Our pastor never talked too long. Messages at the church I attended in Alabama were televised and broadcast all across the country. You could set your watch by the pastor’s closing prayer– 11:58 a.m. each Sunday. We were never late for lunch.
Today I don’t think many pastors even wear watches. I don’t remember the last time a sermon I listened to ended on time. By 11:30 my stomach is growling and I’m already scrolling through the restaurant menu in my mind and praying–for the benediction.
Isn’t that so much like church goers these days? We’re more concerned about finding a parking place close to the door at the restaurant than hearing our pastors reveal God’s word to us.
Not so for God’s people back in Nehemiah’s day after their return to Jerusalem from exile. In Nehemiah Chapter 8, Nehemiah said,
“So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate.”
Did you catch that? From daybreak till noon!
. . .”as he opened the book of the law, the people all stood up.”
The people stood up.
The people stood up!
Then they bowed their faces to the ground and praised God.”
. . .”For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.”
They wept because hearing God’s law made them aware of their wretchedness and the depth of their sin.
What do WE do? We fidget when the pastor talks a few minutes past dinner time.