Unless one lives in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, the competition for one’s time and schedule is legion. There always seems to be more to do than a body can squeeze in to a sixteen hour day. If you are a parent with children in the home then you can talk about a 28 hour day. As a businessman I know used to say, “I’m stretched so thin you can see through me.” In other words, many of us have left no room for some margins in our lives. You long for the weekend. You think, “If I can only make it to Friday night.”
For even professing, Bible-believing, born-again, (dare I say Reformed) Christians, we find ourselves struggling with the same kinds of stressors and calendar conflicts. Saturday is the day the lawn gets mowed (except for this year) and the “honey-do” list gets worked on – maybe or you get to play some golf or run down to Indy for some shopping, the zoo, whatever. By the time Sunday rolls around there’s little energy to get out of bed much less make a meaningful day of worship. All too often, the Lord’s day is sacrificed for sleep, a day away, a trip to see Aunt Burtie, or a thousand and one other competitors of this God-given day of rest.
But this is not a new issue. Apparently Pastor John Newton (the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”) faced the same conundrum with his own congregation. So I thought that it might be helpful to allow this imminent teaching elder to share his heart with you as he did for his own congregation a few hundred years ago. Amazing how the issues have not changed throughout the years. Pastor Shane Lems has written this article about John Newton and given us permission to link to it.