On Being On Time For Church
The following by Pastor Buddy Smith of Malanda, Queensland, Australia, is from his e-publication “Heads Up!” March 7, 2011 (firstname.lastname@example.org) --
A traveller once stumbled across a little church in a remote valley, Since he was a Christian he paused to read the sign that hung from a tree limb. To his surprise, he read that the church met for worship on Thursday at 2:45 PM. Now it just so happened that the day was a Thursday, and the time for worship was approaching, so the traveller sat down in the shade of a tree to wait. His curiosity was aroused as to why they would choose such a strange time for their worship service. After a short wait he observed an elderly man approaching whom he assumed to be the minister. The man unlocked the door of the church and went inside.
At first, the traveller thought he would go and ask him about the unusual time for services, but decided to wait until some of the church members arrived.
The starting time for the service came and passed, and no one else appeared. Finally, about 20 minutes late the members began to arrive, and before half an hour passed the building was quite full.
When the song service began, the traveller slipped in through the door and found a seat. As he sang the hymns he wondered what possible event, or Scripture verse, or denominational decree would have caused them to change their day of worship from Sunday to Thursday. This question continued to trouble him through the service. He didn't hear anything strange in the sermon, and didn't have a clue why they met at such a strange time until they had sung the last hymn.
The preacher then announced the service time for the coming week. He solemnly informed the congregation that worship would begin at 3:15 PM next week.
The traveller was more perplexed than ever. He wondered if the service times were changed every week, and determined that he would just have to ask the old preacher. He waited until everyone had gone, and when the preacher came out to lock up, the traveller approached him with his question,
‘Brother, I hope you don't mind my asking, but I'd really like to know why the church meets on a Thursday, and why the service next week is half an hour later than this week's service.’
The old preacher closed the church door and turned the key in the lock before he replied,
‘No, it's okay if you ask. You see we used to have services on a Sunday like everybody else, but our folks just couldn't seem to come on time. I tried for years to get them to be punctual, but they didn't respond to my pleas. So, I finally decided I would let them choose the service times. If they wanted to be half an hour late, then that would be the time we would start next week. And so our meeting times have gradually crept later and later until now we meet on Thursdays. And that's why we will meet half an hour later next week.’
The traveller was so shocked by the answer that he never even noticed when the old preacher left for home. And then it dawned on him that he had been guilty of arriving late for church week after week. And he saw that he had allowed trivial, foolish things to have priority over his worship of God. And he wondered what would happen if all the churches changed their service times to accommodate the latecomers.
What do you think?
Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
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