When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools.
Getting to church on Sunday morning can be such a hassle that we get very little out of the experience and begin to wonder, “what’s the point?” This week I am showing you from Ecclesiastes, how we can get to church, get over the hassle, and get to something great! Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s dissertation on how to avoid a meaningless life. In Ecclesiastes 5 Solomon shows us how to avoid meaningless worship. To see the introduction to this week’s series of posts, see Worship Mindset #1, Careful.
In Ecclesiastes 5:4-7, Solomon says that God takes no pleasure in a fool who makes a vow but never follows through. He then makes a curious statement. “Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake (v. 6).” What does that mean? Who is the messenger?
The messenger is someone who holds you accountable. This could be any number of people in your church. It could be your pastor, a teacher, a ministry leader, a member of a study group. The messenger is anyone to whom you make a commitment or to whom you have an obligation.
To go before the messenger and say “that it was a mistake” describes the actions of a person who apologizes, but really never does what they committed to do. They hate that they missed, but they had a good excuse. You can’t count on them. They lack faithfulness.
The Washington Post reported that according to CareerBuilder.com, Americans are great at making excuses. In explaining why workers were late to work, 51% of late arrivals blame traffic, 31% say they overslept, and 28% blame the weather. Some of the most ridiculous excuses include, “I was here, but I fell asleep in the parking lot.” “My fake eyelashes were stuck together.” And here is a great excuse, “I had morning sickness.” Morning sickness s
College students are killing off family members with their excuses. A professor noted that there seemed to be a rash of family deaths amongst students when papers were due and then just before final exams. The relative most likely to die during exams; grandma!
According to this professor’s investigation, grandmas were 10x more likely to die at midterm and 19x more likely to die during final exams. Students who were failing were 50x more likely to lose their grandmas! It seems that the key indicator of mortality amongst senior citizens who have grandchildren in college is GPA! It seems that if you have grandchildren in college, you may want to invest in a tutor.
Sometimes when it comes to getting to church, it’s a lot easier to just make excuses. That is especially true if you have positions of service or leadership. Sometimes a long week, coupled with that Sunday morning hassle makes it much harder to get there and much easier to make excuses.
So how do you get there and get over it? Try motivating out of an attitude of gratitude rather than guilt. Instead of thinking, “I’ve got to do this” have the mentality that “I get to do this.” I don’t have to get to church. I get to go to church. I don’t have to listen to a sermon. I get to listen to God’s Word faithfully preached. I don’t have to go to worship. I get to go to worship!
As sinners there should be a sense of guilt as we realize we stand condemned before a holy God. But if we know Christ as Savior, there should be an overwhelming sense of gratitude. How do you get to church and get over it? Be faithful. Fuel your faithfulness with gratitude. You don’t have to go. You get to go.