The game was exciting. Solid defense. Explosive offense. Both teams were battling out and when time expired, the score was tied. They took it into overtime … the big OT. And as the cameras scanned the crowd, no one had gotten up and headed to the cars. They were staying there. They were excited. They were cheering and shouting and emotionally invested in what was going on.
You know what I mean, it is the thrill we long for. And no one complains.
But it is interesting when it happens at church. Go a little long … people look at their watches (even if they don’t have one). People tap their foot and get that antsy look. Some even go ahead and leave in order to get to Babe’s Chicken or Olive Garden before the crowd.
One time I was preaching on a Sunday morning and my wife was traveling back from a distant event all by herself. I can’t remember if the weather was bad or what, but I told her to text me as soon as she arrived home safely. A little after noon, I got the text while I was in the pulpit. I looked at my phone to read the text (smaller church pastors with unusual pulpit mannerisms can get away with some stuff TV preachers never can). I read the text and told the church she was home safe. I even joked, “I will wrap this up now since I know my wife is home.”
It was then my chair of the Deacons said out loud, “If I knew that’s what it would take, I would’ve texted you 15 minutes ago.”
Why is it this way? Why do we not care if a sporting event or a concert goes a bit long, but let the service slip 10 extra minutes and people are all talking about it while in line waiting for a table at Cracker Barrel? We even cry out for extra concert time … encore, encore, lift those lighter apps and show that screen light high. (most people don’t carry lighters anymore.)
Maybe one day, I will wrap up the exposition of the text, lay out those great tweetable quotes, get ready for the benediction … and then, the congregation cries more, more – keep on preaching, read more Scripture … and so on.
Every preacher can dream, can’t we?