The British joke that when they go on holiday to resorts in Southern Europe the German holidaymakers get up early to put towels on the loungers around the swimming pool, then go back to bed having claimed their space in the sun for later in the day. This is viewed as somewhat selfish by a nation of people who were at one time trained from birth in the arts of fairness and queuing. So I was shocked to see similar behaviour last week at Spring Harvest.
Why would anyone want to claim a sun lounger at Butlin’s Skegness resort at the end of March you ask? Well, the problem wasn’t with sun loungers but with seating in the Big Top where some folk were using coats and blankets to claim seats before the main worship and teaching sessions, which have a reputation for getting quite full. Not only were folk reserving seats, but also some were using the seats in front of them to park their coats thereby blocking these seats from use. Other folk placed coats over the backs of their seats eating into the limited space available for those seated behind them. Coats were but one issue. As a qualified people watcher I noted a number of other areas of behavioural concern (given that this was a Christian event) while scribbling mental notes to myself not to indulge in such behaviour personally, and not to get wound up by Christians behaving badly.
The problem is that the problem is not just confined to Spring Harvest. It has spread to our churches where some of our number, myself included, do not always think about the consequence of our actions and words, or the way that we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ. This results in an even bigger problem: If we can’t emulate the behaviour of Jesus while in the company of fellow believers, then how ever can we show the love of Jesus to the world outside our cloistered walls? Could this be the reason that the church today is not making disciples?
If we are to be game-changers in our world, as encouraged through the teaching at Spring Harvest 2017 then we seriously need to look at our own game and where it needs to be improved. It is not a one-off review that is required but a daily appraisal conducted in a quiet place with only us and our Heavenly Father present and with our thoughts quietened and our mouths shut. Because how can we possibly hear Him speak if we continue to babble away to Him as if what we have to say is more important than what He has to say?
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NLT)