Fellowship, Family, Parties, and Time

My wife’s cousin had a graduation party yesterday. Nobody told me about it until we got home from church. Our church is having VBS (Vacation Bible School) this week and as part of VBS, we always bring in an adult speaker. Teens from another church come to run the children’s classes and nursery so that our adults and teens can sit through the sessions, then our teens will travel to another church to do the same later this summer. We have one of our favorite speakers this year, Dr. Patrick Mead. He’s doing a series this year on "Re-imagining the church", and it’s very enlightening. Somehow we interpreted the command "Go into all the world…." to mean "Put up buildings and invite people to them, then wonder why they rarely show up." Granted, we need buildings for various reasons. They are highly useful, but the building is not the church; the body of believers is. Patrick Mead made a comment I may adopt: "I believe in air conditioning; it’s one of the tenents of my faith." Anyway, if you’re interested, keep watching our website. You should be able to listen to the lessons once they’re posted.
That aside, we got back to my in-laws’ house after 11 AM from church. We’ve been staying there on weekends, and we had an open house yesterday, so not being in our house was a good idea. We had to be back at church by 6 PM for the evening session. I found out upon return to my in-laws’ house that we had a graduation party to go to at 2 PM, from which we would leave to go to church. There went my afternoon.
I got to thinking about it though. We had a busy day. Going to this party would make it even busier. We did go, of course. However, the family throwing the party hasn’t had time to come to one of our parties. We’ve invited them to several, but they always have something else to do no matter how much advance notice we send out. While we were at the party, I noticed that many other members of the family weren’t there, and most of those members never show up for parties. I thought of all the people from church that we’ve invited to parties, and most always have something else to do.
I’m honestly not sure what to make of it. I’ve studied time management for years. Hyrum Smith says that telling somebody "I don’t have time for this" is lying. When you say "I don’t have time" what you really mean is "I value another event during that time more." Time management is a value judgement, and I can respect that, but it can be hard not to take it personally when the same people always value another event more during the same time period as an event that you have invited them to share the time with you.
At one point, I was tempted to start refusing (or kindly ask my wife, who runs the social calendar) if we could stop going to events from people who never find ours important enough to come to. I haven’t though. There are worse things in the world to be known as than "the family who values spending time with other family when invited."


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