From the age of 6 to 16, my parents started to vacation in the state of Maine. After renting a small cottage on Thompson Lake for a few years, a retired couple invited my family to stay in their A-Frame and Lodge. Subsequently, Maine became like a second home, spending several weeks there each August. While my birthday parties were small, I went fishing, golfing or running every day. Eventually, my parents found a church in Oxford, about a fifteen minute drive. To my pleasant surprise, this church ran like a clock, ending in 39 minutes every Sunday. As a teenager eager to fish or play golf, this priest kept my attention, always short and sweet.
When the congregation of the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and the devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, talking to them were urging them to continue in the grace of God, Acts 13:43.
During one of their missionary journeys, Paul and Barnabas experienced the exact opposite reaction. While preaching to a crowded synagogue in the region of Antioch in Pisidia, the audience in attendance did not work this service to end. After being dismissed, several Jews and converts to Judaism begged Paul and Barnabas to keep teaching. These souls were spiritually hungry, eager to learn more about the grace of God. This desire reminds me of a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus reveals two key priorities.
But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also, Matthew 6:33.
Spiritual hunger isn’t natural, but when individuals take time to pray, read the Bible or worship God, the Holy Spirit alters human priorities toward spiritual desires. Although I can’t recall ever wanting a church service to keep going, there are other moments in time that I didn’t want to end. Spiritual retreats, certain vacations and my Tentmaker Leadership Training were so life altering that I wanted to stay. Anytime you have to go back to reality is hard, especially if you are not happy with where you are in life. Nonetheless, when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you may find yourself like the service in Acts 13:43, not wanting church to end.
by Jay Mankus