Many years ago, there were decisions that had to be made, knowledge of certain consequences that would happen unless the correct decisions were made. This is the way it is….life I mean and growing up is a constant borage of choices to be made. Skort or shorts?…walk home or ride the bus with the mean kids? Go to class in college or eh… sleep in? Oops, I did way too much of that!
Dedication is a learned pattern, one that is necessary to live a life of fruitfulness. How hard is it to become dedicated…..REALLY HARD! Unless it’s fun! Then my dedication becomes like breathing. Being dedicated to eating sweets, got that covered; dedicated to sleeping all cozy, I got that covered also! Dedicated to a clean eating, no carb regime… shocker it’s a struggle! I have attempted to think what I am dedicated to besides the easy stuff and I find that even the hard stuff becomes easy once the dedication is in place.
My family is my life’s dedication. If I were asked at age 22 what I was going to be when I grow up I would not of thought this, a wife, a mother( of four!) a preachers wife even, small town life too. Never was even on my radar, or on the list of my life choices, at that point a steady boyfriend seemed a stretch, boys are dumb and had an agenda(sorry) but true. My head was in the stars and adventure was ahead, I never thought any different. Until that day I saw him… I knew I was doomed, smitten but became dedicated in my heart there and then, forever….for always. This was not a chore but a joy, I found my heart. Then dedication to our children was a slam dunk.. wow what a lovely way to live.. joy overflowing, I was a Mom now!
Other than those two areas of dedication I fall short on the small stuff, diet…exercise…world peace! There is only one other area I am faithful….dedicated. This is my relationship with Jesus…for which I have never faltered. Not to imply I am the perfect God-fearing Christian but I have not ever gone back on my love for Jesus and I will never. At 24 I realized my missing part. I did dedicate my heart to Him and this has guided me ever since. With that in mind the assembling my self with others…..attending a church service every week helps me to stay grounded. To connect in a real way to my Jesus and other people who feel the same way is encouraging and I became dedicated to church attendance then, before the preacher man became a preacherman! I wanted to be there… it was not a struggle! The struggle was hauling kids to church, spending more time in the nursery than in the service…but early on that was just the way it was.. it was my sacrifice to teach my children that this was important. I did not have this as a child, a hit or miss time or two or four but no real dedication to church. I was determined to lead my children towards Jesus, dedicated to serving God in whatever way was needed, I can’t carry a tune, can’t play a instrument (tone deaf ya know) but I could help in the nursery and eventually could teach kids and as often as possible do artsy stuff to help!
I was dedicated to being there, supporting my Pastor, my church, my friends… my Lord. If I believed (and I do) that the Lord has equipped me with gifts from the Holy Spirit then if I’m not there they will be missing, I have a place there, I am important to God, then why would I not show up? It was never an option that I entertained because I was dedicated… and I still am, not just because my preacherman would make me…the few times I have missed for sickness or our vacation I miss it. I have many faults, I fall short daily; you can set your clock by my mess ups… lack of memory or just not taking the time to follow thru or bad thought or the litany of stuff I strive to overcome still keeps me showing up. I could have church in my den in the recliner I guess, watching a TV preacher.. Nope! Not the same… nothing takes the place of showing up. I love y’all!
So forgive me for wanting to be frustrated with all who choose not to show up. Why? Do we just have to say..”well it’s the way of the world these day!” No no no not a good reason. The way the world is now should push us toward church and the Lord. It feels we have lost the dedication to be a good church member, the older generation has pushed this uphill for years and are now looking around wondering who will carry the mantle. I wonder also. Why don’t we show up. Maybe it’s too many choices of fun things to do or we work so much it’s just our need for a family day? The best thing for our families is to start the day at church. Probably not anyone clapping their hands for that one! I get it, I get it! I’m the queen of lazy but when I make the effort I am so happy I did. I never have to be sorry I didn’t do enough for my children’s lives, raising them up in the way they should go so that when they are old, they won’t depart from it. No guilt on that one.. plenty of other guilty mistakes but not that one.
Our church is not perfect and needs plenty of changes but I know that it takes the Holy Spirit and the church(that’s us!) to show up and allow Him to use us to do His will. If I’m not there my gifts will be missing, we all are important and can be used by the Lord to help someone else. I may be the one who needs the exact prayers that the ones who choose to lay out could be praying… is this too hard? Do I seem judgmental, not my goal but if I’m can be candid it breaks my heart. Corporate worship, small groups, Fellowship is what makes us a mighty army. Arms locked together in worship supporting our church, our Pastor; this will overflow into our city. I’m sure we could throw a rock and hit 50 people who have never known the love of Jesus. How will they know if we don’t tell them? My prayer is my church will wake up and choose to be present, to get to know me and the people sitting right there near us and open our hearts to knowing what ways we can serve.
My nearly five year old went to a children’s service this week and walked out the door and boldly stated..”I know all about Jesus!!” With excitement and joy… would to God I have the same joy each time I leave church, Sunday morning, Sunday night or even Wednesday Nite!! They are all important, all are an opportunity to get closer to the Lord, to be healed, to be found faithful and dedicated!