One Sunday morning a pastor noticed that a certain farmer wasn’t in church. Because the farmer never missed a service, the pastor figured that something must be wrong. So after church he drove out to visit the man and found him working in a hay field. The pastor walked up to him and said, “We missed you in church this morning, brother. I hope nothing is wrong.” To that the farmer replied, “No, nothing is wrong, preacher. But I had this hay cut and lying on the ground and it looked like rain, and I figured it’d be better to be here and thinking about God than sitting in church worried about my hay.”
I’ll reserve judgment on where God would have had that farmer be that Sunday morning, but any pastor will tell you that a lot of people sit in church services and think about some kind of “hay.” Their minds aren’t really on worship. They don’t pay much attention to the Sunday School lesson or the sermon. They barely mouth the words during the singing. They couldn’t rename even half the prayer requests or the announcements. Their bodies are at their posts, but their minds are AWOL.
Is such a thing pleasing to God? Of course not. He wants more than mere zombies who dutifully report for roll call. Certainly this goes for church attendance, but it also goes for Bible study, prayer, witnessing, and giving. Any time we are engaged in doing any of these things, our minds should be fixated on the task at hand. No “hay” should divide our thoughts and focus. Remember this the next time you find your mind drifting as you try to do something for the Lord.