“I didn’t get a thing out of your sermon today!” That’s what a deacon’s wife told me years ago at the end of worship, and I understood why she said it. Let me explain why.
The church had a nursery, but it was hardly ever used. Members would say, “The way I look at it, the sooner you break in the young ‘uns to church, the better.” So instead of putting their toddlers in the nursery, they brought them to church. The only problem is that God did not make 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds to sit still for an hour.
One Sunday the spirit moved, but it wasn’t the Holy Spirit. The kids fidgeted, they cooed, they jumped up and down, and they fell off pews. And when they fell, they cried. As soon as one child stopped crying, another one started up. It seemed as if they were playing toddler tag team, and I was the preacher who was getting pinned to the mat. I tried to ignore the noise and focus on my message, but it was hard, because from the start to finish, my sermon was accompanied by the wails of the infants. Never before or since have I preached an entire sermon over the constant crying of babies, but I did that Sunday.
While crying babies can make it hard to hear from God, some people make it hard all on their own. Bucky Kennedy, pastor of First Baptist Church of Vidalia, tells how he has seen people cross their arms, look at their watches, and then say with their faces, “Bless me. You’ve got five minutes.”
One fellow even took out his watch, shook it at the Brother Bucky, and held it out as if to say, “Do you need a watch to know when to stop?” So the preacher took his own watch off and put it out of sight in his pocket, as if to say, “I’m not going to worry about the time.” Bucky said, “My Dad got mad at me for ignoring his watch like that.”
Which reminds me of a truth. You might ignore your earthly father in church, but you don’t need to ignore your Heavenly Father. Listen to His voice, and give Him time to bless you in worship. And put away your watch, because it will probably take more than five minutes.
(Copyright 2011 by Bob Rogers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read my blog at www.holyhumor.blogspot.com.)