I stood at the deli counter awaiting my number to be called, when I noticed a vaguely familiar face. After mutual recognition set in the conversation flowed easily around the obvious subject.
“How’s your Summer going so far?”
“Good, good-Great weather, huh?”
“Looking forward to the beachy days ahead.” and “The tourists are taking over, but that’s the price we pay for living in such a beautiful town.”
I then, smiling, said “So, see you at church, next time!”
“No, we’re taking the Summer off.”
I mulled this around a bit, and listened as this young person explained to me the reason they believed they needed to “take a break” from church.
I think God held my tongue for me, because I stood there speechless and mystified.
Stay with me here.
I’m married. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a steady ride into uncharted waters. There are days of tedium: deck scrubbing, rope hoisting, sweeping, cleaning, cooking days under a never-ending sun. There are days of bliss, gazing at the horizon, dreaming, remembering, and laughing, blue skies above and full speed ahead. Sometimes I’d like to capsize the boat, or throw the Captain overboard. But, I know that I’m married. The waters may be rough, the weather may change, but we continue to sail on. If we sink, it will be together. If we soar, it will be together. For better or worse, smooth sailing or rough seas. If the ship goes down, we’ll grab the lifeboat. If the lifeboat sinks, we’ll cling to one another. There’s no turning back, once the course is charted. After all life ain’t the Good Ship Lollipop. And marriage ain’t for the uncommitted.
All I know about marriage, I’ve learned from the Spirit of God. From the Word of God. From the mouth of the Lord.
What’s THIS got to do with THAT?
Quite honestly, there are no breaks from marriage. It’s a forever kind of thing. At least that is what God’s intention was…and IS.
The proud religious law-keepers came to Jesus. They tried to trap Him by saying, “Does the Law say a man can divorce his wife for any reason?” He said to them, “Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.” Matthew 19:3-6
The fact is as Christians, you’re either all in, or all out. It’s been that way since the Garden. There’s no middle ground. I understand someone needing a break from something that is burdensome. But, our walk with the Lord is not burdensome. If it is, chances are, it’s basis is religion and not relationship. Jesus came to connect us and complete us to and in Himself. It’s a one time reality and ongoing relationship that leads to a continuing journey. Like the Never-Ending Story, in real life.
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” Matthew 5:17
There’s danger ahead for Christians. I am here to give fair warning. The danger is not in the Supreme Court rulings, Washington, CNN, Fox; not even your obnoxious Facebook feeds, or your favorite trendy coffee shop. The danger is not in open water, or Macy’s Summer sale.
But, it could just as easily be in any and all of these, even though chances are it won’t be.
The danger is in the lazy days of Summer that lead to spiritual complacency.
Summer is not the time to let your guard down, friends. Granted, you can enjoy the seasons, but the seas are swarming. These are dangerous times. We as Christians cannot afford to trust others to spoon-feed us God’s Word. Christian, you need to be swallowing your own portion regularly! We must not be distracted, lazy or indulgent.
Batten down the hatches. All hands on deck! Secure the ship!
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 2 Timothy 2:15-16
So what will it be, Mate? Rightly handling God’s Word, or drowning in a sea of godless chatter?
The choice is yours.
Oh, and as far as that sweet soul who thought it wise to abandon ship in Summer? She hasn’t made it back to the ship or safely to shore yet.
Enjoy the Summer and Dive in to Scripture reading, Bible Study, Prayer, service in and out of the church building. Love, serve and encourage those around you- wherever you are; pull those who are drowning aboard, throw them a Faith life jacket, Don’t let the sharks scare you. Their teeth are big, they are murderous, and scary…but we have a Captain who is bigger, and more gracious then any gaping mouth that dares swallow us.
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. Isaiah 40:10