At our church, we regularly remind people to turn off cell phones in worship. Nevertheless, cell phones can go off at the most inopportune times, even during funerals. Once, I was giving the invitation at the end of the service, when a cell phone rang. I asked the congregation, "Are we as quick to respond to God as we are to a cell phone?"
On one particular Sunday evening, a cell phone went off that I never expected. Normally, before the service begins, I take my cell phone off my belt, turn it off, and give it to my wife to put it in her purse. But for some reason, I forgot to do that. Thankfully, my phone is always set to vibrate, so it never rings. But in the middle of my sermon, I suddenly felt my left hip vibrate. I could hear the gentle "
bzzz" sound. I tried to ignore it, but the"bzzz"
continued. I often make a habit of walking among the congregation as I preach, and at that moment I was standing near the front pew, just
inches away from some of the people, and I was sure they heard the "bzzz" too.
What should I do? I could continue to ignore it, but it was distracting me so much that I couldn’t concentrate on my sermon. So I stopped preaching, reached down, slipped the phone off my belt, and threw the phone down on the front pew, while saying, "My cell phone is going off." After a few chuckles from the congregation, I went on and finished my sermon.
After the service, several people said, "We would never have known your cell phone was going off if you hadn’t said anything." True. They didn’t know, but I knew, and I couldn’t think straight until I got rid of it.
What do you do when you get a sudden call during worship? Acts 2:38-39 says that the promise of forgiveness of sins is available "for all whom the Lord our God will call." So if the call is from God, you’d better answer it. But if it’s a distraction from the devil, you’d better get rid of it. Wisdom is in recognizing whose ring tone you are receiving — or who is shaking your hip.
(Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)