Saturday night I went camping with a friend, for a much needed bit of rest and relaxation. I seldom miss church - because I love being there. The Lord says that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together - and yet, I believe He loves and honors the little assembly we had around the campfire yesterday morning reading His word, as much as He does assembling as a large group in corporate worship. However, I have a tendency to impose legalistic thought processes on myself - and this often puts a damper on the freedom I should be experiencing in Christ.
His word spoke to me in our little "church" service. This was the verse we discussed sitting around the campsite - Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. - Proverbs 22:29 The verse came up in a section I was reading of Diana Waring's book, Reaping the Harvest. It made me think of how many things I do in my life at a "passable" standard, meaning good enough to get by, but not to the standard that would be called excellent. Then I started mulling over in my mind whether or not this means God expects us to excel at EVERYTHING we do - or that some things we just do to an average standard, and other things, as He has gifted us individually, are to be worked to an 'excellent' standard. Then the Lord brought to my mind the verse that we are to do everything we do as if we are working for the Lord, and not for man. So that our standard should be in all that we do to please God - not for the prasie of people, or even to have a good "work ethic" - but to please Him and Him alone. Wow! OUCH!
And I was reminded in that moment that He speaks to us anywhere. That is such an important lesson for me as I am about to dig up roots, and have explored recently my dependency on my church family, my pastor's teaching and even the worship time at our church. He is teaching me, with baby steps, that I can stand without anyone holding my hand other than Him. He is teaching me that fellowship with Him, and a body of believers doesn't have to look a certain way - it can be with a friend, while the smell of sausage wafts through the air, and a couple of half-asleep, bedraggled kids sitting on our laps, going over the word of God together.
Still. . . . . . . . . I can't wait for next Sunday!
Here is a picture of the beautiful lake beach, surrounded by mountains.