This morning, I want to quickly talk about something that bothers me more and more as I get older. I can remember growing up in church where I was taught what it mean to honor God, and honor others in a worship setting. My church was strict and traditional, but they taught me what “proper behavior” is church is. Now, I say all of this understanding that times change, but I also say this knowing that God doesn’t. I believe that there is a proper an improper way to honor God in a church service without engaging in legalistic rituals that take the focus away from God and places it squarely on us.
Yesterday during church, my wife and I sat in the back for once, so that we could listen to the message. As I began to look around, I saw so many people, both young and old, with their heads down, and their fingers moving quickly. Cell phones. Social media. See, here is the conundrum. WE have cyber Bibles and note-taking devices on our phones and tablets, so the point where we don’t have to necessarily carry a journal and physical Bible with us to church, but along with that comes an entirely different set of problems. Young people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat instead of tuning into the message. Older people doing the same thing. Where is the honor? Where is the respect?
In the Old Testament, there are countless commands by God to the Israelites that they are to teach the younger generations the proper ways. Teach them the law. Teach them how to behave. Teach them to honor. He demanded that they not let the newer generations forget! I believe that somewhere along the way, we have begun to focus more on lights, music, and the things that bring people in, but less on what we do when we get there. Churches today are full of people who have not been raised in church. Praise God! That’s what He wants! But we can not assume that just because people come to our churches, that they know what honoring God entails. We, who know, are charged with teaching others not just the deep things of God, but the basics as well.
Put the phones away. Let’s find ways to engage our youth. If they can’t get with the message in “big” church, plug them into children’s ministry where they can be involved in teaching what they do know to those who have yet to get on their level. Talk about this stuff from the pulpit. God wants us to grow in Him. He wants us to know that He sees us in the likeness of Jesus. He wants us to know that our sins have been forgiven and that we who walk in salvation are now the righteousness of God. He wants us to know that we are blessed, chosen, adopted. But we can’t know that if our phones and other distractions consume our teaching time.
We need to get back to honoring God not only in praise and worship, but in EVERY area of our lives and our churches.
This might not be a popular message. I understand. But it’s on my heart, so I have to be obedient. You all have a blessed Monday!