Thursday, July 25, 2013
Thankfully, God Isn't Addicted to Abbreviating
Dating? Use an abbreviated method - speed dating! Or, eHarmony. Getting lucky and meeting someone great at the grocery store or laundromat just takes too long. And, well, we don't even need to do those things anymore. Groceries can be ordered online and delivered. Laundry can be done in your home... .or just go online and purchase new clothes.
Some of this isn't the best way to do things. Some of it is more convenient. But the one thing we seem to abbreviate the most - and the one thing we shouldn't be abbreviating... God.
Nearly a year ago, I went to our church's women's Bible Study group. The women complained before the pastor showed up, and after he left, that the study always went too long. He sometimes let these Bible studies go for almost one and a half hours! They knew he would be leaving town before the next Bible study took place, and so they started talking about how after he was gone, the studies would only be 30 to 45 minutes.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How can you adequately get any kind of Bible study done in 30 minutes... and only meeting once a month? I never went back. I knew that 30 minutes once a month truly would be a waste of time for me because it was too abbreviated for me to get anything from it. Instead, I spend those evenings reading scripture, writing blog posts, researching theologies and doctrine. And I spend a lot more time than 30 minutes on it... and I do it much more often than once a month.
I also hear a lot of people complaining about the sermon and/or service taking too long. If the sermon goes over 15 minutes, complaints abound. If the service reaches an hour, complaints come flying. Now, I will admit to complaining once - we had a gentleman step in while we were between pastors, and his sermon one week was getting close to an hour long. But, at least it was a good one, with a lot of sustenance.
That's what I want. I don't get anything from a 10 minute feel-good sermon. I don't like abbreviated services just so we can all get home to our abbreviated lives. I want the lengthy, meaningful sermon. I want the personal and long prayer. I want moments of silence that last more than 2.3 seconds. I want communion. If the service lasts two hours - so long as those are two hours of honest worship of Christ - than I'll take the two hours.
Seriously people... what if God treated us with the same lack of importance we place on Him? What if He abbreviated the time spent with us, comforting us, helping us, listening to our prayers? What if He abbreviated how much Grace and Love He gives and feels for us? What if he abbreviated how much He forgives us?
It's time we all take true time with God - with worshiping Him, praising Him, praying to Him, loving Him, honoring Him. It's time we stop abbreviating our time with Him.