And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
The world can be a busy place -- so busy we sometimes need to set time priorities.
Certainly, that was the situation for the officials who were running the NCAA Softball Regionals. The third scheduled game of the day was between Louisiana Lafayette and Baylor. Looking for ways to keep things on time, it was decided they would forego the playing of the National Anthem.
The officials felt perfectly comfortable with their judgment. After all, hadn't the Anthem been sung at the beginning of the day's activities? Just as importantly, no official could find anything in any rulebook that demanded the singing of the nation's song before every one of the afternoon's softball battles.
The announcement was made to the crowd over the PA: "Because of time issues there will be no National Anthem before the game." The news was not met with pleasure by the fans. Indeed, it didn't take too long for representatives from the stands to voice an official protest.
They were told, "No, our decision stands. No Anthem will be sung."
As I said, the world is a busy place, and sometimes we have to make decisions as to how we are going to use our time. That's the way it was that day for the fans who had come to watch the game at Lansom Park. They made their decision. Without any music, without the use of the public address system, without a great deal of organization, the people sang the nation's Anthem. The players stopped and took off their caps; the umpires stopped and stood respectfully, while the people sang.
Many who were there that day were moved to tears, and no objections have been made about a misuse of time. Indeed, most agree it had been the right thing to do.
Now the only reason I bring this little story to your attention is because you and I make similar decisions about our use of time. For example, this is Thursday, and in a few days it will be Sunday. You will wake up and be confronted with numerous ways you could spend those hours.
Maybe the golf course beckons ... or you need to do some lawn work ... or the fish have been biting ... or a birthday needs celebrating ... or maybe you have to visit a sick relative. I don't know what is on your list of things to do, but I certainly hope attending worship is on that list.
Yes, I realize those other things need to be done, but worshipping the Lord whose Son died so we might be forgiven and granted a place in heaven is not a matter inconsequential. Now you can skip church, just like those fans could have skipped the singing of the Anthem. You can skip such things, and it won't be the end of the world.
But some things should be done -- even if they cost time -- because it is the right thing to do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, each of us has 24 hours in a day. Grant us the wisdom to use those hours wisely, so You may be glorified, and we may do that which is right. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries