Over the nearly forty years now of my career in education, not counting the years of my own actual schooling, I’ve been to more than a few trainings. Many consisted of mandatory in-service days. Some of those focused an entire day or three on a specific topic; others utilized a series of short sessions. A few of them involved a whole week. Sometimes the ones that lasted two hours seemed like a whole week.
Along with the variegated time segments, there was at least as much variation in the perceived effectiveness and pain thresholds represented as well. Some were quite engaging and others had all the inherent magnetism of watching paint peel off a rotten fencepost. Some presenters read their entire presentation from the manual that had just been handed out to the attendees. Others talked about something of apparent great interest and importance to them that was completely unrelated to the topic or description listed in the program. I’ve been in sessions that were truly engaging and worthwhile and some that seemed to be an utter waste of time and energy.
One thing I’ll admit, though, is that I was almost never bored when the topic at hand was something of genuine interest to me. Even when the presenter’s style was rather bland, his or her voice a bit lacking in inflection or the graphs and charts a bit plain, I could still find something either in the presentation or the handouts to pique my interest a bit. That didn’t mean I suddenly offered my accolades or lied to people about how wonderful the session was; it just meant that I recognized that my own interest was a pertinent factor.
I can’t help wondering if maybe God makes similar observations when folks start nodding off at church or decide that they’d rather play golf on a Sunday morning. Then again, as preacher maybe I should just figure that I need to put a bit more effort into the delivery. Sometimes that fine sword of logic cuts in both directions, doesn’t it?!