For the better part of the past 10 years I have been able to get a completely different perspective on Sunday morning worship. I have been blessed to be a part of the worship band at Grace Church where I serve alongside people who are pouring their heart out in worship before the Lord. The view I have from the stage allows me to see so many people joyfully celebrating our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have a side job that pulls me away from church on Sundays in the fall. For 8 or more Sundays in autumn, I work on the sidelines for the home Cleveland Browns games. We have to be there 6 to 8 hours prior to kick off, and it always amazes me how full of tailgaters the Muni Lot is well before we arrive. Once game time rolls around and the gates open, fans flow in to the stadium dressed in their finest orange and brown ensembles. By kickoff the stadium is electric. Mind you I do NOT play but I still get goosebumps from the roar of the crowd. Over 66,000 people pack that stadium. There are several thousand more outside to just tailgate and take in the experience. Fans can rattle off facts about where Baker Mayfield attended high school, name all of the quarterbacks that Myles Garrett has sacked in his young career, and tell you all about the heartache of being a Browns fan.
But honestly, do people have the same knowledge and enthusiasm for God? The first commandment tells us to have “no other gods before him”. I am guilty of thinking that means like a wooden or bronze statue.
However, that can mean anything that we put before God Almighty.
It could be your family, your kids’ activities, your job, your sports teams, your favorite bands or TV shows. It could be social media. Is your screen time greater than your time with the Lord (in worship, in the Word, your prayer life)?
I have so many friends and family members who claim to follow Jesus tell me they don’t have time to be in the Word or to spend an hour at church on Sunday. But do they miss the game on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday afternoon? They can tell me all about the game but not tell me what God loves. What He hates. Our gods are not golden calves or wooden statues. Our gods are anything we are giving the majority of our attention, time and energy to.
Jesus says in Luke 14:26-27:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
He is saying that His followers must love Him more than they love their own family members. Are you doing that? What consumes your time, your thoughts and your energy? Are you putting God first in your life or does He have to compete with someone/something else?