It was her first service at our church. I had met her in the hallway, encouraging her to go into the sanctuary. She was reluctant. After all, she was tired and ready to go home. I gently pushed her along, if not physically, at least emotionally. She was a dear friend and I really wanted to spend some time with her.
I promised her that she could bring her coffee, so she came in. When she realized that my husband was waiting for us at the front, she gave me the stink eye for a moment: “Second row! Right… I get it. It’s not like I’ll be able to slip out or anything.”
She always makes me laugh.
My friend is the most honest, outspoken firecracker I know. She brightens up the room whenever she walks in, and she always leaves me feeling encouraged, hopeful, and empowered.
As the service moved along, I watched her, thinking, “Either she’s being polite, or she’s enjoying this!” She didn’t slip out. In fact, she stayed even as the service was over.
On our way out, she turned around, saying, “I haven’t had that much fun on second row since I watched Rod Stewart!” We laughed, and she continued, “Someone stayed out all night to get us tickets. We didn’t have the internet back then, we had to line up to get tickets. I was in the second row and it was great. But this was better!”
It was better.
Not because the band was better or the service was exceptional. But any encounter with God is way better than anything the world can offer. Even Rod Stewart or any favorite that you might have.
What are your expectations when you go to church?
To meet with friends? Sing and dance? To grab a spiritual snack during the sermon?
Or do you come to meet the living God?
Who’s the focus of your worship? Is it still the King of kings? The mighty God? Our Prince of Peace?
Are you still shaken by the roar of the Lion of Judah?
Convicted by the Lamb that was slain?
Are you ready to be led to a rock that is higher than you are?
Somewhere, where you can’t easily slip out, but rather depend on God to do whatever he wants to do – in you and through you?
You can bring your coffee, if you want to. It’s OK. But don’t miss out on whatever God has for you.
After all, it’s better than a Rod Stewart concert.