In 1986, a child actor named Gary Coleman started in a Television program called “Diff’rent Strokes.’ His spunky attitude and signature catch phrase — “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” — endeared him to audiences and helped him gain more roles.
It may sound obvious to say that our words matter but I’m not convinced that we really believe that. I say that because we spend a lot of time talking about things that don’t matter. We talk about about sports, politics, how unfair the boss is or how busy we are.
In Luke 6, Jesus says that the mouth says what the heart feels. In other words…we talk about the things that matter to us. Think about it. If someone tracked our speech; what would be revealed that matters to you? Where would Jesus, faith, and God’s mission rank in the subjects that matter to you?
I believe it’s fair to say that Jesus needs a little more volume in your life. He shouldn’t be a rare sighting in your public life! In the book of Acts, Peter and John are told to quit talking about Jesus and they respond by saying that they cannot quit talking about what they have seen and heard! There are many times in life where courage to speak. Even the great Apostle Paul asked for prayer in Ephesians 6:20. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.
He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8am until midnight and is also the church janitor.
The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience.
Above all, he is handsome.
The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.
He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.
There is no question that our culture worships at the altar of success. We love rags-to-riches stories. We swallow the world’s lie that the person with the biggest bank account, largest mansion, most expensive car and who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a success.
In the “religious” world, the church with the largest congregation and the most elegant campus is considered a success. Churches compete with each other for recognition. TV evangelists [some, not all] pride themselves with their ratings. Pastors from the small, country churches feel inferior to the “big-city” pastor.
While I don’t believe that churches should compete against one another, I do believe we should do and be our best. We are told to be faithful not successful. Matthew 25:20 Sometimes faithfulness and “success” run on the same track but not always. Missionaries and pastors sometimes labor years without seeing the fruit of their labor.
As Christ-followers, we must remember we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each of us have our place of service in the Kingdom and it all works together. “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” I Cor. 3:5-9
This past Sunday, the Christian Church celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem prior to Easter Sunday. The story is so familiar to most of us, I am afraid that we have lost sight of the important due to the familiar.
The disciples had walked this familiar road many, many times. Jesus was familiar with this road as well. His parents took Him every year to the Passover Feast. But this year, this trip, everything was going to be different. All the travelers knew the road but only Jesus knew the journey.
Jesus had been trying to explain to His disciples what awaited them at the end of this journey but they never did grasp what Jesus was saying. They did not know this familiar trip was going to be anything but “familiar.”
Our lives are composed of many familiar “roads.” The student has a road that they are familiar with: meet bus 7:30 am, this class, that class, lunch, recess, etc. The worker has his familiar road: rush hour traffic, punch-in at 8:00, work eight hours, punch out, drive home, supper, etc.
But are you prepared for the journey? Jesus may detour your road by a coworker sharing they are facing a divorce and need your support. Jesus may have a student cross your familiar road with the news they are pregnant and want your advice. At any time, that “familiar” road may become a journey.
You may know the road but only Jesus knows the journey!