Auditing Church

I squirmed in my pew as the minister delivered the punch line to his message. My pencil poised mid-air over my notes. The topic doesn’t matter so much as what I was going to do with it.

MH900442442Could I just “audit” church? You know, like in college. You sit through a semester’s class and hear the lectures without the professor awarding a grade for comprehension or application.

After all, auditing a class has advantages. Nothing is required of you except to sit and listen. Actually, even that isn’t required. You can arrive at the appointed hour or not as you choose. Neither do you have to read the material, complete assignments, or take exams. For all anyone know or cares, information goes in one ear and out the other.

Then, why spend the time?  In my experience, students audit a class for either the fun of learning without any intention of using it toward a major or to avoid the risk of a poor grade if the subject is too challenging for them.

The disadvantage to auditing a class? You don’t receive credit toward graduation.

With that sobering thought, I re-consider “auditing” church and the faith. The apostle James points me to what my squirming in the pew tells me.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re a listener when you are anything but letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear… (James 1:22-23, The Message)

During challenging seasons of her life, I often heard my sister say, “I hope I learn the lesson God intends with this struggle because I sure do not want to repeat it.” So, I decide against auditing the pastor’s message.

My pencil finds its way back to my sermon notes and scribbles the point I wanted to forget. I even jot a few ways I can act on the message.

Can you remember a time when you wanted only to “audit” the Word?

…whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God–the free life–even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it,…will find delight and affirmation in the action. (James 1:22-23, The Message)

©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.

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About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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