You probably know this story, but I’m going to bring it out from the archives of my memory because as I was reading the Word this morning, it came back to me.
Henry was a painter and often he would thin his paint so as to make it go further. So when the Church decided to take care of some long over-do maintenance and asked Henry to put in a bid. Because of his practice of watering down his paint, he was able to put in the low bid, and got the job. As always, he thinned his paint way down with turpentine.
One day while he was up on the scaffolding — the job almost finished — he heard a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened.
The downpour washed all the thinned paint off the church and knocked Henry right off his scaffold and onto the lawn among the gravestones and puddles of thinned and worthless paint.
Henry knew this was a warning from the Almighty, so he got on his knees and cried: “Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?”
And from the thunder, a mighty voice said: “REPAINT! REPAINT! AND THIN NO MORE!”
I know… it’s old. But you have to admit you got a little chuckle out of it. Well, that’s what I thought of as I started reading the book of Judges. Here’s what I read…
“After a while the people of Joshua’s generation died, and the next generation did not know the LORD or any of the things He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10 CEV
When Moses lead the people of Israel, they worshipped God. When Joshua lead the people of Israel, they worshipped God. Now after Joshua died and as time went on, they stopped worshipping God. And as the next generation came, they didn’t even know God. From generation to generation, God just faded away.
We see the same thing in church today – this watering down effect. Let’s just take worshipping on Sunday. You’ve had a horrendous week. It’s taken it’s toll on you, so come Sunday morning, you just decide God will understand and you’ll just sleep in. Sound familiar? No one will miss you and what’s the big deal of missing one time?
Well, you know where this is going, don’t you? I grew up in a time when unless you were on your deathbed, you didn’t miss worshipping on Sunday morning. What we’ve discovered about Christians today is: worshipping once a month is now the new norm. You know where this one’s going to, don’t you?
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Thin no more! Doesn’t matter if it’s Sunday morning worship, personal Bible Study, Small Group, Prayer… Bottom line – “the Israelites stopped worshipping the LORD.” What’s our next generation going to do?
Start with me. Help me to be a worshipper, a prayer, a constant learner of You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.