No parking in the pew, buster. Get your rear end out of the pew, buddy. Move your butt out of the way, sister. You’re breaking the law, kid. C’mon. Put the pedal to the metal. Ever heard of a fire lane? You’re breaking the law, kid. Honk honk. I’m warning you. See the sign? NO PARKING IN THE PEW!
Want a ticket? Seriously. This ain’t no parking lot. Think you’re getting away with it? Nobody’s watching? Think again. The words came to me the other day, just like lots of words come lots of the time. I write them down, on anything, anywhere, anytime. Even sunbathing. Even while driving. Even in bed. Even in the store. Even during worship at church. Just like I have on and off for decades when words come to me. But these words wouldn’t leave me alone. There was, and is, a message behind them. No Parking in the Pew. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look in the mirror. Am I talking to you?
Picture it. Sunday morning. Coffee. Shower. Coffee. Clothes. Hose. Heels. Pocketbook. Coffee? Sugar and cream. Soy milk, whatever. Dress shoes. Tie. Jacket. No, casual. Casual church. Come as you are, right? Come as you were? Come as you are? Come as you’re supposed to be? Ahem. The Bible calls us to change, eh? But that’s besides the point – at least right here, right now. Or is it? Is it besides the point at all? The point is this. If you’re parking in the pew, you’ve got a problem on your hands – and heart. A big one.
The pew wasn’t meant for parking, and parking, and still more parking. Got your Bible? Grab your keys. Okay, Sunday, it’s Sunday. Off to church. But wait a minute. Wait a cotton picking minute. You can’t even remember the last time you opened your Bible – outside of church anyway. And that’s not the whole problem, not at all. Because if the truth be known, you’re parked in the pew. But the pew isn’t meant for parking.
Ever heard of 15-minute parking? That’s the kind of parking, ahem, where you’re supposed to PARK – and GO! Yes, exactly. Not park to stay. But park and GO. Get your business done, and off you go to the next part of your day – the next step in your life. Nobody’s watching right? Think again. Somebody’s watching. His name is GOD. And God, as far as I know, is not just concerned with church attendance. Not at all. He’s VERY concerned with what we’re doing in between Sundays. But when we’ve got our butts illegally parked in the pew and refuse to budge, we’ve got a pretty big problem on our hands.
Some of us are spending far too much time PARKED IN THE PEW, and far too little time doing anything but. No pun intended, BUT – . What exactly do I mean? Think about it. Or, better yet, here’s an example. For quite a long time, I did quite a good job of parking my butt in the pew. Then, one day, a little lady with a BIG HEART, and a VERY BIG MOUTH, got REALLY BOLD with me. She gave me a HUGE, little-woman-but-OUCH KICK in the old tush. “You’re gonna get constipated,” she told me matter of factly. Talk about an un-lady-like way of acting. My God! My God is right! And so was she!
“You’ve got all that Bible teaching coming into you, but if you don’t pour it out on the world around you then you’re getting constipated,” she told me with her own words. I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you get the point. And I can promise you, she definitely used the word CONSTIPATED! How could I forget? After all, I WAS. I was constipated with everything the Lord was pouring into me – and everything I was not pouring out.
Why? My butt wasn’t doing much at all besides PARKING IN THE PEW. Sure, I was good at it. Really good. Got church? Sure did. All the time. Three times a week sometimes, or at least two. And meetings, prayer meetings, Christian meetings, anything about God meetings and gatherings. Oh, I was doing a fine job of that – and not much else. I had my butt – and head – and heart – just plain old PARKED IN THE PEW.
The first problem? I wasn’t PRACTICING what was being PREACHED. I was HEARING the Word of God, but not DOING the Word of God. I was hearing it, and even speaking it – but just plain old not doing too much successfully WITH IT. Problem numero ONE. I was the same woman I had always been – with a pretty much PARKED Butt.
Ever seen one of those “tire things” people put on car tires to keep the car’s owner from going anywhere because the owner is in DEEP poop. Yeah, I have. Ever noticed that some of those tires that get STUCK from one of those “tire things”? What happens? They go FLAT – and ain’t much use for much of anything, eh? Ahem. Yeah, that was me. Constipated with the WORD OF GOD and a big flat TIRE. Tires? Yeah, more than one.
But let me tell you something, if you haven’t figured this out already. God doesn’t just use His Word to renew my mind and change me so I am more like Him. He BLESSES me with His Word. But is this just for my Parked-in-the-Pew little ole’ butt? Yeah, I’ve been told my butt isn’t that big. But parked butts are parked butts, right?
Anyway…..Anyhow…..God doesn’t change us just to change us. Nor does He bless us simply to bless us. He changes and blesses us to bless others, right? Well, that’s the easy, FOR DUMMIES like I can be, version of it. It’s a whole lot more than that, but you probably get my point. The PEW is not meant for parking – and parking – and just parking. The PEW is meant to VISIT and to then LEAVE until next time. And to DO something in between. Yes, God has a JOB for ME – and for YOU – to DO. And this job is not limited to Sundays, and it certainly is not limited to church pews. And it absolutely is not limited to CHURCH WALLS. In fact, WE – yes, that’s WE – are CALLED to GO OUT in the world to do something very, very important. Know what I’m talking about? Let me be specific. Very. In fact, I won’t speak for God. I’ll let HIM speak for HIM-self.
Mat 28:18 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Amen? Yeah, amen. Amen to the fact that this command FROM JESUS is pretty clear, pretty obvious, and pretty CONVICTING.
What, a good question might be, should I – and you – be doing BESIDES parking in the pew? What happens after you spend 15 minutes in the 15-minute only parking spot? If you’re being honest, and you do what’s right whether anyone is watching or not, you GO. And you move on, right? So where exactly are we supposed to go after we leave the PEW PARKING spot?
Ask Jesus. Better yet, LISTEN to Jesus. He said it. I didn’t. HE DID. And IS. The Lord is TELLING US what we are supposed to do when we are NOT parked in the pew.
That leads me to a very important question. Remember the Bible you brought to church on Sunday, or the Bible you forgot to take to church on Sunday, or the Bible you have never owned but really need to get a copy of? Or the Bible hidden under boxes in your closet that you need to TAKE to the church you KNOW you need to start going to?
Please don’t make the mistake I did. The BIG mistake. I was SO EAGER when I got my butt out of the pew to GO into the world and “help” that I ran ahead of God and left Him the dust. I needed some serious studying, some serious application of God’s Word in my life, some serious change in my heart, and some serious being disciple-d so that I could learn how to go out and do what I am called to do.
Yes, I was much like the car that goes from being parked for far too long to SCREECHING down the street at full speed – only to CRASH into who knows what, or to come to a SCREECHING-again halt when the cop pulls you over for speeding without a driver’s license. Let alone a learner’s permit. Yes, I’m an out of order woman by nature. Sometimes it’s a good thing, and other times it is clearly NOT.
Get the message?
Just where do you stand? Better yet, where are you PARKED?
* Are you parked in the pew?
* Have you made it to the pew at all?
* Are you racing down the street without a license – in serious need of some Bible teaching and training?
* Are you constipated with God’s Word?
* Or are you already out there, out in the world, DO-ing as Jesus commanded us?
Why not go before the Lord and see?
Oh Father, how glorious you are! You have a master plan! So many of us feel so lost sometimes. But you have a plan, and a purpose, for our lives. Please Lord use this devotional today to bring people to their knees in repentance, to bring your Truth to light in their hearts, and to lead them with your loving-kindness to follow you. I love you Lord! AMEN!