In a post this past week, Pastor Freed used this quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog – “The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do.” (Andrew Carnegie)
Later in that same post Jack quoted Edgar Guest, a poet from Detroit’s past , who wrote, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”
In this “high season” of political ads, we are certainly hearing many sermons from both sides. Since many, if not most, of the ads are negative in nature, if one only listened to them it would appear that no matter who we elect all is lost. The sermons being aired by both sides would tell us that both have put up a bunch of incompetent, unscrupulous scallywags for the offices that are up for votes. It is perhaps most important this year to look back at what the candidates have done and not just listen to the sermons in their ads..
But, what of our own lives? Certainly, people hear what we say. Nevertheless, do our actions match our words? What sermons do we deliver with what they see us doing each day? They may hear us saying, “I am not a racist”, but do they see that in the diversity of our friends and acquaintances and our actions towards people of color? Do they see an accepting and empathetic supporter of correcting racial injustices or can they see a frightened person of privilege trying to hold on to the advantages that they enjoy. Do your actions speak of acceptance of people of differing sexual orientation or of unfounded fears and loathing? What sermon about your concern for the welfare of others does your choice to not wear a mask in pubic or to not social distance say about you? You are preaching a sermon each day you are alive. What sermon will you be preaching today?
We have all been admonished that how we live our lives tells the world who we are and we have been given clear guidance in the Bible.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. … (Colossians 3:12-17)
And again in Ephesians 4: 29-32 –
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
What kind of sermon would your life be if you lived by those words? Wouldn’t you rather that the sermon of your life be judged because of its adherence to those pieces of advice in your actions and the choices that you make? If the sermon of your life is not being based upon advice from the Bible, what book are you using for a script? Think about what people will see you doing today. What sermon will you be preaching?
Have a great weekend. We’ll be watching your sermon.