it’s an hour or two hours, is precious, as is all our time.

Consider that the person who works all week takes the time to worship out of their free time.

Consider the farmer or the vet or the doctors and others who are “on call” 24/7. Consider the people who take time off from their job to attend church. (We know a lady who’s a really good cook in a small restaurant who takes time off from her job to go to church every Sunday. It was part of the agreement with her boss.) How about the Dad and Mom who work all week and on Saturday have to get all the shopping and chores done that keep the household running?

We sometimes attend a church which starts late so often that “late” has become “on time“.

Sometimes it’s only two or three minutes, more often, five or more. There might be a hundred people in their pews ready to go, but they all are expected to wait while the powers that be take their time getting their act together. While they’re taking their own time, they’re taking the time of the people waiting for them, too.

David wrote in the 29th Psalm:
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.

More importantly, what does it say about us and our attitudes toward the glory and splendor of God and worshipping Him when we can’t even start on time?
Allen Geil is a retired pastor/teacher/hog farmer who lived in Nebraska for 18 years and now lives in Missouri.

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