Church is a very busy place. In addition to the regular Sunday services, many churches also have programs galore for all ages almost every day of the week. The programs alone are not a bad idea; having a Bible study for women or a special activity for teens can go a long way in building relationships both with God and each other. But in trying to be actively involved in church, many families find themselves pulled in a million directions all at once. You worship together as a family on Sunday, mom is gone to a program for ladies on Tuesday, you’re back for prayer meeting on Wednesday, your teenager is dropped off for a youth activity on Thursday, and your 3rd grader is taken to a special program on Friday. Don’t forget the men’s prayer breakfast on Saturday and you’re back again on Sunday morning. And that’s just church stuff–not work, school, or any of the other activities a family participates in.
We have families running, running, running trying to keep up. But what are we keeping up with anyway? With each other? With the expectations of our fellow church members? With God and what we perceive he requires of us? With our own perfectionistic standards? What? Sometimes when we are trying our hardest to do everything right and make everyone happy, we lose sight of what actually matters most. We exchange the busyness of activities about God for quiet time actually spent talking to God. We trade programs intended to build up families for actual time with our families.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to bash church or any of the opportunities a church offers. I know each program offered is meant to help believers, not hinder them. I love my church family and love the time I get to spend with them. But I also see individuals and families are the building blocks of any church. If families grow too busy to spend time with God and each other, then the building blocks of a church can begin to crumble. A church family is only as strong and healthy as the individual families of which it’s comprised. If families are falling apart because they’re too busy to stop and listen to each other, to solve problems and grow together, what will become of the family of God as a whole?
With all the opportunities and distractions life offers, I only hope we can learn to keep our priorities straight. To love God first–and because we love him and desire to worship him together–to gather in church as the family of God. But in doing so, not to become bogged down and distracted by extra activities that pull us away from what should be our next priority–our families. If we want to honor Christ and worship him together, let’s honor him privately in our individual lives and homes by setting aside all that weighs us down and focus on all that brings us closer to him and the people who matter most. Let’s value our families and the time we spend with them, remembering if we lose our relationships with them, we have already hurt the family of God even if we do show up for church on Sunday.