A Christian minister, frustrated with lack of interest and attendance, cancels all weekday services and programs. Amusing, yet brutally honest:
(hat tip: Leman)
Anyone in ministry can relate to this. I've been involved with a Hebrew Roots congregation for a few years now, and I've seen this first hand: Yeshua's disciples are busy doing things unrelated to discipleship. So busy, in fact, they have no time for study, prayer, meeting together.
Toward this point, Dr. Schiffman relates a story and offers poignant, piercing insight:
We host a Chavurah [fellowship] in our home on Shabbat afternoons. When people come, it’s always a blessing and encouragement. Their commitment encourages everyone else who comes. When people blow it off and give excuses why they didn’t come, we always understand, but it sends a message that they didn’t value the gathering enough to show up.
One afternoon, we were preparing for the upcoming Chavurah meeting after a week when only one couple showed up. My wife expressed that this was a lot of work if no one was coming. I encouraged her to do this as service to God and not to worry. That Shabbat, eight people showed up, and the one following that, we had almost 20. People showing up was a tremendous boost, and made our service for HaShem more of a blessing. Diligence means being there. Sending regrets only produces regret. For this reason, I alway make it a point to visit people in the hospital, and go to weddings, Bar Mitzvot, and funerals. It lets people know I care and that I value them. If you don’t really care, you don’t show up. It’s a ministry of presence.”
That is, if you are too busy for community with Yeshua's disciples, you're making a subconscious prioritization; prioritizing your busy life ahead of Messiah service.
Can't make Bible study because you're too busy with work? That means you're valuing work over study.
Can't fellowship with others because it's a 45 minute drive? That means you're valuing your time over fellowship.
Can’t go to service because you’re too busy? You’re valuing the things you’re busy with more than services.I understand these problems. I have them myself: For the whole month of February, 2012, I've been working 50-60 hour weeks per request of my employer. Here's what my day looks like:
- Get up at 7:30am, shower.
- Get my 3 year old daughter breakfast, maybe change her diaper and get her out of pajamas and put an outfit on her.
- Get my 12 year old son into the car and drive him to school.
- Drop off my son and drive to work. 45 minute drive without traffic, 1 hour with traffic.
- Get to work around 9am.
- Work for 8-12 hours.
- Leave work between 6pm-9pm.
- Drive home (45min-1hr).
- Get home between 7pm-10pm.
- Spend a little time with the kids if they’re still awake. Put them to bed.
- Crash+veg+zonk out on the couch, totally exhausted.
And that’s just what my day looks like. When all that’s done, I’m busy with more stuff at night:
- Mondays I work on personal software projects like Chavah, MessianicChords, and BrachaBits (coming soon!).
- Tuesdays I pick out music and practice songs on the guitar for the upcoming Shabbat service.
- Wednesdays I choose to get out of the house and exercise. I play men’s basketball. Exercise is important, because my job doesn’t involve physical labor. It’s a matter of health and state of mind.
- Thursdays is arrange and print music sheets and lyrics for the congregation
- Friday, of course, is Erev Shabbat. It’s when our congregation holds services. So I’m out Friday night.
- Saturday, then, is Shabbat. Thank God for Shabbat. I sleep in as late as possible; after all, shabbat’s foremost commandment is rest. After a exceedingly busy week, rest (and sleep!) is exactly what I need. I do zero on Shabbat. Saturday night is busy, however, as my wife volunteers at an animal rescue, so I’m responsible to watch the kids. We usually do fun stuff like walks or games, though, so it’s not bad.
- Sunday, I try to clean up the kitchen, spend some time with the kids, and relax.
Doing anything outside of this means taking away from what little, precious free time I have on the weekend. So if you want me to do something, meet with people, go to some service, it’s a hard sell.
I totally understand why people don’t go to service.
But at least I’m not spurring service; 3 nights of my week are spent doing service. I choose to do those things for service to the Lord, and for righteousness growth in my own life.
But for some, service has been completely eliminated from their lives. I can see how it happens. Replaced it with any the other things vying for your precious time.
The world has evolved, such that many occupations today are non-physical. Lot of white collar jobs in the US. You’d think that’d mean we’d have more free time. But in reality, we’re just busier with other stuff. Caught up with work, and projects, and family, and outings, and other stuff that eats our time.
Let’s be honest, here, let’s not lie to ourselves, let’s be real: if you’re not making time for service to the Lord – prayer, going to services, or just meeting with other believers – then you’re valuing your work, projects, whatever, over that service to the Lord. You’re choosing those things over God.
I don’t blame the Christian minister for cancelling everything. Too many people have scheduled themselves out of availability. They have no time for God.