The clock read 6:45 a.m. I hit the snooze button and rolled over. The room was dark, and I was cozy under my covers. It was too cold to get up and out of bed. Nine minutes later, I did it again, telling myself I’d get up in a minute. But thinking of getting three kids ready for church already had me exhausted and my pinky toe hadn’t even hit the floor.
I closed my eyes thinking of reasons we should stay home. 1. I’m tired. I’ve been busy all week, and I can worship God from home… I never got to number two. I fell back asleep. But instead of waking up again in nine minutes, I was awakened from the light in my room and rolled over to look at the clock. 7:45 a.m.
7:45!!! I hit the floor running and jumped in the shower. Knowing Alan and I couldn’t both shower and get the kids ready and out the door in fifteen minutes, I convinced myself it would be fine for us to just make it to the worship service. We would just have to miss Sunday school this week.
No big deal.
At least that’s what I thought until I was having my quiet time the next morning. In 1 Kings, I read about Rehoboam and Jeroboam. King Rehoboam was ruler over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. His father was Solomon. Jeroboam was the ruler over the rest of Israel. The kingdom was split.
Jeroboam knew that if the Israelites journeyed back to Jerusalem to worship at the temple there, they were likely to turn back to God and move their loyalty to Rehoboam. In order to prevent this from happening, he made two golden calves and told the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (v. 28)
The people content not to travel all the way to Jerusalem began to worship the idols and offer sacrifices on the altars Jeroboam built. Worship this way was much more convenient. And out of their selfish need for convenience, they sinned.
This story struck me as I thought about not getting up for church. It wasn’t easy to rise early and get everybody going. I revered sleep more than God. I was no different from those Israelites who worshipped the nearby golden calves.
There are those in this world who walk by foot to the nearest body of believers to fellowship and worship the Lord. Others do it in the dark of night not to be discovered. I’ve heard of some who have memorized large chunks of the Bible, in order to carry the forbidden Word of God with them wherever they go. But it wasn’t convenient for me to get up for Sunday school. It was chilly, and I was tired. My excuses sound so shallow now.
When did ease become more important than respect and devotion?
Oh, God, forgive me. I have taken for granted the freedom I have to worship. Let me remember that coming into your presence is a privilege not a weekly ritual. Please don’t let me place the idol of sleep or convenience in front of You. Use me, Lord, in spite of myself. Draw me ever nearer. Create in me a need to seek Your face, not your hand. I love you. Amen.