So the other day a guy I had been dating off and on for over a year invited me to a jazz outing. I was a little skeptical but at the same time I knew I needed to get out the house and be more than just mommy or the teacher or the woman with the big smile in the choir. So I went. I had a blast. It was so nice to be around so many professional black people dressed for their age and not acting immature. ghetto, ratchet or any other negative stereotype you can think of. The music was good. People were polite. Drinks were flowing freely which made the fact that people were nice and mature even more refreshing. I felt like I could just relax and not be on duty or call for service. What a release!!!
Well, as the night progressed and we were in the car, the guy asked if I ever wanted to get married? He then tried to explain why he had never come to church with me, not even to visit. He said he knew he was saved and believed in God. He had a problem however, with people who put pastors on pedestals and seemed to worship them over God. I responded that since he once told me that I make him feel good and he likes being in my presence, maybe it had something to do with what I was learning at my church. And as for people worshipping the pastor over God, he would and should come visit my church for himself before making blanket statements. That’s when he decided that I go to church too much. He asked how often did I go? I said three days a week typically. Sunday obviously, so that really doesn’t count to me. Tuesday because of choir rehearsal so again that’s not fair to count it because you have to go to practice when you are a part of something church or not. And then I go to bible study on Wednesday. That’s the only one I would really count.
But no matter, he felt is was too much. I didn’t know what to say. How do I respond? Was that really too much? I remember all the fights my parents had because mom would attend different services while dad was home or ding other things. I knew I never wanted that in my relationship. In fact, the fights in part turned me off having any serious relationship. Now here I was being told like my mother that I go to church too much. Well, my parents eventually divorced, not just because of opposing views on church attendance. And I too decided that me and this guy would no longer be together, even though I really did have fun at the jazz event. lol
The next day, I was still upset about the whole discussion. Should I have said something? Why didn’t I make an argument for my attendance? Why did’t I push back harder? God, why didn’t you show me this sooner or answer my prayers when I came to you wanting to know if I should give him a chance, could he be the one, should I change a little for the relationship to move forward?
I was still seething. How dare he say I go to church too much! What did he know? When was the last time he even went? And he had never even visited to make statements like he did.
I was so defensive and angry. I think I told everyone that came in contact with me. Then I did the math, I am a math teacher after all. Seven days in a week. 24 hours in a day. God’s word says to give Him your first fruits and tithe. I believe and have been taught that the first ten percent is supposed to come from finances, obviously, but also your time and talents. Well, let’s look at time. 24 hours in a day. So 2.4 hours or two hours and 24 minutes each day should be spent for His glory, praising and worshiping Him. Sunday, I definitely get that in since I attend two services but it still only amounts to just over three hours. Monday, there is no scheduled time where I go to church. Do I pray and talk to God throughout the day. Absolutely! Two hours worth, not sure, probably not. Tuesday…almost two hours at rehearsal depending on songs and issues that need to be addressed. Wednesday…hour and a half tops. The rest of the week looks like Monday.
So when you look at it quantitatively, I have truly fallen short of the ten percent of my time to Him!
Then I thought about how much I enjoy going to church. My church family is truly my extended family and I mean that sincerely especially since my immediate family is out of state. I laugh with these people. They encourage me and pray for me. They celebrate my highs and comfort me during my lows. During services, the spirit of God is so thick that I often wonder when the windows will bust because the building can’t contain Him. We have such a good time in services and during rehearsal. I have more fun there then probably any other place. When I am frustrated and sad or feeling weary, a prayer or song or sermon immediately lifts me and I’m smiling and dancing and so focused on God that I can’t even be sad or think about the bad. It’s almost like a wonderful escape or high. I think that’s part of the draw is that I want that feeling as much as possible. It’s like being an addict, though I have never been hooked on anything before. Truth be told, if I could I would go to church every day!!
You know what. Now that I think about it. I do go to church every day. The Holy Spirit dwells on the inside of me so every where I go, He is with me. I pray and talk to God. I play music and sing and dance along. Every day I do what I do at my place of worship. I even give hugs to people just like I do at church.
But back to the allegation…is this too much church? Is this too much when God has given me life? Is this to much when God sent His son for me? I was bought with His blood. I was redeemed and restored by His resurrection. His grace and mercy follow me each and every day. He calls me friend, daughter, beloved. He has prepared a place for me in eternity with the Father. He provides for me even when I don’t know where the resources will come from. He heals me when I am hurt and sick. He comforts me when I am sad. He carries me when I feel like I can’t go on. And even when I go against His word, He never leaves me. He forgives me and gives me another chance.
So am I spending too much time in church for my God who does all this and more? NO
The church is not a building. The church is every believer who calls upon the name of Jesus. We carry Christ every where we go. And judging by what I see in society, we need more church!!!