Matthew 11:28-30 (New International Version)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
It's another "good-to-see-you" Sunday morning. A few more handshakes and I'll make it to my pew. "Doing great," I answer, a smile spreading quickly across my face. Lord, I hope these eyes don't give my thoughts away.
A kind word to the preacher, a hug to an elderly lady and I arrive at my familiar spot. I'm sure glad those visitors aren't in my seat again this week. Well, just look at that song leader, he wore that tie last week. Please Lord, not that same old hymn again. As I routinely move my lips to another favorite, I'm surprised to see a new couple walk the aisle and stand across from me. I hope someone welcomes them here today.
The man who grips the gospel gun stands behind the pulpit ready to fire away. It's time again. Only forty more minutes to go. "Let's pray," he says.
"Turn in your Bibles to..." My thoughts drift away. Where will I go this time? The deer woods? No, that was last Sunday. What's for dinner today? Hey, there's a bit football game tonight, I wonder who will win... I lose myself to one more day's indifference. The clouds start rolling in again as a fog covers my mind. Lord, if that baby doesn't stop crying...
Point number two, we're moving right along. I do wish those teenagers would stop giggling, though. They are going to distract someone. I've said it a thousand times before, if you're mind isn't on the message, God won't speak to you. A chorus of "Amens" break my concentration. "Preach it, brother!" I unknowingly say aloud. I like to be involved, you know.
It's five 'til twelve, he better start winding it up. Well, look who's in church today. It's about time she got back in church. I just hope it's not too late. "We're going to have a hymn of invitation," the preacher says. "Praise the Lord," I mumble softly. We bow our heads. "Let's pray," the preacher says again.
Well, I guess I'd better pray too. "Dear Lord, Mrs. So- and-So needs to repent. Show her the error of her ways. Help that preacher to start getting us out on time. Lord, thank you that I'm not like the rest. Amen."
That wasn't so bad. Wait a minute, why is everyone crying? Where are all of those people headed? What's happening here? "The Spirit is really moving this morning," the preacher announces. "Won't you come?"
I bow my head, ashamed I'm feeling nothing. I'm here, but my heart's a thousand miles away. I search my heart for signs of something that's long gone. "God is calling someone this morning to get their relationship right with him," the preacher continues. "Won't you come right now?" Is he talking about me? Should I go down there?
What will everyone think? Oh, I feel so empty. I need to go down there. I know something is missing. Something isn't right. Ok, I'll go...no, no, no. I'll wait until next week. Oh, no. Not another verse. Why is he dragging this out? Hurry up. I'm getting hungry. It's past time to go. "Invitation time is over. I hope you did what the Lord told you to do," he finally says. "Let's pray."
A few more handshakes and I'll make it to the door. "Have a nice day," I exchange pleasantries with a few people. Don't forget, Lord, send someone to welcome that new couple, I think silently.
"Good service, preacher. I really enjoyed the message. I can't wait until next week," I say with a smile on my face.
Praise the Lord, I'm walking out the door.
Christian, does what you have just read sound familiar? Does this article that I wrote about myself many years ago ring a bell? Maybe not all of it, but some of it?
What about it, friend? Are you headed for another "good-to-see-you" Sunday morning?
You can have your joy restored, you know. You can get your peace back. All you need to do is go before the Lord and ask Him to reach out and touch your heart.
Dear Lord we pray that our joy will be restored. We pray that we always have the peace that You can bring. In Jesus’ name, Amen.