WHAT HAPPENED TO REVERENCE Andy Hollifield 9-4-18
Revere———-to regard with respect tinged with awe.
Have you ever thought about how reverent we are to the Lord. I remember as a young boy about five years old how that I revered the Lord. I had just learned that nothing is hid from God and He knows all things. I thought that was amazing that God could know everything. I had no doubt that he did because I just accepted it with the faith of a child. That was probably the first bible truth I ever learned aside from the fact that Jesus loves me. I had learned that Jesus not only loves me but that he also loved all the children of the world regardless of skin color. I can remember being in Sunday School at Fellowship Baptist Church in Newbridge in the little room beside the baptistry. I recall putting figures on the felt board as we learned the story of Noah’s ark and also about the coat of many colors that Joseph had been given by his father. Other than those things, I couldn’t say for sure what all I had learned by that age.
The reason I mention all of this is because it was those truths and bible stories that made me revere God. I may not have known that was what I was doing, but it was. Imagine a five-year old boy having reverence for the creator of the universe. I remember hiding a little jeep in my dad’s record cabinet and being so proud because no one except God and me knew where it was at. I eventually forgot all about it until I accidentally came across it one day right where I had left it. Even though I had forgotten it, I knew God never had. That made my little mind revere him even more.
Behaving myself in church was never an issue with me until I reached my teen years. As a little feller, I was thrilled to go to church and I had been told by my parents and the SS teacher that the church building was God’s house. I was also told to be sure and behave myself especially because it was God’s house. It was just always instilled in me that no other place we could go was like God’s house. I remember after I had gotten a little older, I accidentally carried a Hot Wheel to church in my pocket. I had been playing with it that morning when mom called me in to get ready to go. Part way through church I happened to feel that car in my pants pocket. I couldn’t think what it could be at first and then I remembered. I eased it out of my pocket and began slowly rolling it on my right thigh. The next thing I know, something has slammed down on my left thigh and I turned to see momma pull her hand back and give me that “momma stare.” I knew immediately without being told exactly what that meant. The car went back in my pocket a lot faster than it came out and I never made that mistake again. I just prayed that she would forget it before we got home. The lesson had hit home and it clicked in my head that you don’t play in God’s house. We were allowed to run and play in the church yard but never in the sanctuary. That was the place where God dwelt and met with his people. As I got older and started mowing the church yard, my cap came off before I ever darkened the door whether in the sanctuary or the basement. We did play more than we should in the basement running down the long hall mostly when the weather was bad.
When I started chewing tobacco and dipping, it went out before I came in. You just didn’t do those things in God’s house because it was disrespectful. As I got into my teen years and got to start sitting with my buddies, I sometimes got in trouble for cutting up and talking. Occasionally it was a general comment from the pulpit that the back row needed to be quite and pay attention. Most of the time it didn’t get to that point. I would get “the look” from my dad that, just like the “momma stare,” told me that I better settle down and be quite immediately if not sooner. Just like in my earlier years, I prayed it would be forgot about before we got home. Sometimes it would get mentioned just to keep us on our best behavior and let us know that mom and dad weren’t near forgetful enough.
As I have gotten older I have never forgot those lessons or the reverence that I have for God’s house. I remember as a young man running and taking a leap onto the stage during Christmas play practice. I think I had went to get something but it was mainly to impress a girl I was seeing. Conviction immediately set in and I slowed down. I was ashamed because I hadn’t given God’s house proper reverence. You may think this is all overkill and just the legalism of days gone by but it wasn’t legalism at all. It was just a reverence for the Lord’s house that we have to a big extent forgotten.
I guess that I became an old fogey years ago before my time. I still have that same reverence for God and his house. Actually, I stand in awe of him more now than I ever dreamed about as a kid. I have a hard time with some of the modern practices of parents and kids in church today. Instead of a bag full of toys to keep us quiet, moms back then had a switch and they weren’t afraid to use it. Also, we didn’t go play in the nursery. Most churches didn’t even have one. It didn’t take but one time getting took out by mom to know you didn’t want to go out again. If dad started down the aisle and motioned you to come, you went. Things didn’t usually go good for you after that even when you got home. There is nothing more terrifying for a young boy than the sound of leather whipping through belt loops on dad’s britches. Don’t get me wrong. Dad never beat any of us but he could make us see the error of our ways. I know that I deserved far more than I got but that’s probably true for most of us.
The thoughts of eating in church never crossed our mind. If you had gum, you better chew with your mouth shut. You had to wait until the preacher was cranked up real good or someone was singing before you ever opened a peppermint or butterscotch. It was impossible to keep those wrappers quiet. No one even thought about bringing coffee or anything else into the sanctuary and only little bitty babies had Cheerios or Froot Loops. Also, for a kid to be up moving around, much less talking, was just asking for judgment.
This may sound foreign or ridiculous to younger folks. I am sure that Joshua and Caleb had their “old fogey” moments too and look how God used them. Some may not think it matters but all I can say is look at the spirituality of our churches then and now. The bible even says in 1 Samuel 18:14 “And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.” In verse 30 it even says “so that his name was much set by.” He was an example of how you should conduct yourself. It’s not so much the behavior as it is our attitude toward God. Somewhere along the way, we have lost some of our respect for him. We are sometimes prone to try to bring him down to our level. We try to make him our buddy or babysitter when he is still our mighty God and king. He “is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” but more importantly he is our risen and returning Savior.
I guess I just long for some of the good old days when everyone placed God on a pedestal and humbled themselves to worship him. Times have changed and people have changed but God hasn’t. We still “must worship him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). How would God bless us if we reverenced him like we should. What happened to reverence? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!