In-between Sunday school and church, I love to walk by the nursery and talk to all the little babies and toddlers that are playing. I open the door to the baby room and gaze in at the drool-fest and a smile appears on my face. I slowly work my way around to the room with 2-3 year olds, sticking my head in the door to observe them playing with cars, doll houses, and making delicious looking sandwiches cut out of fluorescent colored play-dough. Yummy!
I’ve noticed that different kids learn to talk and say words at different ages, but almost all of the 2 and 3 year old kids have mastered one word: “Mine!” Selfishness does not have to be taught to a young child. In fact, parents have to work hard at teaching phrases like “share your toys” and “let your brother play with that” and “give that back, its not yours.” Nevertheless, their innocence is charming and their selfish ways can be overlooked with one glance at those droopy cheeks and heart-melting smiles. It’s a great site to see before heading into the sanctuary.
The “mine” mindset is prevalent in other buildings throughout the church campus as well. Barna research shows that over half of the conflicts that arise in the church are due to “disagreements based on personal preferences.” Pews vs. chairs, contemporary vs. traditional, projection screens vs. hymnals, blue carpet vs. red carpet; it goes on and on and on. It seems like sometimes we never get over the “mine” stage as we grow older.
Rick Warren made a very blunt and lucid statement in his book, The Purpose Drive Life: “This world is not about you.” I know he isn’t the first one to coin that phrase, but it’s still powerful. Sometimes when I go to church and have to sing songs I don’t know and sit in a room where the A/C is set on 50 degrees and sit on retro brown pew cushions, I have to remind myself: “Nathan, its not about you. This worship thing is not about you. This church idea is not about what you want or how you feel or anything about you. It’s about God. So get over yourself and start acting like it. Period.” These little pep talks I give myself always seem to help me put things in perspective and enter God’s house with the right frame of mind.
So the next time you are walking up to the church doors, give yourself a quick pep-talk with a reminder that everything does not revolve around you. This kind of attitude will make your worship experience even more pleasurable and honorable to the One that truly matters: God.
James 5:9- “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”
“Where 2-3 church members are gathered, there will be 4-5 different opinions.” -Dr. Preston Nix