How to Avoid Being Just a But in the Pew

From the Reflections Column Archives 9-13-15)

A But in a Pew

“If only your service had more uplifting music, then I would consider attending church.”
“If only your service had softer music, then I would consider attending church.”
“If only the sermon was livelier, then I would consider attending church.”

The reasons for missing out on a church service, and I have used many of them myself. I have talked about the missing “spirit” in the church. I have complained that the music was too loud, or too dull, or too painful (yes, I have been in one of those services). And all of this has happened in the last year because there is always an excuse.

I attended a secular conference and went to hear a speaker. “You’ve already heard her give that talk.” The organizer of the conference shared with me.

I told him then that if I was not able to get something new out of what she shared then the problem was not her but me.

And yet, I expected to be informed, entertained, educated, and fed each and every Sunday. I choose to put the responsibility squarely on the person standing at the front of the room.

The truth is painful sometimes, but it does not change the truth. I am the one responsible. The excuses attempt to shift the blame. The attempt always fails. If I am not getting what I need from attending church, then the problem is sitting with me. If the Holy Spirit is absent from the service then I am just another but in the pew.

Just Another But in the Pew

  • But I have no time. I have no time to read the Bible. I have no time to attend the study group. I have no time to attend church because Sunday is the only day I can get things done. I have no time . . .
  • But someone else could (should) do it. I am waiting for a different position. I want to do something more suited to my interests. I want to be sure I am not getting in the way of someone else getting a blessing. Someone else should do it . . .

  • But I have already made plans. I am attending an event. I am visiting with friends. It is our annual getaway for the girlfriends. I have tickets to the big game. I already have plans . . .

  • But I have no extra money to give. My money goes to pay bills. My money goes to help my kids. I am already giving money in tithes. My money is stretched as far as it can go. I have no extra money . . .

  • But I have no education or training. My experience is in another area. Someone with the right training should step up. I am not able to do it. I have no training . . .

My excuses for not stepping out and going “all in” with God will only grow more buts. I have to choose to invest for myself if I want to be more than another but in the pew.

Are you a but in a pew?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and let me know what you think about being a “but.”

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  • Great post! I love the creative title! It’s so easy to make excuses for not serving while sitting in the pew! But the blessings are wonderful when we serve, and The Holy Spirit confirms it by giving us great joy! I love how you gave examples, and kept everything to the point! Nice post! 💙

  • I enjoyed your creative, reflection. My favorite part was your comment that if you didn’t get anything new out of the speaker….the problem was with you. God help me to always be so loving and wise. This article reminded me of a poem I wrote. The repeated line is, “Father, as I sit here in this pew…” It is after about half a dozen other poems and pictures if you scroll down a ways. I hope you get a chance to look at it! Keep blogging that good stuff!

    • Thanks for the visit, and for sharing your comments. I sometimes worry about titles like this, but even with the serious thoughts, I want to have some fun!

      Be blessed,