Sometimes, when people tell me they won’t be at church cuz they’re going camping,
I pray for rain.
I have a very small church. When people are gone you can definitely tell. I try not to guilt people into coming to church. I’ve fought very hard to avoid this. I want people to come because they want to be there.
Unfortunately, I know that the only people who are there are the only ones who want to be there.
I understand having to be out of town and going on vacation. I do, I really do. I don’t begrudge people missing a Sunday here and there.
But there’s still this thing in me, this part that is stabbed in the back whenever people miss church. I admit that I take it personally.
I try not to. I can’t tell you how hard I try not to take it personally. I would strongly encourage any pastor out there to not take it personally when people miss.
But in all honesty, I have no idea how not to do that.
Then there are some people who make it to church maybe 15 times a year because there’s always something. Always a better option than coming to sit in my boring church and hear my boring sermon.
I have yet to overcome the personal affront I feel when people skip.
So, yeah, when people tell me they are camping this weekend, I have been known to pray that it rains, so if nothing else, they will have a miserable time.
When people tell me they are going to a car show on Sunday, yeah, I pray it’s 120 degrees and they get massively sunburned.
When people tell me they are going to a football game, yeah, I pray that their team gets slaughtered, even if their team is my team too.
I’ve read the Psalms. There’s biblical precedent for praying this way!
I find a secret satisfaction when people miss church and then come back and tell me what a terrible time they had while they skipped church.
“Ha! Take that!” I think in my self-righteous head. “That’ll show ya!”
But here’s the thing: it never shows them. They just skip the next week because last weekend’s trip was so awful.
No one cares if I’m personally offended by their skipping. They just want to go do their thing. And, that’s fine. It really is. No one gets into heaven because of better church attendance than the next guy.
And, no one would ever be able to attend church enough to satisfy me anyway. I have three church services a week most of the year. No one comes to all three all the time, so I’m setting up a standard that will never be met. I will be offended at all times. I try not to be, but I am.
And I still hope when you skip church to go to a birthday party that the cake is disgusting and you have to listen to kids screaming all day. Just because.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.