This morning as I walked across the parking lot at my church, I saw a car pull up near the main entrance. An old man got out and opened the trunk, then pulled out a walker for his wife. He took it around to her door, helped her out, got her situated safely with the walker, then he headed back to the driver’s side to go park the car while the woman slowly made her way from the pull-in to the outside elevator entrance. It was a sunny morning, but very cold. The lady’s steps were short, slow, and deliberate. It would take her a few minutes to inch her way across that relatively short distance from the car to the elevator – a distance I could sprint in about two seconds.
As I made my way to where I was going, I couldn’t help but admire the determination of the couple to do what they believed to be important at that time on Sunday morning – be at church. I wondered how many others would stay home today because it was too cold, or because they were too tired from staying up or out late last night, or because it just isn’t important to them. I wondered how many others – even church members – would think up some excuse for staying in bed or staying inside where it was warm and cozy because they didn’t want the discomfort or inconvenience or time spent doing something else.
I have believed and taught for many years that Sunday morning is not the time for you to decide whether you will be in church that day or not. That is a decision made when you make your faith commitment, choosing to be a part of a body of believers from that point on, only excusing yourself from participation in the larger community in case of illness or very unusual, temporary circumstances. I suspect this older couple shares that sentiment.
The takeaway lesson for me from watching the couple was that we find a way to do what is important to us. I know that many of us have more things on our plate than should be there, and we have to occasionally let some things go in order to do others of greater importance. Still, when it comes down to deciding what gets done and what doesn’t, we find a way to do what is really important.
If spending time with family isn’t important, we fill our days with other things. If taking care of our home, car or other personal belongings isn’t important, we let them deteriorate. If taking care of our bodies doesn’t matter to us, then we abuse them in all kinds of ways without really showing concern for the eventual consequences. If living for the moment is more important than providing for the future, then we throw caution to the wind and think about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. If we care mostly or solely about ourselves, then we never take the time to focus on and do what is in the best interests of others.
You want to know how you can find out what is important to me? Look two places: at my schedule and my bank account. How do I spend my time and how do I spend my money? Those two windows into my life will tell you what is really important to me, regardless of what I say is important. I pray that the view from those windows tells the same story as my words.
What is important to you, and does your schedule and your bank account reflect that?