I’ve spent most of my life in church.  I’ve sat through brilliant messages and choral pieces that lifted us into heavenly places.  I’ve also endured some pitiful slurs of the glorious gospel that were supposed to be sermons.  These were a waste of time.

To me, wasting time is a great problem within the church.  Perhaps it is because we have never calculated the actual effect of time that is being wasted.  There are several ways that teachers and audience participants waste each others’ time.

  1. The teacher may be ill-prepared for the day. 
  2. Rambling.  Just because I may be a great entertainer does not give me permission to deliver a rambling bit of entertainment that does not point people to the cross of Christ. 
  3. The preacher never learned how to effectively close a message.  This must be one of the hardest techniques to learn.  However, there is an amazingly effective way to do it.  Shut up and sit down.
  4. When, as a teacher, I am in love with my own voice, the result is usually too much said and too little taught.
  5. When I become a scolding father, the audience begins to cower.  The scriptures clearly tell father  not to be too strict with their children.  This is also true with teachers who scold the church of Christ.  The result in the congregation will be the same as children.  They will rebel by leaving.
  6. When I am a nagging mama, will the audience respond to the gospel message?  Probably not.  The problem with nagging isn’t the repeating of instructions but the tone and attitude.  Nagging says, “You are either too stupid to understand what I’m saying or you are deaf.”  This attitude does not exhibit the humility that is demanded to help lead people to the great promises of Christ.

In truth, few people will continue to allow their time to be wasted.  They will eventually leave.  I believe that the mentally challenged community is exceptionally patient with bad teaching.  However, there is also a limit to their patience.  The Lord told the 72 that he sent out in Luke 10:4, “Don’t waste your time by talking to people on the road.”  He said that if people wouldn’t listen, to leave the town.  Doesn’t that mean that Christ is equally intolerant of people who waste the time of his children?  If there are 150 people in the audience, five minutes of wasted time, translates into 750 minutes. Which translates into more than 12 and a half hours. 

I endeavor to seek God whenever I’m give the honor of sharing the Word of the Lord to any people.  Because they are mentally challenged doesn’t mean that I can be sloppy or uncaring.