I watched an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” today and it reminded me of an important principle for preachers, Bible teachers and personal workers alike.
The episode was titled, “The Sermon for Today” and it centered around a visiting preacher from New York. This visiting preacher preached a sermon called, “Watch Your Hurry” and the topic was exactly what you might think it would be … it was about the “modern day” obsession with being busy and the need for people to stop hurrying and remembering to relax. The lesson was so “soothing” a couple of the listeners comically fell asleep.
So what principle did this episode remind me about? It was about the importance of remembering your audience. The listeners definitely understood the lesson because they referenced it several times throughout the episode (even if they didn’t properly apply it), but if you were to ask me I think the preacher forgot his audience. His audience wasn’t the hurrying people of New York; his audience was the people of the sleepy little town of Mayberry, North Carolina.
I was blind but now I see. Spiritually near-sightedness. The light of the world. Clarity of sight equated to responsibility.
From the songs we sing, to the emphasis of the biblical writers we read such as Matthew, Peter, Paul and especially John (be mindful this list is not all of the authors who could be included), the way we spiritually perceive things affects numerous areas in our life. Our ability to spiritually see, to focus and to follow reveals our values, our motivations, our principals and even our attitude about self and others.
I was recently reminded about all of the above truth while watching a very secular source – an old episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour! I encourage you to watch the episode and see if you can figure out how the episode will end. Your conclusion, compared to the show’s conclusion, may help you better see what I’m saying … it did for me.
“So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.” (Mark 8:23-25 NKJV)
#sight #media #illustration
A Nashville woman once told me, “Brother So-and-so is my favorite preacher; he is such a good story teller.” It was Spurgeon who said illustrations in a sermon are like windows, but a sermon should not be all windows. A good story helps at times, but I’ve heard sermons that were built several stories too high. With Jesus, every parable had a point and the point was made to pierce complacent consciences and prick sin-hardened hearts. Today, every story has another. Preachers rise and stand before half-empty pews and parrot pious phrases and repeat revised refrains until the time is up, the money collected, and the sleepers awake. What is needed today is not another storyteller, but a man with a soul-piercing, Christ-centered, heaven-sent message from God. This is Just-a-Minute
I had a chance to watch a salesman in person the other day work his craft as he talked about the benefits of upgrading a home’s windows.
To help make one of his points he took two window pieces made of different materials and then he said (and I quote), “Now we’re going to baptize these pieces.”
So what did he do with them? Did he pour water over them? Nope. Did he sprinkle it on them? Nope. He simply took the pieces and he immersed them down in the water.
Now if only there was a way to get some “salesman” of the gospel to learn what that salesman of windows already knew about baptism then we’d all be one step closer to a real unity when it comes to the word of God.
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)
Here’s a neat story called “A Growing Church” that was passed along to me in an email. The email originated with a brother named Dave Hart, but the illustration itself was marked as “Author Unknown” so I don’t have any other “credit” to pass along for it. Also, the word “bus fare” may be a little “dated” or “out-of-place” depending upon where you live but it can be updated or changed easily to make this a very applicable illustration for any congregation today when it comes to church growth and the importance of serving our brothers and sisters in the church:
An elder called on a member of the church for a social visit. The conversation turned to the work of the church. They talked of the progress that had been made and how the Lord had blessed their efforts through the past years. Yet both agreed that other things were needed.
“It seems to me,” said the member, “That the church is always needing something. Every time we meet, there is a plea for more giving and more workers.”
“You are right, my brother,” replied the elder. “The church is always needing something. I had a little boy who needed something. One week it was shoes, another clothes, then lunch money, bus fare, spending money. I thought he asked too much. He hasn’t asked for anything for years now. He quit needing anything from me. You see, he died one night. And there are times when I would give anything to hear him ask for something just once more. I realized after it was too late, how much happiness I found, even in his begging. Perhaps you have never missed the church. It has always been there when you needed it, and you have taken it for granted. Frankly I confess I did not know how little I did for my son until it was too late.
So it is with the church. As long as the church stands, it will have needs. When it quits needing something, it will be dead. A dead church cannot offer a living hope to a dying world. The church that has no needs fills none.”
When something in the house stinks don’t grab an air-freshener – find what stinks and get it out of the house!
Air-fresheners only mask the problem temporarily because they aren’t the solution. The solution is only found in finding the source of the smell and getting rid of it.
Repentance works the same way when it comes to sin. We have to get to the source of the problem and kick it out of the house or else the “odor” will just keep coming back.
“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)