Part Two: Bellybutton Lint (At the Center of Things)Everyone has a bellybutton. They’re not the most attractive part of our anatomy. They serve as a testimony of our humaneness, our need for nourishment and attachment from the womb and beyond. Our navels are also symbolic of the center of things in our lives, and the stuff that tends to accumulate there and throw us off track. Welcome to part two of the “40 Days of Lint.”
Day Nine: In the Middle of CampA while back a young friend of ours asked, “Why do you want to go to church when you’re on vacation?” It seemed strange to him that we would waste our morning with a bunch of strangers when we could be out having fun. I’m glad he asked; it has helped me confirm all over again why I love to go to church.
To me, it’s not about being fed, although I do enjoy lively discussions in Sunday school and powerful sermons. It’s not about the music, even though I love to worship with live accompaniment and singing with fellow believers (even those I don’t’ know). However, more than that, church is an expression of who I am – a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. The Church is my family. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in Tillamook, Mexico, or the Philippines. It’s a joy to gather in the presence of the Lord with brothers and sisters, reminding each other that God is on the throne. It puts everything in perspective.
During the week, things can get out of whack. The frustrations of everyday life can become the focus instead of God. I need to remember He is all-powerful, all-merciful, all-loving, ever-faithful. When we don’t go to church regularly, we miss the opportunity to share our praises and needs, and be energized by what God is doing in the lives of others. We miss the joy of the hope of heaven.
That’s why God told Moses and Aaron to have the Israelites set up camp surrounding the tent of meeting with the portable church and the priests camped in the middle.
“ ‘The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.’ …the tent of meeting and the camp of the Levites will set out in the middle of the camps” (Numbers 2:1-2 &17).
That way, they wouldn’t get distracted by whatever “Thelma and Ernest” and their seven kids were doing in the tent in front of them. Every family faced the holy place where God came down to speak to Moses. If they paid attention, they could see when the Spirit of God descended. Pretty exciting view! They knew when the pillar of cloud or fire rose from the tent signifying it was time to move on.
That leads me to ask, “Which way is your tent facing?” Are you distracted because your focus is on others? Does the holy presence of God descend unnoticed as you gaze dejectedly into the desert? How do you know when it’s time to stay put and when to get going? What does the banner say that flies above your home? Is God in the middle of your camp?
It’s so easy to let work, sports, entertainment, or education set up camp in the middle of our lives. Those things are great, but when they push God and church attendance to the sidelines, we lose our most important family connection. We need to be accountable to each other, maintain our focus, and lean on each other in the journey.
Lint Removed: Centering on the Wrong Things
Cleaning Process: Gather Around God and His House