“I won’t be back!” That’s what I told our pastor as we left church following worship this past Sunday. In his message he talked about Sabbath, restlessness, always checking our mobile devices, doing too much, always being busy, never slowing down, and a lot of other related things I found offensive. And I told him so.
I asked him why he didn’t just go ahead and call me out by name. I knew he was talking to me, and I told him I didn’t come to church to be convicted and challenged by him about the things he had addressed.
In the sermon he reminded us of when Jesus went off by himself early in the morning to pray and how Peter seemed to chastise him because everyone was looking for him (Mark 1:35). But that didn’t seem to bother Jesus. Our pastor also pointed us to a time Jesus invited the apostles to get away with him by themselves to a quiet place to get some rest (Mark 6:31).
As he neared the end of his talk he took us to Psalm 46 (a passage I was already quite familiar with). In my ministry I often used the opening verses at funerals about God being our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). I knew about the rejoinder in verse 2 that therefore we would not fear no matter how bad things got because God was still in heaven and active.
I also knew about the last verse of Psalm 46 and God’s call for us to “Be still, and know that [he] is God.” And God’s promise that “he will be exalted among the nations and in the earth” (verse 10).
What I don’t think I had ever done before was connect the first part of Psalm 46 with the last part—especially verses 1 and 2 with verse 10. Since “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” it seems appropriate that we would take the time, relax, and “Be still, and know that he is God.” Not only does that seem appropriate, I’m thinking it is also very important.
I’ve had a couple of days to think it over, and I’ve changed my mind about not going back. I’m going to go back. And I’m going to take to heart some of what he said on Sunday. But I hope he heard me: I don’t go to be challenged and convicted. Do you?
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