2005-08-30 - As Fast As These Poor Old Legs Can Carry Me
Originally Published 2001-12-01
Psalm 84:10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Have you ever thought about this verse? It seems like a very pious statement that David is making here. He says that he would be willing to take the position of a doorkeeper in God's house. The doorkeeper certainly is one of the hardest positions you could hold in the house of God, but I don't think this is why David chose this position. The reason, I think, that David mentions this position, is because the doorkeeper was always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the sanctuary. To be the doorkeeper meant being the one who opened up and closed up. David's desire was to be in the house of God, and if he could, for as long as possible.
This past Sunday, I was disturbed by how many people were late to the church service. It amazed me that when the service began, less than 25% of those who eventually came were seated and ready for worship. The distraction of having people come in during the service made it very hard to focus for at least the first 15 minutes. I know it is hard to be on time for worship, but I have been wishing all week that there were more Davids who long to be in God's house early.
The construction of older churches versus modern churches is interesting to compare, in respect to time. Older churches would place a large clock outside the church, so that everyone would know how much time they had to get into the church before the service began. Today churches are built with the clocks inside, so that the pastor is reminded not to keep the people too long. I used to preach at a small Presbyterian church in Pennsylvania. There was a clock at the back of the sanctuary that always reminded me of the time. Invariably when I would enter the sanctuary, several well-meaning ladies would remind me not to go too long, because they had lunch reservations for noon. As you might imagine, my response was to always stretch things out well past noon. It drove them nuts. As noon approached more and more closely, you could see them squirm, as if they had ants in their pants. I loved every minute of it. What these ladies lacked, it seems, was a real joy to be in the sanctuary, with God's people, worshiping the Lord. It is a true mystery, but God desires our praise and worship, and it ought to be our great delight to honor Him with being on time - or even early. Going to the market, work, dinner, or anywhere, be as late as you like -- but let us honor God by being on time to worship Him.
When Ridley and Latimer were walking to the stake to be burned for their faith in Christ, Latimer, who was much older than Ridley, turned to his friend, quickened his pace greatly and said, "Have after, as fast as my poor old legs can carry me." He was walking to his burning as fast as he possibly could. Such should be our attitude as we attend worship: "I will enter the sanctuary as fast as my poor old legs can carry me." I do believe that kind of eagerness is pleasing to the Lord, and we owe Him nothing less than our best.
Soli Deo Gloria,