Word for Wednesday… Acknowledging
Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care--but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.Isaiah 1:3
They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties--lyre and harp, tambourine and flute--but they never think about the LORD or notice what he is doing.Isaiah 5:12
I see them every Sunday, on my way to and from church, mowing the grass, washing their car, going for a run…basically doing anything and everything besides going to church, and I immediately make an assumption about them. I know it’s wrong; it’s just my gut reaction, which I blame on being brought up in a denomination with a legalistic emphasis on rule-following. I assume that they, like the Israelites Isaiah was speaking about in the passages above, don’t acknowledge God and all he has done for them, because if they did, they would be going to church and worshipping him instead of doing whatever it is they are doing.
Nearly all of these people I am seeing on my way to and from church I have never met, so I really have no right to judge how spiritually-inclined they might be. Plus, it’s usually very early when I head to church, so it’s possible they still plan to go and just haven’t gotten ready. Maybe their car is broken and they plan to use their lawnmower to get there. Maybe they are Catholic and attended Mass on Saturday evening. Maybe they are in quarantine, or not feeling well, or not comfortable in large groups on account of Covid, and plan to watch a livestream of a service later. I really have no way of knowing what their reasons are. Even still, when I see them I’m reminded of a comment someone made to me in the first church I pastored, “I don’t understand why people can’t set aside one hour on Sunday morning to thank God for all he has done for them.”
Years ago, our society used to collectively recognize Sunday as unique among the days of the week. Even among non-religious people it was sacred. Many businesses were closed, alcohol wasn’t sold, sports’ practices and games were not scheduled, and things like mowing the grass, or shooting a gun were frowned upon. Today, that is no longer the case; Sunday is just another day for most people. There are unfortunately many legitimate reasons why a committed Christian may have something other than church that they must attend to at 11:00 on Sunday morning. Churches can certainly do their part to accommodate people’s schedules by doing things like changing service times, or offering services on different days of the week. But individual Christians also bear some responsibility in making worship a part of their weekly routine. Really, our goal should be to acknowledge God and thank him daily for all that he has done for us. Someone who drives by your house a couple times a week is not in a position to assess what your relationship with God is like, but someone who knows you well can fairly easily determine whether or not God matters to you by how often you set aside time to worship him.