In recent years there has been a casualness that has crept into some church services; even those of fundamental separated churches. The mindset seems to be geared toward the gathering for a seminar rather than a worship service. With the advent of hand-held electronic devices this attitude has plunged even deeper into the realm of mediocre worship. For sure, these practices may fit into the category of respectable sin; but then again, if by doing so one is showing disrespect to the Lord, then perhaps the sin should not be respectable.
There was a day when friends and family understood that on certain days of the week, at certain hours of those days, those who attended church could not be reached by telephone. Now that the cell phone has seemingly become a fifth appendage, it is becoming more common to notice members of a flock sending and receiving text messages during the worship service. Is that being rude or what? Granted, there are those professionals who pull weekend on-call status that depend upon their cell to receive notification that they are needed. This is acceptable. In addition, should there be a catastrophic emergency within ones immediate family, it would understandably be acceptable for them to be in a stand-by mode. These folk are fulfilling their responsibility of not forsaking the assembling of theirselves together but are also being available to help hoist the ox out of the ditch, so to speak.. However, it would not be a major hardship for most people to leave the cell phone at home.
It would be amiss to leave the topic of electronic devices without mentioning the I-Pad. More and more Believers are using this device as their source for scripture. Granted, the King James Bible is available as a download and is somewhat practical in its use. Unfortunately, I once noticed a lady viewing photos of the family vacation during the morning service. The overwhelming temptation to misuse ones I-Pad during a worship service should be a red flag to those who have difficulty paying attention to the message. It should be a given that any electronic device should be closely monitored when being used by teens and younger children.
Another distraction for the Prince in the Pulpit are the clock watchers. These rubber-neckers are frequently checking the clock at the back of the sanctuary or bobbing their heads to look at their wrist watch. One man in particular had a theatrical way of checking the time on his watch so that the Pastor would be sure to notice that he was running over in his message. These very same folk would rarely watch their clocks while viewing a video, a television program or an athletic event. Why would a Christian place a time limit on the preaching of God’s Word? Shamefully, their heart is not in tune with the message being preached. Their appetite for being fed with spiritual food is in the anorexic mode because they are focused on the physical appetite; the “whats- for -lunch- bunch.” One Pastor would remind his flock, when he ran over his allotted time limit, that Bob Evans would still be serving when they were dismissed. We should never tire of hearing the Word preached, NEVER!
In addition to the clock watchers and the cell phone addicts, there has evolved a group of people who are not capable of going 45 minutes without a drink of water. Prior to bottled water, folks would wait until the end of the service to whet their thirst. Children knew better than to ask to go to the restroom let alone get a drink of water. Not anymore! So here you are, in the middle of the most important part of the sermon, the Holy Spirit is working in your heart and then………the person in front of you lifts up the bottle of water, tilts their head back and begins to guzzle………………….pure distraction! Folks, this is an appropriate behaviour for athletic events and seminars, but church? There are some churches who do not allow food or beverages in the sanctuary. Good for them! I wonder what the Lord thinks when we prefer to satisfy our desire for physical water rather that His Living Water.
It would seem that how we perceive a church service is commensurate to what we will glean from the message. Worshipping God is a serious solemn matter. Yet so many Christians seem to have a ho-hum, lackadaisical attitude toward this sacred service. Their attentions spans seems to be handicapped by the cares of this world. they draw nigh unto God with lip service but their heart is far from Him. This Laodicean attitude is most distasteful to the Lord. We are admonished that whatsoever we do, in thought word or deed, we are to do all to the Glory of God.