What Do Visitors See In Me?
When we are assembled to worship the Lord, to study the Bible, to remember ahd show the Lord's death, what do our visitors see in me? Do they see someone who is totally bored and uninterested in what is going on? If so, what is likely to be the level of their interst? At the very least, my apathetic attitude is likely to have a negative impact on their concept of the cause of Christ. Therefore, I must take heed to myself (1 Corinthians 10:12). I must strive to be a good listener (James 1:19). I must pay attention, and not allow myself to become distracted.
As the Lord's people, respect and reverence needs to be seen in us as we worship God. Do people see someone who is sleeping through services? What does it tell a visitor about the seriousness of our assembly if some adults sleep through services? Age (both the very youjng and the elderly) and medicine may make one susceptible to sleepiness. There may be thouse faithful ones who work all night and then, with dogged determination, come on to services and try their very best to concentrate on spiritual matters. We can excuse such folk, believing that the Lord does, too. However, do some of our people, especially older children, sleep during worship because they have stayed up too late on Saturday night? Parents, if we make our children go to bed earlier during the week because "it's a school night," why not see that they get their rest on Saturday because it is a "church night"?
Do visitors see someone laughing, whispering, passing notes, or playing with babies seated nearby? Our little ones, especially our grand-children, are almost irresistible! At times, they demand our attention and care, even during worship. May God bless young parents, especially our devoted young mothers, who are doing their best to worship while attempting to "subdue" a restless child and train a soul for heaven. Those things we understand. But, do visitors see me focused on everything except God and His word (Nehemiah 8)? In this passage of scripture, we read of Ezra reading the Law of Moses to the children of Israel. In Verse 3, we read that all the people's ears were "attentive" to the message that was preached. Is this a description of you or does "someone who is distracting to others" describe you better? Do they see me not paying attention to the gospel, but idly looking around at every other person in the assembly? If so, what impression does it make on their soul? It cannot be a good one.
Do you see young folks getting up, walking around, going to the drinking fountain, and the bathroom? Obviously, we know there are times when one must exit during a service. Aging joints and aching backs force some to get up and move around. Again, the Lord knows, and patient brethren understand. However, at an early age, youngsters need to be taught to get a drink and go to the restroom during the break between services. Unless there is a health problem, our youngsters can sit for an hour without getting up. Our young mothers do not disturb services when they take their little ones out. So, we are not discussing little ones who need to be disciplined, or who need extra care. We are speaking of those who wander in and out of services because they have not been taught to sit up, pay attention, and act like a young lady or a young man. Are children allowed to get up and get a drink, and go to the bathroom during a wedding or a funeral service? No, because we know it is not polite, and they it will disturb the ceremony. Then, why not have the same respect for the worship of our Lord and for the study of His word?
By Jason Trick via Old Paths Vol II No. 29 July 22,2007
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