Clock Watchers

By Frank Chesser

Brief sermons are in great demand. If one could package and sell twenty minute sermons with “preheat and serve” instructions, he would become an instant Forbes celebrity. the “hurry up and get it over with” philosophy has found a home in the church.

“If a man cannot strike oil in twenty minutes, he is drilling with a dull bit” may provide a chuckle, but not from the spiritual mind intent on drinking deep from the well of living water. Sunday’s high noon sounds the gun for the Indianapolis 500 to the local restaurants; beating the Baptists to the drumstick has become a sporting event.

One brother said, “When the sermon goes over-time, I cut it off.” Rest assured he never said that about his favorite television program. One can easily discern Sunday’s time of day by taking note of the activity in the pew. Proceeding pas the “allotted time” is like scraping the top off an ant bed. Over-time is no man’s land where preachers void of stout hearts fear to tread.

Some attempt to justify this disturbing lack of interest in God, worship and the gospel by pointing to man’s diminutive attention span. This is insane. The application of this point is always limited to small children or adults in a worship assembly. The truth is, the capacity of one’s concentration depends upon his sense of priority and interest. One lacking in spirituality can devote rapt attention for several hours to some entertainment medium, while experiencing a severe shortage of mental vigilance under the sound of gospel preaching.

Missionaries tell of people who walk for miles to sit for hours on backless boards in thatched huts and scorching heat to feast on the treasure of the gospel. It is indeed tragic when one’s interest in spiritual things can be exhausted during the course of a thirty minute sermon.

(From Truth, Dallas Avenue Church of Christ, Lancaster Texas, December 3, 1995)

Guardian of Truth XL: 9 p. 11
May 2, 1996