Sit up Straight
I sit as still as possible. If I move, people may think it’s my phone, which it most certainly is not. This is the first time it’s rung this service; so it’ll probably ring at least once more before the end of the sermon. I’m convinced that the elderly man it belongs to doesn’t hear it until the fourth or fifth ring, by which time everyone has ceased listening to the message. The pastor continues valiantly on, and I struggle to pay attention to each word he speaks, but the phone is right behind me. Mostly I’m thinking dn..dn..dn..dn..dah.
Then I notice an interesting phenomenon. People’s backs all over the auditorium stiffen. Moments ago they might have been daydreaming or doodling, but now they sit ramrod straight and stare at the pastor as if their very lives depended upon it. In their heads, they are silently chanting, Turn it off. For crying out loud, turn it off!
When the anxiety in the room has hit a fevered pitch, the aged man begins to pat down his many pockets and at long last locates the phone. About the time he manages to extract it from his pants pocket, the phone stops ringing. Finally, silence –- until it rings again.
Has the pastor made an announcement, you might be thinking, in which he has asked people to mute their phones?
Yes, many times; but for those who come shuffling in late, it doesn’t do much good.
I wonder though, perhaps it is just the distraction we need. When the phone finally goes silent, everyone suddenly remembers why they were at church in the first place. Daydreams are blown away and doodles are left unfinished while we refocus on what our pastor is saying.
I know it can be tempting to think about what you have to do in the upcoming week or what color you’ll paint your toenails next time, but this is a brief time out of your week – a time for you to listen to what God wants you to hear. The Bible is one of God’s great gifts to us, and studying God’s Word is important so that we can draw on it when we are tempted or trials come our way. We need to know and understand the Scriptures so that we can defend our faith and lead others to Him.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
So the next time you hear a phone ring, a baby cry, or sirens during the middle of a church service, tell yourself, this is just a reminder for me to sit up straight and listen.