The Lord is our God, and we are his people,
the sheep he takes care of in his own pasture.
Listen to Godâ€™s voice today!
8 Donâ€™t be stubborn and rebel as your ancestors did
at Meribah and Massah out in the desert.
9 For forty years they tested God and saw the things he did.
10 Then God got tired of them and said,
â€œYou never show good sense,
and you donâ€™t understand what I want you to do.â€
11 In his anger, God told them,
â€œYou people will never enter my place of rest.â€ Â Â Â Â Psalm 95:7-11 (CEV)
Does God go on vacation? I asked this question yesterday when my husband came home from the Bible study he attends every Wednesday and told me that the leader announced â€œwe won’t meet during the summer.â€ I am eternally grateful that God doesn’t take the summer off from caring for me! And this fellowship isn’t the only one who has significantly lower attendance during the summer and discontinues its â€œextraâ€ study groups and Wednesday night dinners, etc. Interestingly enough, the summer is usually the busiest time for youth and children directors as parents take advantage of free babysitting and activities that they hope are a better alternative than leaving their children home alone.
Do I sound cynical? Angry? Yes, I suppose I am but not in a self-righteous way. I am well aware of my own shortcomings in putting God in the #1 priority place in my life. This particular incident makes me see that as I point a finger at someone that three fingers are pointing back at me in a glaring way!
Summer is a time when spending time together as a family becomes a bit easier. There is no school. There are no band rehearsals and sports practices. It is a time for family to head to the beach or lake on the weekends. And I have no doubt in my beliefs that God wants us to spend time together as a family, laughing, encouraging each other, and building our relationships. It is His family, too. Which means to me that He would like to be a part of our time together. How hard would it be to share what God is doing in our lives while we eat our waffles and pancakes?
Why do the gospels show us that people of all ages, including children, loved hanging out with Jesus. What was it about how He spoke or what He spoke about that was interesting and relevant? Did the children and young people take their cue from their parents? Was what Jesus had to say come across as loving and encouraging instead of condemning and self-righteous?
What if instead of calling off Bible study and activities during the summer we made them fun?! As an example (and please do not hear this as a commercial!), there is a Bible study my husband and I published for women called It’s in the Bag by Kimberly Gordon for women that uses â€œstuffâ€ that we have in our purses as a jumping off place for a study and discussion. Like lipstick â€“ do beautiful words come out of your mouth or is it just a pretty color with ugly words? And next month, there will be one for guys, It’s in the Toolbox by Greg May. What happens when you leave your tools out in the rain and neglect to care for them? Is there some rust accumulating on your spirit due to neglect?
Have a bar-b-q or fish fry and invite the local Teen Challenge group or ask the local children’s hospital if you could have an evening of appreciation for all the nurses or maybe invite the local volunteer fire fighters. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just bring a double portion of baked beans! It’s not how much we spread out on the table for their stomachs but how much love we pour over their spirits!
Maybe have all the worship times without robes and ties and everyone wearing flip flops and sandals. And let the children sing and collect the offering and the youth preach! Why not? Jesus said our faith should be more like theirs so maybe we need to hear about their faith!!! So it’s not perfectly timed and polished like the â€œway we usually do itâ€ â€“ PRAISE GOD! I bet it will be better if we open our ears and hearts and get the prideful stick out of our backs.
God promised over and over and over that He does not sleep or slumber and He would not leave or forsake us. Let us not take that for granted and return that love by giving Him less because of our summer excuses.
Come Now is Time to Worship written and sung by Brian Doerksen