Like the married couple who’s celebrating their 25th Anniversary, but find themselves sitting across from each other at a fine restaurant with nothing to say. Like the factory worker who can do his job without even thinking because he’s done it so long, but yearns to find another career. Like the young woman who has a closet full of clothes, but, every morning, finds herself saying, “I have nothing to wear.” Familiarity breeds contempt.
Or in other words…
Time with, threatens appreciation for.
And I found this to be true with my relationship with God.
After participating in a countless number of services, Sunday School classes, Bible Studies, Summer Camps, Winter Retreats, and every other church activity you could think of, everything became so familiar.
The songs — Amazing Grace, Nothing But the Blood, How Great Thou Art, Refiner’s Fire, I Could Sing of Your Love Forever, Mighty to Save, Hosanna…the list goes on and on. I was familiar with them all.
The stories — Adam and Eve, The Exodus, Joseph, David and Goliath, Jonah and “The Whale,” Samson and Delilah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, The Walls of Jericho, The Birth of Jesus, The Prodigal Son, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection…so many stories. So much familiarity.
The verses — “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…,” “For God so loved the world…,” “For the wages of sin is death…,” “The Lord is my shepherd…,” “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…,” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” I had to memorize so many! And with memorization came even more familiarity.
And then I started organizing services, teaching Sunday School classes, facilitating Bible Studies, speaking at Summer Camps, and planning Winter Retreats, and leading every other church activity you could think of. This brought the familiarity with the songs, stories, verses, and all of the other things connected with church culture to a whole new level!
But if the truth be told, in the midst of it all there was very little awe.
Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of awe, but because of my familiarity with the content there was very little amazement, wonder and appreciation for the content.
My familiarity with the lyrics to the songs, many times, resulted in me singing without experiencing the life in the songs.
My familiarity with the practical applications of a Bible story, caused me to miss out on many of the powerful implications the story should have on my life.
My familiarity with all the things that Jesus said, led me to very rarely think about all the things that Jesus actually meant.
My familiarity with how to put on a service, very often, prevented me from participating in a service.
In hindsight, I realized…
As the things of God became more familiar, one’s awe of God can become unfamiliar.
Does your awe of God need to be rescued from familiarity?