I'm not the type to throw my children under the proverbial bus simply because they make great sermon illustrations.
Wait a minute...yes I am! So here we go again...
My children, in some areas, have joined a long list of people who have uttered the words, "But we've always done it that way!" Their specific dilemma was when their mother chose not to sit in the same pew that we often frequent. She thought it was a minor decision, until she heard the great outcry that resembled a great heresy whispered in the Holy of Holies.
People that attend our church may wonder if my family is part of a yearlong experiment in which we measure which pews in our sanctuary are more comfortable. Of course, I'm not saying this would be unnecessary. Think of some of the questions that could be answered by such a study.
- Which pew has a better angle for hiding from the pastor when he's looking for you?
- How far front does one have to sit before there'll no longer be tall people directly in front of you?
- Which pew smells so bad it actually causes you to speak its name?
- Perhaps most important, which one has the most padding for my comfort?
Although, some things would be obvious. For instance, everyone knows the farther forward a pew is, the more padding would be left in it, because most people dart for the back rows. My theory is that they must be afraid to have a little too much Jesus spill on them if they are up front. It's sort of a Holy Spirit splash zone up front.
But the reason my family moves around is to keep our children from claiming a particular pew as their own. It's an important lesson, but not the last we are teaching our children. We listen intently to the sermon because we can learn about God from the pastor's teaching. We give money to support the work that brings glory to God. We read and pray and respond, not because we're in the mood that particular Sunday.
We also discuss how singing is an act of worship we give to God, not because we like the selected song. It's something we do for God, because He is God.
A couple of years ago, our church preschool had a very special young student. Maddux was physically blind, but after one small conversation with him, I knew he had eyes that could see what many of us are blind to. While entering the Sanctuary where the rest of the children were already practicing a song, Maddux declared, "I bet Jesus really likes this song."
I imagine we should all be spending more time thinking about what Jesus likes than what we prefer.