Boy, was I wrong. In fact, the title of this magazine was wrong. This was not country living it depicted. It was some wealthy people who decided they wanted to get out of town and thought the peace and quiet would be wonderful, but only a few minutes a day of it. I know them personally. We have several within a mile of us. One of their homes (well, it might as well have been one of the ones near us) was showcased in a ten page spread so you could copy their decorating schemes. Notice these items:
Plank floors in a 15 x 20 kitchen--(Are they planning to square dance in it?)
A pedestal sink in the "powder room"--(A powder room? A mud room out in the country, maybe, but forget powdering your nose if you're going out to the garden in June or July.)
Cabinet hardware at $25 each piece--(A $25 cabinet knob? I mean, really, all you do is pull the thing, and sometimes you still have some of that garden mud on your hands when you do.)
$35 each throw pillows in an all-white room--(An all-white room in the country? Where there are no sidewalks and you have to walk through the mud to get to the steps?)
$1400 each wicker chairs on the front porch--(I couldn't relax just walking ten feet away from a $1400 chair, much less sitting in it. And no one in their right mind would shell peas or shuck corn in it. So what's it good for?)
No, this is not country living. It is mere pretense. In fact, our experience has been that these are the folks who pack up and head back into town (a 50-60 mile round trip) 5 or 6 days a week to go shopping, play a round of golf or a set of tennis, have lunch with the girls, or get a manicure. The only thing they do in the country is sleep. Try inviting them to help with hog-slaughtering day in return for a share of the meat and watch them melt into a pale puddle of angst.
But—take a look around you on Sunday morning and you will find that this magazine isn’t the only place for pretenders. Some people go to church because you are "supposed to." That's what good, moral people do. I grew up around a lot of folks like that. Some choose a place out of convenience, not because they believe what it teaches. Others go because their parents raised them that way, not out of any real conviction. Some go for the benefits—people come see you when you're sick, someone will always help out if you have a need, and there is always a preacher handy for weddings and funerals.
So let's think about it this morning. Why am I where I am on Sunday mornings? If I can't come up with an answer beyond the ones above, I just might have a problem. I might be no more a Christian than those folks I know who are not "country people," no matter where their home happens to be located. God expects a commitment—one of the heart, one of faith, one of understanding what you believe and why, and being willing to stand up for it.
God expects Christians who really are.
“As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’ And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lovely songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. (Ezek 33:30-32)