Twelve Hours Before

What happens at your house the twelve hours before the alarm goes off on Sunday morning?

We learned many years ago that a calm Saturday evening was crucial for our Sundays to go smoothly. Sundays are so full of activity and people that it is necessary for my husband to have a ‘people free’ zone on Saturday evenings if at all possible. It just makes Sundays go smoother.

For years, the hardest part about 'the twelve hours before' for me was making sure I knew where all my kid’s clothes and shoes were. Why one shoe always seemed to go missing on Saturday is still a mystery! But, searching the house for that wandering shoe on Saturday evening was a lot less stressful than frantically tearing the house apart on Sunday morning.

In recent years, I have come to terms with the fact that Saturday nights are often ‘work nights’ for me. The last minute powerpoint details are double checked and fine-tuned for the sermon. Church-related mail that arrived over the weekend is put in a pile to either put in the church office or deliver to someone in the morning. I make out our offering check and add that to the growing pile. When those details are taken care of the only things left are 

1) What’s for lunch tomorrow? 

and 

2) Is my Sunday School lesson ready?

I’m not proud of it, but I often find myself putting together my Sunday School lesson on Saturday night. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it on and off all week. But the procrastination must now cease, and all the ideas that have been swirling through my head must be pulled together into an organized lesson. 

It is always a blessing when the class is working through a particular theme and there is a carryover from the prior week’s material. It's when the series is done that a new set of challenges begins. I often don’t know which topic to turn to next. Eventually, a bright idea comes bubbling to the surface bringing a surge of new ideas. The hunt is then on for relevant – and Biblical – material to share with the class. Props are gathered from around the house. Pictures, handouts or mini-quizzes are printed. The excitement mounts at the prospect of sharing with the class in just a few hours! I don’t deserve God’s continued grace in this area of my life, but I am truly thankful for it!

Ephesians 5:15 encourages us to “Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” The context is in our daily choices toward sin and ultimately living to please God. Am I always wise with my time? No. I miss opportunities. I don’t always make wise choices – procrastination being one of those not so wise moments in life. In the midst of my humanity, though, my goal is to make ‘the most of every opportunity.’ Making that a reality is the challenge and that’s okay. It’s part of the journey.

So, what is your challenge the twelve hours before your alarm goes off? Is it getting a good night’s sleep? Is it making snacks for Sunday School or figuring out what you have in the freezer that could be Sunday’s lunch? Do you procrastinate like me in preparing for a class – whether a teacher or a student? Or, are you constantly on a search for clothes that are clean, aren’t too tight and you actually feel like wearing? It’s actually pretty humorous to think about all we often do to ‘prepare for church.’ My advice – keep it as simple as possible. Watch out for the challenge areas where Satan would like to trip you up and create stress in your home and heart.

Take heed of Paul’s advice in Ephesians 5:15 and ‘Be very careful, then, how you live.’ Take a moment to consider what you can do to simplify your Saturday nights to help your Sundays be a more joyful and stress-free experience. I have a feeling your pastor will thank you, and you’ll be blessed as well!





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