Summer was in full swing in Pupperville. The skies were clear, the temperatures were soring into the 90's and well, I suppose you could say it was the lazy days of summer. No one felt like doing anything but hang around at the beach and, well, be lazy, lazy and boring. I just so happened that those two ideas were on Barney's mind the other day when he met up with April Zaspella.
“Hi.” April said, “Is that you Barney? You sound sort of depressed.” “Yeah, it's me.” Barney said “But I'm not depressed, just bored because I have nothing to do.” “Nothing to do?” April questioned, “I thought Harold was back.” “He is” Barney said, “But he doesn't want to do anything, but be lazy.” “Oh.” April said disappointedly, “I thought he had changed.”
“Well, yeah, he has changed.” Barney said, “But I’m not sure I like the new Harold.” What do you mean?” April asked. “For starters,” Barney went on to say, “I'm finding that he is no longer a challenge. There was a time when he kept his room so messy you could get lost in there for days. Now he keeps his room spotless.”
“I could get lost in there even if it was clean.” April said with a giggle. “That's because your blind.” Barney said. “So, what does Harold do all day?” April asked. “He just sits and studies the Bible.” Barney told her, “And that reminds me, Even church has been boring because of Harold?” “Ah” April said, “I know I've been out of town for a few weeks but how is Harold making church boring?”
“By being good.” Barney said. “But you're suppose to be good in church.” April protested. “I know.” Barney sighed, “But with Harold you always expected some kind of trouble to happen and now it doesn't happen. People are even starting to quit coming to church as a result.” “What?!” April exclaimed, “You mean people were only coming to church to see what kind of trouble Harold would cause in church.”
“Well,” Barney said hesitantly, You have to admit, things got rather exciting when he was his old self.” “But all those distractions messed everybody up and kept them from worshiping.” April protested. “I suppose.” Barney said, “If that’s why they were there.” “Is that why you go to church?” April asked when she heard that. “Well,” Barney said, “It's like this. I need to get going. Bye.”
And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:1-6 (ESV)
God gave a simple command – worship Me and Me only. “God wanted no one, no thing, to take His place and yet this command is broke over and over and over. One god/goddess was Diana. Also called Artemis. Let's find out what happens around her.
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. … And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, … many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. … About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship." When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. ... Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.
Acts 19:1-41 (ESV)
Eventually, we read that the crowd was calmed down and dispersed. They worshiped a false god/goddess and yet, while there is much to learn from these verse I found it interesting that once they had gathered together, they had no idea why they were there. One might also ask the question when we gather at church... So why do we?
- Hebrews 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
- 1 Timothy 4:13 - Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. (NIV)
- Acts 2:41-42 - Then those people who accepted what Peter said were baptized. About three thousand people were added to the number of believers that day. They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching, sharing, breaking bread, and praying together. (NCV)
- Ephesians 5:19 - Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. (NCV)
When we comet together do we do these things? When we come together are we like the Psalmist who says I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1 (NLT)
Here's Something To Ponder
- Why do you gather together?
- Do you come with gladness or boredom as a goal?