This past week starting on Wednseday and ending yesterday on Sunday, my husband and I spent approximately 15 hours in church. On Weds., Thurs., and Fri. evenings, we were there for about two hours each evening, on Sat. evening,  we were there for about four hours, and yesterday which was Sunday, we were there for about five hours between the morning and evening services. None of this is all that unusual because we spend much of our time at church however this past week was missions conference week in which we host several missionary families, learn about the countries to which they are headed and we support them with our prayer and finances. The whole week stirred me…and was memorable.

 

If I had read the above paragraph when I was in my teens and early twenties, it would have been a huge yawn producer…not something that would grip my heart or my mind. That is simply because I was not a believer. I suppose if you had walked up to me on the street and asked me if I believed in God, I would have given a haphazard sort of wishy washy “yes” as an answer, but to me, God was an abstract, vague idea that was just sort of out there somewhere. He was not personal, He was not directly involved or interested in my life and I certainly did not know him “personally” as a friend. I also thought that concept was an impossibility and those that claimed that they were close to God or had a personal love for Him, were fooling themselves. To me, they were weak minded individuals who needed a crutch if you will, to get through life.

 

That all changed however during my senior year at college when I began questioning why we are even all here on earth. That question then led to others such as “ Why am I here?” “What is the purpose of my life?”  “How did the earth even come into existence?”, “ Why is there so much hurt and wrong in the world?” and the list was endless. I began reading the Bible for the first time in my life and realized at age twenty-one that it is a personal love letter from God Himself that has every answer to every question in life. It is not some boring, out of date, tedious book that was laborious but was real and relevant and caused the world and life to all fit and make sense. I accepted what Christ did on that cross so many years ago and was saved and became a Christian. The thirty-two years since that moment when I knelt and trusted the Lord have not been perfect but have totally changed the course and the direction of my entire life. That one decision back in 1977 literally transformed my mind and the way that I think which brings me back full circle to this past missions week at our church.

 

As our missions conference wrapped up , I watched a DVD that capsulized the entire week of preaching, teaching, sharing in a banquet, watching an amazing teen presentation, and fellowshipping with our church family, I thought of the several hours that I had spent at our church and how if you had told me back in 1976 when I was twenty years old that I would spending a good portion of my waking hours in church services thinking about how to send missionaries to foreign fields so they in turn could tell others around the world about Jesus Christ, I would have scoffed. As I sat there and watched, I also thought about the many hours that others had sat watching NFL football games or movies, doing yard work, playing cards, shopping, fishing, out on a boat or various other weekend activies. While those activities are enjoyable and are not evil in and of themselves, I couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that the great effort that is exerted for them will not count for eternity. Yet, what I was privileged to be a part of in my church this past week is all about where we will be forever some day, about heaven and about sending others to foreign lands to spread the word about Christ. It means everything. It is not empty, it’s not mundane, it’s not fruitless or temporal, but what life is really all about. That difference put a lump in my throat last night in church. It fills the void that was inside of me way back in college when I couldn’t figure it all out or make the pieces fit together. It wasn’t boring, it wasn’t routine, it is what matters most.

 

Should we enjoy life with a variety of activites? Of course and I am not advocating spending all of our time in church twenty-four seven and doing nothing else. I am simply saying that I am so glad, so thankful, so grateful for the gift of faith which allows me to know God intimately and realize what is true and real. The Christian life is one of refreshing depth, not shallow mediocrity…and once you understand that, you never want to go back again to just plodding though each day performing perfunctory tasks of daily life all the while unaware of it’s true meaning.

 

Thank you Lord for my church and its vision for missions. It was anything but a ho hum week…it satisfied my soul.