No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
Last June my ten year old son, Joshua, attended the Wichita State Shocker Basketball Camp in Wichita, Kansas. It was a great week for him, especially as he got to meet and become acquainted with players like Fred Van Vleet, Tekele Cotton, Ron Baker, and Cleanthony Early (two of whom were named to the AP All American team in 2014). This made the 2013-2014 basketball season much more exciting and personal for Joshua, as he could look at the television screen and declare proudly after a monster dunk by Tekele Cotton, “That’s my coach!” or “I know him,” after an outstanding play by Cleanthony Early.
So, not surprisingly, Joshua asked if he could go back to Shocker Camp this June. I said no for a number of good reasons. After all, he got to go last year, our expenses are up this year with an added car payment, we aren’t making as much income this year, it is difficult to arrange the time off for me, etc, etc. I explained all these reasons to Joshua, who came back with the statement, “But it means so much more to me when I know the players personally.” Of course, he is right. Thus, I mailed the registration for him to attend the camp again this year.
Joshua is on to a point that is important for all of us as followers of Jesus. We can try to make worship interesting, scripture reading more personal, or prayer more exciting. But when these are just religious exercises that we feel duty bound to do, they just don’t seem that interesting. However, when we know Jesus personally, then all these become much more personal to us as well. Like watching a basketball team that is good, but you do not know anyone on the team and the team represents a school that you have little personal connection to. It just doesn’t grab you. But if you are watching a team from your local area (such as the Iowa Hawkeyes for those of us in eastern Iowa), you sense a connection to team and the individual players. Everything becomes more engaging, and you don’t have to make yourself watch them, you enjoy watching them play.
Is worship dull, prayer distant, and fellowship boring? Yes, it could be the preacher, or the difficult digestion of the onion/garlic/salt bagel you foolishly tried to eat - but it might be something else. You might ask yourself how your relationship with Jesus is doing. The more you have a sense of knowing him personally, the better church, scripture, and prayer will be for you. After all, “it means so much more” to each of us when God is a living and present Spirit rather than some impersonal far off mental concept.
Love, and In Christ’s Peace,