“When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me…. I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your….appointed feasts; they have become a burden to me…. Even when you multiply prayers, I will not listen.” (Isaiah 1)
Often I pray at the beginning of a sermon, “Lord, help me not to squander Thy blessing, waste their time, or miss my opportunity!”
Let’s talk about the second of these: Wasting time.
We do a lot of that in church, I suspect.
We waste time in church every time we find ourselves:
–praising the God whose word you are flouting, pretending to adore the God whose will is the last thing you want.
–voicing hymns which express truths you do not believe and adoration you do not share.
–bringing pitiful offerings in place of something meaningful. Or even worse, bringing an offering while griping about pastors preaching on money.
–saying prayers by rote when your mind is a thousand miles away.
Our Lord said, “This people honors me with their mouths, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
Such worshipers are wasting their time.
If we’re not going to do what God tells us, then a worship service in which we say all the right things and act like we believe Him and believe in Him, is an exercise in folly. Jesus asked such time-wasters, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). Why indeed?
“Wash yourselves,” says the Lord in the Isaiah chapter 1 passage. “Make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Reprove the ruthless. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow.” Only then would their worship be genuine.
So many ways to waste time in church
When I asked some friends what they perceive as the biggest time-wasters in church, the consensus was that making announcements already printed in the bulletin ranks at the top of the list.
I’m not sure I agree.