As a community we have been spending our gatherings diving into the book of Ecclesiastes, letting the Preacher’s reflections saturate the thought processes of our souls. The Preacher has been begging us to ask the questions we tend to shirk away from. This week we were force to wrestle with what it means to be a reverent people.
We live in a world of “easy come, easy go” (no I was not listening to Queen while writing this post, promise) where it’s so easy to go through the motions, not giving God our best, but offering Him actions and time with little or no thought. We live lives where our actions and heart seldom intersect. Easy we come to our Father and easy we go, without ever encountering substance as we settle for a relationship of vanity and empty religion.
Sure, we may do a good job of fooling ourselves. Our prayers are long. We arrive to church early and leave last. We go to Life Group, we even participate and tell people in our community how “we’ll pray for them this week”, but we never actually do. After all, no one will ever know and what else are we supposed to say anyways – isn’t it the answer that matters, not what we do with it? We pray when we need things and only open up the Bible when life is hard. But, we look real good, as long as people don’t ask too many questions.
Lack of reverence is often something not perceived by the naked eye. It can be subtle and pervasive, hiding itself from our own eyes until we are forced to be introspective.
I say this because there are so many parts of me where irreverence fills my bones. I am guiltier then I care to admit. So many times I rush through the spiritual motions so I can scratch those things off my religious checklist – I completely miss it. I look good on the outside, but on the inside, I’ve completely missed it.
How often is it I speak without first hearing and receiving? How much do I say things I have no intention of actually falling through on? How is it I can be so careless, so irreverent with my speech and not live out the words I utter? How do I manage to treat God as if He were a cosmic vending machine? Why do I constantly try to act as if I can do enough things to earn God’s favor?
I want my life to be one of authenticity. I long to see my life be one which constantly walks in reverence, for every thing under heaven or the sun deserves my best. Those inside our walls need to see vulnerable, authentic people so we can understand we are not alone and those outside our walls need to see vulnerable, authentic people so they can understand this Jesus is worthy.
How could we penetrate the heart of North Orange County with a posture of reverent authenticity for the sake of the Kingdom?
So, I’m hoping that through all this I’ve let my words be few, so maybe, for a little while, vanity will not reign.
- Jonathon Welch