“Once we reach the age of thirty, success has nothing to teach us. Success is fun and rewarding, but we don’t learn anything new from it. It’s not a bad friend; it’s just a lousy teacher. The only thing that can teach us, that can get through to us and profoundly change us, is suffering, failure, loss and wounds.” – Richard Rohr, cited in The Folly of Prayerby Matt Woodley
Sure it would. And if you observe a Lord’s Day devoted to worship and soul refreshment that is what you will have at the end of one year.
In our culture Sunday is the second Saturday of the week. Maybe it can be started slower than the busy Saturday errands, soccer games, children’s activities, lawn care, etc. But in the minds of many it is a second Saturday with an hour or so of worship as part of the mix.
But suppose we were more intentional about Sunday even as we are trying to balance our insane schedules. Suppose we honored the creational pattern of one day of rest. Suppose we committed to a couple of hours of Christian reading on Sunday afternoons. Suppose we went over our week’s calendar in prayer. Suppose we intentionally got away from the ever sqwaking TV and put on some Christian music. Suppose we listened to one Christian teacher over the net or on our iPod.
By the end of the year we would have had some extra weeks and days with Jesus. And it does take time to get to know someone, doesn’t it?
“I used to think it was a ‘cruel’ doctrine to say that troubles and sorrows were ‘punishments.’ But I find in practice that when you are in trouble, the moment you regard it as a ‘punishment’, it becomes easier to bear. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”
—C.S. Lewis, Answers to Questions on Christianity.
CS Lewi writes that our faith is not a matter of our hearing what Christ said long ago and trying to carry it out. Rather, “The real Son of God is at your side. He is beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself. He is beginning, so to speak, to ‘inject’ His kind of life and thought, His Zoe [life}, into you; beginning to turn the tin soldier into a live man. The part of you that does not like it is the part that is still tin.”
So John Calvin alludes to Augustine’s metaphor. Augustine further writes:
If God sits astride it [man’s will] then as a moderate and skilled rider, he guides it properly, spurs it if it is too slow, checks it if it is too swift, restrains it if it is too rough or too wild, subdues it if it balks, and leads it into the right path. But if the devil saddles it, he violently drives it far from the trail like a foolish and wanton rider, forces it into ditches, tumbles it over cliffs, and goads it into obstinacy and fierceness.
Do you think this is your job, to meddle in these people’s lives? I know what they teach you at seminary now: this psychology and that. But I don’t agree with it. You think now your job is to be an unpaid doctor, to run around and plug up holes and make everything smooth. I don’t think that. I don’t think that’s your job…. I say you don’t know what your role is or you’d be home locked in prayer…. In running back and forth you run away from the duty given you by God, to make your faith powerful…. When on Sunday morning, then, when you go out before their faces, we must walk up not worn out with misery but full of Christ, hot with Christ, on fire: burn them with the force of our belief. This is why they come; why else would they pay us? Anything else we can do and say anyone can do and say. They have doctors and lawyers for that…. Make no mistake. Now I’m serious. Make no mistake. There is nothing but Christ for us. All the rest, all this decency and busyness, is nothing. It is Devil’s work. John Updike