That’s what most of us devote to God in public worship each week― just one hour. (I know, I know― some of us spend two hours. I am usually in three worship gatherings on Sundays― so I spend between three and four hours in public worship gatherings. There are some people that probably do more than that― but for most people reading this little article― it’s one hour.)
There are exactly 168 hours in a week. If we attend one hour of worship a week, then we devote to God in public worship exactly .59% of our week to Him.
In the course of the year there are 8,760 hours. If we miss a few worship gatherings because of sickness, vacations, a couple of Jimmy’s soccer games, a Chiefs’ game, our second cousin’s wedding at the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, a get-away weekend with friends, etc then we will not even spend one half of one percent of our time in public worship in a year.
Less than one half of one percent!
I know that for many― the Sunday morning worship gathering is not their only time of worship. Lots of Christians spend time in private worship in prayer and Bible reading at home; they are involved in a life group or small group or Sunday school class where worship takes place; and they attempt to worship God throughout the day. There are a lot of people like that. But I also know there are plenty of people whose only time of worship is that one hour in church. That’s it. One hour. Less than one half of one percent of their lives in the course of a year is spent worshipping the God who created them, loves them, and died for them.
If we are going to be in the world for 8,760 hours a year― with all of the downward influences, pressures and temptations that draw our attention away from God― then the one half of one percent of our time that we intentionally set aside to corporately worship God is vital.
Because I know that is true, as a pastor I try my very best to protect that hour. We gather on Sunday morning (or Sunday night) to worship God. Period. That is what the sacred hour is all about.
It’s about worshipping the Creator of the Universe.
It’s about having a divine encounter with the One who loves us more than we can imagine.
It’s about being captivated by the Savior who came and died for us.
It’s about imagining and seeking that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The Bible says when two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, then He is with us. So we don’t have to invite Jesus to be in our gatherings; instead He invites us to be fully engaged in worship and to give Him all of our praise and all our attention.
As such, worship gatherings are not about seeing friends (although that happens).
It’s not about hearing the latest news on Uncle Joe’s battle with gout (although sometimes that happens).
It’s not about finding a place to sit and relax while our kids are in the nursery (although that sometimes happens).
It’s not about noticing if the music is too loud, too soft, too new, or too old. Or if the preacher was wearing jeans or a suit. Or if the room was too bright or too dark or too hot or too cold (although occasionally we focus on those things instead of God too).
It just makes sense to me that if we are only giving one half of one percent of our year to public worship then that whole time (however brief it is) should be about Jesus.
So I hope you will worship God someplace this week. Gather in Jesus’ name― singing praises to Him, hear from His word, celebrate the Lord’s supper and expect God to transform that one half of one percent of our lives into something that will sustain us, motivate us and captivate our imaginations for what God can do with the other 99.5% of our time.