When I was a boy growing up, I could not wait to go to church. Our family lived about thirty-minutes from our home church, and in those days, that was a long way to drive. I remember waking up early on Sunday morning, so we could all get ready in time. The preparation began on Saturday night. First, we had to get a bath on Saturday night (that was my least favorite part of the Sunday preparations … I was a normal boy). The next thing that happened would be the time my mother would lay out our clothing on that Saturday night, for the next morning. Sock must match pants, and suit coat, and tie. Shoes were shined in preparation for the big day.
On Sunday morning, we woke up to Christian music being played on the record player. We would quickly dress and descend from the third floor to the kitchen for breakfast, all the while listening, and humming along to the songs being played. There was no TV allowed on Sunday morning … we were preparing our heart for church time. The ride into church usually involved singing children’s songs most of the way along that thirty-minute drive. We always arrived early, because my parents were Sunday School teachers, and we needed to set up chairs, and prepare for the day ahead. All of these things were very exciting to me as a boy.
Vacation Bible School, revival meetings, special musicians coming through, one-week, or two-week long meetings, Sunday School picnics, softball games, and tent meetings were all very exciting to me. As I look back on the time I spent growing up in church, I realize that God was using all these things to be life-changing events that have shaped me to the place I am today. I hear people speaking about going to church today with boredom in their voice, and not anticipating the time at all. Perhaps that is because they are not going to church for the right reasons.
Looking back on why I had such excitement for going to church, I believe the key would be that we went to church to serve. We never went to church to be served, but we went to serve. We served the other people by helping to set up chairs, clean floors, prepare a Sunday School lesson, or even to clean a toilet here and there. As I became a leader in the church, I still showed up early, to make sure all those things mentioned above were done. I am still preparing messages that are designed to serve those who come to the service. All in all I agree with the psalmist who wrote: “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD’” (Psalm 122:1). I am still glad to go into the house of the Lord … are you? If you’re not, maybe you need to find some place to serve! I know I want to serve!