Monday, June 24, 2013
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You know, people in certain jobs end up being treated kind of like vending machines it seems like. Now, the state that I lived in for many years, we still had full service gas and we had gas station attendants. People just sort of drive up and grunt a couple of words to him, and then he would dispense his service, and people would drive off. Oh, of course, we did give him a little money. Waitresses—there's another one. And the checkout people at a grocery store. Well, you know what? I've got a little personal crusade to help these service people feel human again; to get them to talk. Now brace yourself...even to get them to smile sometimes. I feel like I've succeeded if they'll smile.
I was at the grocery store late one week night, and I said to the woman who was checking out our groceries, "Well, I'll bet you've had a long day today, huh? You almost done?" She said, "Oh yeah, I'm almost out of here, but it's been a long day." She said, "I've had a lot of crabby people! I thought it was Sunday today." That raised a question. I said, "Wait a minute. What did you mean you thought it was Sunday today?" She said, "Oh, we all hate to work Sundays. There are more grouches on Sunday here than any other day." And then came the observation that cut the most deeply. She said, "Yeah, most of them just came from church; they're the grouchiest of all." Ouch!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Sunday Grins or Sunday Grouches."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 10, beginning at verse 25. "Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. But let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching." Well, that verse is often applied to us getting together in our Christian meetings or Bible studies in church, and that's good.
The verse before it says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Okay. These verses seem to be saying there's a certain kind of result you can expect from Christians having been together. They're going to come out more loving, more encouraged, more encouraging, and doing more good deeds.
Unfortunately, there are too many arguments on the way home from church. There's too much selfishness on Sunday afternoon about "Hey, it's my day off! I want to do what I want to do." There are just too many grouches on Sunday.
I said to that checkout girl who had pointed that out to me, "You know, if you've just spent time with the Creator of the universe, you should feel pretty good don't you think?" She said, "Well, I guess a lot of them just don't look at it that way." I wonder if we don't get in a religious rut on Sunday and miss the purpose of the exercise? Maybe we even begin to resent the routine.
Some questions for coming out with grins instead of grouches on Sunday. Number one, "Did I touch the Lord while I was there?" Ask yourself that every time you're together in a Christian meeting. Did I touch the Lord? And that should not be dependant on how good the sermon was, or who preached, or whether the music was on key, or whether you liked the environment that morning. It's dependant on the attitude of your heart if you went in looking for the Lord.
Second question: "Did I leave with a mission or did I even go looking for one?" I mean, did you ask the Lord for something to do obediently as a result of something you're going to hear or feel during that service - a mission. Thirdly, "Did I encourage someone today?" Church can become very mechanical and almost useless unless we go looking for three things: go in looking for the Lord, determined to get more of Him. Go in looking for a mission - I'm going to leave here with something I need to do. And looking for someone to encourage; Lord, help me be a ministry to someone here today. Then everything afterwards: the trip home, the afternoon's activities, our treatment of the checkout girl. They all grow out of these discoveries.
After all, time in the Lord's house on the Lord's Day should at least produce the Lord's attitude.