Lowell Ogden tells the story of a little boy who lived out in the country around the turn of the century. He had never seen a traveling circus, and one was coming to his town on Saturday. The lad asked his father for permission to go and his dad said that he could, providing his chores were done early. Saturday morning came. Chores finished, the little boy asked his father for some money so he could go to the circus. His dad reached down in his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill, the most money the boy had ever seen at one time.
Off the little wide-eyed fellow went. As he approached the town, he saw people lining the streets. Peering through the line at one point, he got his first glimpse of the parade. There were animals in cages and marching bands. Finally, a clown was seen bringing up the rear of the parade. The little boy was so excited that when the clown passed, he reached in his pocket and handed him the precious dollar bill. Thinking he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade, the little boy turned around and went home.
How sad it is that some people come to church like this little boy who went to the circus? They may come with the intent to worship God, but all they see is the parade—the parade of hymn singing, prayers, communion and preaching. They peer through their pews at all the activity and then turn to go home. They think they have been to God’s house, but yet they missed the main event—a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
Contributed by: Donald Hart