I believe in the value of Sunday evening services. But my belief in their value is not evenly distributed across the Lord’s Day. I believe in them a lot at 7:00 PM, just after the service has come to a conclusion. I believe in them far less at 4:30 PM when I have to pry my weary body off the couch, get in the car, and drive to church. I believe in evening services far more a half hour after they’ve ended than a half hour before they’ve begun.
I believe in the value of prayer meetings and even of dedicating a full morning to corporate prayer. But I believe in our morning of prayer more at 12:30 PM than 6:30 AM. I’ve never once regretted participating, but I’ve often been tempted not to. Though I’ve always come home joyful, I’ve often gone out grumbling. I believe in prayer meetings far more after they’ve ended than before they’ve begun.
I believe in exercise more after I’ve finished it than before I’ve broken a sweat. I believe in spending special times with the kids more as we walk back into the house than as we set out. I believe in calling that person more after I’ve hung up than before I’ve pulled out my phone.
In so many ways and in so many areas, belief and enthusiasm follow rather than precede. In so many ways, the good life, the godly life, demands thinking of the end in order to motivate the action. Too often we deny blessings to ourselves and others because we think more of the friction that precedes an action than the reward that follows it.