Devotional: September 22nd
A number of years ago (that's a euphemism for, "Hey, I'm old and this happened a really long time ago) I heard a Southern Gospel song with the nifty title, "I'd Rather be Late at the Pearly Gates than Arrive in Hell on time." I used to really be a stickler for promptness from people who attend church services but have softened my stance over the years. Still, I remember the discipline that my mother and father instilled within me concerning getting to church early as we always arrived fifteen minutes before everything started.
Recently, I have been re-examining my stance. I have noticed that people who are habitually late getting to church never miss a tee time, never miss the first play from scrimmage, never miss the first note of a band concert, never miss the opening pitch of a ball game, never are late for...I think you get the picture. My home church used to come down hard on their Sunday School teachers who were not in their classrooms fifteen minutes early to greet their students, especially those who taught young people. It was urged as a sacred trust.
That's what I am urging right now. Consider the respect that you give your job, your friends, your children, your recreation and ask yourself this question, "Doesn't God deserve at least equal respect?" Then showing up on time for a church service should not be an issue. If the person who pays our wages deserves our timely attendance at work then shouldn't the one who gave His only Son for our sin debt deserve at least equal attention? I know, I know, it's tough to get up on a Sunday morning, but millions do it willingly.
Here comes the nasty part of this. I deliberately held off this email (yeah, I know, I missed two last week for which I offer my apology but no excuses or explanations [which always sound like excuses] ) just to see how many of you have gotten use to having it early in the morning first thing and might have been bugged that it wasn't there before 6:00 a.m. EDT. For the time that I have been doing these little thoughts for Study Light I have consistently presented them before 6:00 a.m. That means that I am up and showered before 5:00 a.m. I do that for you and for the Lord. I love you. But I only love because I love the Lord more.
Jesus once said, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 The words for love were not available to show the great disparity that Jesus wanted to show between the love for family and the love we must have for Him, so He chose to compare love for him being so desperate as to make it look like we hate our families when compared to loving Him. If we're on time for our families why can't we be on time for the body of Christ? That's if we love Him.
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