She looks at the clock. They are already fifteen minutes late, but they can still catch the majority of the service. Pastor won't notice them sneaking onto the back pew if they plan their entry just right. So away the Jones' go to church. The kids complain the whole way along with John who is wondering why he gave up his Sunday morning for this fiasco. Sure, God is important, but church is full of hypocrites who claim Christianity but don't really live it. Either that, or church houses the over-zealot crazies that only want to judge you. Clearly not his scene. No, he's more comfortable having a beer with his office pals. He's more relaxed hanging out with "the guys" and talking sports than getting friendly with those whacks who sing in the choir. Sensing John's reluctance, Jane puts her hand on his arm and says, "I feel the same way you do... but we really should go to church. It's the right thing to do."
They get to church and rush around to drop the kids in their respective Sunday school classrooms. Then, hand in hand, John and Jane duck into the back of the sanctuary while the audience bows their head in prayer. The singing has just ended and the offering is about to take place. John sits down and realizes the offering plate is being handed down his pew. He rolls his eyes. "Ugh. Now I have to give money?" He rationalizes quickly inside, "No, we can't afford it. Joey needs braces and little Julia needs money to continue her ballet lessons. Too much is happening. We can give "someday" - when the kids are grown and life is less complicated." The offering plate is passed by and Jane embarrassingly looks away from the person she is sitting next to. The soloist finishes her rendition of a familiar hymn while the ushers finish their duties. Then, the sermon begins. Both John and Jane give their pastor a few moments to impress them, but the sermon doesn't appear to be "blow you away good". In fact, it is far from entertaining. So, John subtly finds his most inconspicuous upright sleeping position and dozes off, his head bobbing up and down while falling in and out of consciousness for the next thirty minutes. Jane, however, stays awake - but has also stopped listening to the message. Her eyes are glazed over as her mind races elsewhere. She is thinking about her coming week. She elbows John who let out a heavier breath - worrying he may start snoring. Then she wonders if John will want to go out to eat afterward. She hopes so, because she has not prepared to cook for the family later.
The service concludes and John and Jane run out of the sanctuary to get the kids. However, they take an indirect route around the pastor who is shaking hands. No time to chat. Their goal: to leave the building quickly and get to their favorite restaurant in record time so they don't have to wait for a table. Once the kids are picked up, they say a few superficial "hello's" to one or two familiar faces on their quest to the car. Then off they go. Jane feels relieved that they made it to church this week. John is happy to finally start his day off from work. The kids, however, have questions about their Sunday school lessons and want to talk. Unfortunately, both parents are tired and feel ill-equipped to answer such deep questions about the Bible. So, they quickly distract the children and change the subject with "what's on the radio" and "what do you want to order for dinner"? Questions averted. Onto the restaurant they go. "Oh good," Jane squeals as they pull into the restaurant parking lot, "We beat the church crowd!" This is Sunday.
By Tuesday, the week has blossomed into turbo mode for the Jones Family. Both John and Jane live more like two passing ships in the night as they busy themselves with work, chores, kids, etc. Jane is busy juggling her part-time day job along with being a wife and mother. John is working late hours every night struggling to stay ahead. He worries that there never seems to be enough money. Jane worries about this too because she is in charge of paying the bills... not really because she wants the job, but because John let's things go into collection before paying on time. But she knows that her way is not much better. Over many months, she has quietly overspent rather than managed their funds - making purchases that have increased their credit card debt to match the equivalent cost of a new car. John's method is don't ask questions about money. Rather he buys whatever he wants until the wife complains or the credit card is denied. In the back of their minds, they both know that they should be more financially organized and budget out their income. They know that they are living paycheck to paycheck and jumping out of a proverbial plane without a parachute or plan. But right now, too much is going on to think about stewardship. They just have to keep their heads above water so they can make that Disney vacation a reality for the kids next summer. Someday they will get their act together and plan out retirement and giving to the poor and needy. Someday.
On Thursday, life continues as normal. Jane calls John on his cell and asks him to pick-up fast food for the third time this week. She has juggled too much and is too tired to think about cooking for her family. John rolls his eyes but complies. When everyone is finally home for the evening, the family spends their time congregating in front of the television while devouring their super sized meals. Under John's elevated feet lying on the coffee table is a big, family NIV Bible. During a commercial break, Jane runs to get the kids soda. John looks down at the Bible and thinks, "Someday we really should read through the Bible together as a family." Of course, John knows that he has never read through the whole Bible - nor has Jane. It is just so hard to study - and too difficult to understand. Perhaps they will rent a Christian DVD this weekend to make up for it. The commercial ends and John's attention is back in his favorite detective show. Jane knows the show is too violent for the kids to be watching. But they are finally being quiet, so perhaps she'll just let it go. Someday they will need to correct the error of exposing their kids to all that crap on television. Someday they will set a good example and teach them God's word about violence and sex... but not tonight. Tonight, Jane is more interested to see if the leading man and leading woman of her favorite television show will finally "hook up" as a couple and leave their evil spouses. Tonight, she wants to be dazzled by their high fashion and enjoy the comical wit of the supporting cast members - especially that new homosexual side-kick. Yes, that guy is soooo funny.
By Friday, Jane remembers that she scheduled plans to meet for dinner with some old girlfriends from college. Thankfully, John's mother offered to watch the kids so she could go out without dumping more on John. He would only complain if he had to take care of the children by himself. She quietly thinks, "What a loser... he can't even spend time alone with his own children." She hooks up with her girlfriends at a nearby pub and orders a cocktail... not because she likes to drink, but because all her girlfriends are drinking. The evening develops and Jane finds herself bad-mouthing John. Why? Because all her friends are also gossiping about their men. Each of them expresses dissatisfaction with their husband. Some are casually mentioning plans for divorce. Some have admitted having an affair with their co-worker - someone who finally "gets" them. Jane loves John, but she is really thinking about how he has let her down in so many ways. He is clearly not the prince charming she had envisioned for herself. And though he claims to be a Christian, he doesn't do anything "Christian". Surely she should be with a guy who loves the Lord and acts on it. Yes, if only her husband would do what the Bible says, she would be more spiritual. She would be a better person. Someday, she would discuss this with John. At least she hoped she would. But for now, she will surround herself with her girlfriends. They understand her. They can relate to her complaints and have good advise for her to stand up for her rights with John. "He better shape up or someday I may have to leave him for a younger man," she vocalizes playfully. With that, the waitress brings her another drink and says, "Courtesy of the cute guy sitting across the room." Jane blushes.
It is midnight on Saturday and Jane has not yet come home. John's mother left after the kids went to bed and John is alone - waiting for his wife to return from her night with the girls. This was a hard work week and he's so glad the weekend is finally here. As he grabs another beer from the fridge, he stumbles over something. Frustrated, he begins looking at the condition of their home and realizes that nothing has been done. It is in complete disarray. John angrily realizes that he is the only one "that does any work around here!" He starts to pick up as he walks to his home office, then finally gives up in disgust. He sits down at his computer and begins to play his favorite video game. While playing, an email pops up on his screen advertising an inappropriate website. The pornographic image attachment shows a young girl barely dressed. John knows that he should immediately delete the email, but cannot stop looking at the image. For a moment, he considers Jane's feelings... then God... then Jane again. The second thought of Jane is not about her feelings, however. John is thinking over the ramifications if she found out. What would happen? He maneuvers his mouse over the attached link and debates pushing down with his index finger. Then he hears the garage door opening. Jane is home. He scrambles to turn off the computer before she enters... before he gets caught. Jane enters the house and it is evident by looking at her that she is a little drunk. John questions her about her evening and Jane begins to show annoyance. The fight progresses and Jane begins to tell John how unhappy she is in their marriage by listing all the ways he has failed her. Defending himself, John ignores what Jane is saying and starts blaming her for their pitiful sex life, their screwed-up finances, their horrible life in general. Exhausted, they both separate into different rooms and go to bed.
By morning, the two have apologized to one another. Not because either actually felt sorrow over their own actions - nor because either had any intention to change their ways. They apologized to keep the peace for the kids... to set a good, Christian example. The rest of the day was about ignoring one another and more about goofing off in the house. Jane spent the day organizing her closet and shopping on QVC. John spent the day mowing the lawn and tuning his motorcycle. The kids payed Nintendo. When evening came, Jane decided to take the high road and organized a "family night" together. They ordered pizza and laughed over a game of Uno. By the end of the night, John and Jane were in bed together and discussing there life. Jane insisted that they go to church tomorrow. "We really need more of God in our lives, John." John agreed. They fall asleep in each other's arms - happy that they had mended their issues.
Sunday morning again, Jane wakes up a half hour later than she wanted. She lays in bed wondering if she should bother to get the family up and moving so they can go to church. But John looks so peaceful sleeping. And the bed is really comfortable this morning. She rationalizes that it would be better for their marriage to stay home and snuggle in. God will understand. Church will be there next week. She rolls over and falls back to sleep. And so the week begins.
This is the life of the Jones Family. This is the average "Christian" home in America. But is this Christian? Is this how Christ would live if present in our hearts? Or would we be more? Would we be different? Would we be holier? Would we be NEWER? Are we too busy making excuses to live for Jesus at a later date? And if so, when will that date come... when will that "someday" arrive?
Something to think about. Something to pray over. Something to act upon in Jesus Name this very day... not someday. I encourage you to choose whom you will serve. Furthermore, I implore you to consider what day you will serve Him! Will it be today... or someday?
© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson