I saw a couple in a restaurant over the weekend. This young couple sat at a booth across from each other – and they weren’t talking or even looking at each other. Their food had not arrived, but they were both sitting with phones in hand – texting or surfing or emailing or playing a game or something – in silence. This silence went on for at least 5 minutes!
Now I know that I’ve done this plenty of times, but it does border on being rude to check your messages during a meal or conversation with someone. It shows a lack of focus and conveys that you’re looking for or expecting something more important to come along.
So… What does God think when I come to worship but I’m thinking about work stuff? Or when I pray and get distracted by other people or even my own tangential thoughts? Or when I choose to surf the Internet or the TV channels instead of reading His word?
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE to be comfortable enough to be silent with someone. It’s a sense of peace and contentment between two people that can’t be contrived, but comes from relationship and experiences shared.
But to be silent from lack of or misplaced focus? What kind of relationship is that? And it’s not honoring to the other person.
One of the songs coming up this Sunday morning is a great song of reflection on the holiness of God and our attitudes and motivation toward Him. It’s ‘Clear the Stage’ – here a link to YouTube and a few of the words:
Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love is an idol.
We must not worship something that’s not even worth it.
Clear the stage and make some space for the one who deserves it.
Cause I can sing all I want to.
Yes I can sing all I want to
I can sing all I want to
And still get it wrong,
worship is more than a song.
Exodus 20:3-5 The Message
No other gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God.
Mark 12:30 The Message
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Matthew 6:33 The Message
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Amos 5:10-15,21-24 (The Message).
People hate this kind of talk.
Raw truth is never popular.
But here it is, bluntly spoken:
Because you run roughshod over the poor
and take the bread right out of their mouths,
You’re never going to move into
the luxury homes you have built.
You’re never going to drink wine
from the expensive vineyards you’ve planted.
I know precisely the extent of your violations,
the enormity of your sins. Appalling!
You bully right-living people,
taking bribes right and left and kicking the poor when they’re down.
Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic.
Decent people throw up their hands.
Protest and rebuke are useless,
a waste of breath.
Seek good and not evil—and live!
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
being your best friend.
Well, live like it, and maybe it will happen.
then work it out in the public square.
Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
will notice your remnant and be gracious.
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.