The story is told of a congregation who was having trouble with the preacher preaching too long. They and the preacher decided that they would buy a gavel and after one hour, someone would tap on the pew to signal that time was up. The first night a young boy manned the gavel, but after one hour, the boy was too embarrassed to use it so the preacher continued to preach on. The congregation looked sternly at the boy. He became so angry that he tried to hit the pew with a loud knock; however, as he came down with the gavel, he hit the person on the head sitting in front of him. The wounded member, as he was falling over in his seat said, “Hit me again, I can still hear him!”
All humor aside, it is alarming how people sometimes can’t seem to sit in worship for an hour or so in a comfortable, air conditioned building, yet they have no problem sitting on hard bleachers under a hot sun or in the bitter cold to watch a three and a half hour football game. It just depends on where your heart is (cf. Matt. 6:21). The Israelites stood from daylight until midday while Ezra read aloud to them from the
Law of Moses (Neh. 8:1-8). They wanted to hear it. While in Troas, Paul preached until midnight (Acts 20:7). This was important.
In the spirit of Matthew 26:40, imagine Jesus saying to you, “What, could you not worship me one hour?” Friends, where would you rather be?