Sometimes we do things with the best intention but with poor thought as to the reason we are doing them. It’s funny too because we get so wrapped up in our own little worlds with the things we’ve created, that we don’t consider the fact that when things falter or even fail, it’s because we set it up to do so.
We all know someone, or have even been someone, who has all the intentions and hope of things getting better, but then a decision they make or decisions they’ve made in the past causes them to stumble. That’s what I call not being able to get out of your own way. You trip over yourself. You are headed for success but you are your own worst enemy.
This happens to individuals, families, businesses and churches all alike. Sometimes it just causes a stumble, other times a fall, and other times paralysis that leads to death.
One of the biggest mistakes and causes of this is getting defensive and digging your heels in on things that are arbitrary. You’ve arbitrarily decided to do something at a specific date and/or time and you won’t budge. Sometimes the decision was made well before you had a part in it, but you have the identity of whatever it is so wrapped up and around this thing that you think you wouldn’t consider budging. Most of the time too, we put extreme reason behind it so everyone who doesn’t agree with you or doesn’t do what you want them to feels guilty or gets hurt while you smile largely considering yourself better and winning.
The problem besides how silly the whole thing is, with the church, is a lot of times it’s a man-made thing. Sure we can say “Oh it’s for God,” but if you’re making a stand on things that God didn’t specifically say or reveal through the written or living Word, then under what pretense are you standing? That you are right? That people must not be as close to God as you because they don’t conform to something that you’ve arbitrarily decided? You are basically creating a barrier between God and people when you do this.
That’s the same thing the Pharisee’s did in Jesus’ day. They had created law upon law upon Law and then were eager to demonstrate how well they did, especially compared to someone else. Then if someone didn’t do as they expected, then they took every opportunity to make sure they knew how bad they were. The problem is that so much of it was man-made. Man was creating a barrier between people and God.
Jesus came and destroyed that. He said He was the Way and the Way to the Father was through Him. Not through adherence to these man-made laws. He called the Pharisees white-washed tombs because they only cared about the exterior rather than what was happening on the inside.
I don’t mean to make anyone angry, but unless you can find for me in the Bible or somewhere other than “That’s how it’s always been done” for a reason to have Sunday night service at 6 PM or even at all, I’m not sure what you’re standing on to get mad when either you don’t have service during the Super Bowl (or any big event) or when people don’t show up. If Jesus died so there was no more score keeping then why do we continually say “you must not care much about God if you didn’t do _____.”
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having a service on Sunday nights or even having it at 6 PM, but lets take a step back and recognize it for what it is. It’s a gathering at a time we’ve scheduled. God meets with us continually all day, every day. We set up meeting times to gather with believers. Nothing wrong with gathering, it’s Biblical. But why Sunday Evening? Why not Saturday Evening? Why 6 PM? Why not 3 PM? Or 9 PM? Probably because of convenience.
If you want to take a stand on something, do so about abortion, pornography running rampant, broken homes, lost people and the poor, sick, and dying who don’t know Jesus. Take a stand for the name of God when it is blasphemed and for the prayer. Take a stand on issues that matter… not service time. Not on carpet color. Not on seat arrangement. Not on music style. Not on length of skirts. Not on ways to measure ourselves against others. Take a stand against sin and for God. Not for man-made schedules.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with having service. There’s a potential for a lot of good. But when we use it as a measuring stick and way to beat down others, then we’re tripping over ourselves, and failing in our mission.
How many sinners are saved because we tell them they are worse than us? Are people drawn to Christ by us taking a stand on things that we’ve decided or on the truth and life found in Christ? Our success is measured only in how much Glory God gets from us.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. – Francis Chan, “Crazy Love”