“How was your church service yesterday?” I asked Stan one Monday morning.
“Fabulous,” he responded.
Continuing, he added, “We had a guest speaker who really had a lot of great things to say about knowing God on this side of eternity. It was a very good message, especially right near the end when he put out some real good practical applications.”
“I’m sure everyone got a lot out of that,” I replied.
“Not everyone,” Stan said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“One of my friends got up and left before the speaker had finished his message,” Stan responded.
“Why?” I replied.
“Going to breakfast after the church service is his tradition. He goes to the same place every Sunday. It stops serving breakfast at a certain time. If you’re not there by then, you can’t have breakfast.”
“Apparently,” Stan continued, “my friend was concerned he was going to miss breakfast because the message was longer than usual.”
“So he left the church service before it was over so he could have breakfast? Wow!” I replied.
“We went to the same restaurant to have lunch after the church service,” Stan said. “My friend was just finishing his breakfast. Even though I knew the answer, I asked him why he had left the church service.”
“What did he say?” I asked.
“The guy talked too long,” Stan replied.
“I don’t want to sound judgmental,” I said, “but this sounds a lot like putting tradition before the Word of God.”
“I think you’re right,” Stan replied. “And it seems to me that Jesus had something to say about that.”
And He (Jesus) answered and said to them (some Pharisees and scribes), “And why do you yourselves transgress the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition?” Matthew 15:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the blessing of being able to attend church services and hear what your people have to say about you and your word. I confess that sometimes I put what I want to do before what you have for me to do in listening to what you have for me to hear. I ask for your forgiveness and your help in leading me in accordance with your will so I will set aside what I want when it interferes with what you want. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever been in a situation where someone was talking about God’s Word and you thought the person was talking too long? If so, what did you do about it? Do you think what you did was the appropriate thing to do? Why or why not? Do you have certain traditions that may interfere with what God has for you to be or to do? If so, are you willing to talk with God about those things to see what He has to say? Why or why not?