The World Almanac and Book of Facts polled 2000 eighth-graders to discover whom they most admired and wanted to be like. Every single person they named was an entertainer or sports figure. There were no politicians, no doctors, no ministers, no statesmen, no authors, and no presidents; if you weren’t an entertainer or sports icon, you weren’t on the list. The list did not contain a single figure who had made a substantial contribution to society. I remember who I most admired when I was in the eighth grade. We had a caring and personable preacher at our church who cared not only about adults but about eighth graders as well. Billy Ringgold had a quick smile and a friendly demeanor. He helped people be better people. Aside from my own dad, he was the one I most admired and wanted to be like. Guess what? I’m still trying. This is Just-A-Minute.
A lot of church members believe that when they’ve gone to church on Sunday, they have done their job as far as being a Christian is concerned. But the truth is that is a very small part of following Jesus. Everywhere we go and all-of-the-time we are either lifting up the name of Jesus to those we meet or we are treading it underfoot. At the work place as well as the church house, we are watched. At a restaurant, at a ball-game, waiting in line at a grocery store, wherever we are, we leave an impression for good or ill. The way we answer the phone, the way we speak to a waitress, the patience we show in heavy traffic, the kindness shown to a child, the sensitivity we give to a patient; all of this speaks louder than an hour we spend at worship. I’m not saying Sunday is unimportant. I am saying that Monday through Saturday count, too. You may be the only Bible many folks will ever read. What will others learn when they read your life? This is Just-A-Minute.
Some time back I opened the USA Today and as I grazed the news I reached the Opinion section. There Amanda Marcotte, one of their regular contributors on pop culture, wrote: “as youthful cohabitation rises, parents should accept it and educate their children on sex.” She used Angelina Jolie as an example who in 2011 shocked her fans telling them she lived with her boyfriend when she was fourteen and planned the same for her daughter. Here we have the nation’s newspaper trumpeting propaganda for younger and younger fornication with the parental stamp of approval. Boys and girls at fourteen years old are not yet out of elementary school. Marcotte’s promised panacea is actually a Pandora’s Box of promiscuousness and perversity. If it is ever opened, as was the closet, we will have a hard time closing it. This is Just-A-Minute.
Years ago on Art Linkletter’s House Party Art asked a small boy, “What does your mother do?” He replied, “She’s a Sunday School teacher.” Art then asked, “What does she do for fun?” The little fellow didn’t hesitate in answering, “She plays poker and drinks beer!” The audience roared and Art blushed and looked sheepishly about. There have been plenty of Sunday School teachers, deacons, elders, preachers and church members like this one. There are too many casual Christians; they dabble in everything but are not sold on anything. They have a passing acquaintance with the Lord but are not committed to His cause. On Sunday they sing, “My Jesus I love thee, I know thou art mine; for thee all the follies of sin I resign.” But by Monday they have re-signed. This is no time for lukewarm Christianity! It is high time for Christians to get busy being Christians. This is Just-A-Minute.
Some things just don’t mix. They don’t belong together. Light and dark don’t mix; fire and ice don’t mix; oil and water don’t mix; and hypocrisy and discipleship don’t mix. Nevertheless, there is a boundless supply of black-hearted wolves in sheep’s clothing who pass themselves off as part of the Shepherd’s flock. It has always been this way. John wrote three letters in our Bibles and the last is the shortest of the three. In it he mentions two men: Gaius and Diotrephes. They were as different as diamonds and coal. Gaius was a true-hearted and whole-hearted disciple, beloved of God and the apostle. But Diotrephes was a self-seeking, my-way-or-no-way, blackhearted scoundrel, who used his position of leadership to rule-or-ruin, an ecclesiastical bull-dozer. So in one church we have both sweet and bitter, true and false, Christian and hypocrite. The tragedy is that one hypocrite can undo and destroy the work of a hundred faithful Christians. This is Just-A-Minute.
I try not to judge but when I see a bird that looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has webbed feet like a duck and hangs around in the company of ducks; it is difficult to dispute the conclusion that it must be a duck. Someone has said, “Bird of a feather flock together.” People tend to gravitate to where they feel most comfortable. When the apostle Peter was released from prison, he didn’t go to the local tavern or a nightclub, he headed to a prayer-meeting. He knew where he belonged. On the other hand, when I see church folk who are more comfortable mixing it up with the world than with their brethren, I wonder about the genuineness of their profession. The apostle John says, “We know that we have passed from life to death, because we love the brethren.” If we don’t love the brethren, maybe it is because we belong to the other crowd. This is Just-A-Minute
If you think life is already hurry-scurry, helter-skelter and hustle-bustle, now I hear that they are coming up with more ways to speed things up so we can fall further behind. At least that is how it goes for me. The faster I go, the further behind I get. This new idea for moving from one place to another is to stick us in an air-propelled tube, just like your local bank uses in the drive through window. Well, I’ve got news for them, I’m not going to fit into one of those tubes. However you want to say it: there is more of me than can fi or there is less of the tube than I need! Then there are the motorized boots that the Russians are touting. They enable the wearer to take steps up to nine feet and at speeds up to twenty-five miles an hour. That is a giant step forward for mankind. So here I am taking a Sominex to get through the night and an Alka-Seltzer to get through the day; all I need is to increase my race-horse break-neck pace. Hold on. I just stumbled on a word from God: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” This is Just-A-Minute.