Do you sing in the car? If you don’t, you’re in the minority of Americans. According to researchers, 56 percent of people sing in their cars. I thought the number might even be higher. And what are people singing in their cars? A different study revealed that the most popular song to sing behind the wheel is “Achy Breaky Heart.” OK, that’s not actually true. That one is painful enough to listen to, let alone sing. No, occupying the top spot is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Whatever your favorite jam, why not use some of the time at those stoplights to raise your voice? Nobody’s going to care if you can be heard, right? Well, that’s what one Canadian man thought when he was rocking out to the ’90s dance tune, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).” The 38-year-old man was grooving to the beat when police suddenly pulled him over. Four, yes four, officers approached his car to ask him what he was doing. After a short exchange, they charged him with “Screaming in Public.” Is that really a crime? Hadn’t those officers ever gone to a sporting event? ANYWHERE? And just how bad was his singing?
The man’s fine was $117. He says he’s going to fight the ticket in court, though his wife might not be his best witness. She said that if it were his singing he was being fined for, it should have been $300!
The whole story just makes me smile, because here is a guy who is fully engaged. I certainly have done my share of singing with gusto while at the wheel, and still do, but typically if someone is coming up beside me, I bring it down a few notches. But not this guy. Apparently, the police were within earshot and he was still going after it.
Let that be a lesson for our church. Full engagement is a perfect description of what a Christ follower should look like. We should be giving it our all, at the top of our lungs, as it were. Our concern shouldn’t be for who is watching and our participation should not change based on what other people might think. Paul gives us our marching orders when he writes, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11).
So, how’s your spiritual fervor?
There are many reasons we need to be attentive to the level of our spiritual engagement. For one, it is a measuring stick of the depth of our relationship with Christ. No one who is partially engaged is thriving in godliness. No one who is sort of committed is defeating sin with consistency. Spiritual health goes hand-in-hand with the level of our engagement.
Another reason engagement is so vital is because Pathway is a church that relies on the active participation of its people to do the work of the ministry. There are simply too many classes and groups to be taught, too much worship to be led, too many needs to be addressed with only a skeletal crew of volunteers. We need you to be engaged.
In a recent passage we’ve studied in “The Real Thing” sermon series through the letter of 1 John, we saw that the people of the church are at different places in their spiritual walk and that we have a unique contribution to make depending on what that stage is. Not everyone can accomplish the same thing as everyone else because we’re at different levels of maturity, age, energy, and more. You can’t look around at the sea of people and conclude that there are many other people who could do the job you might otherwise do and just as effectively. You have been uniquely gifted and have a unique contribution to make.
I wonder, if someone pulled up next to you in life, what would they observe? Would it be excessive engagement? If being fully committed to Christ was against the law, would you be fined? Let’s go after it, whatever is required, for the sake of our own growth, for the church and for Christ.