TOO MUCH TOO SOON???

6 06 2018

Less of Me, More of HimYears ago I had the privilege to be part of a Youth Conference in Washington DC that featured both Nancy and Ronald Reagan addressing the audience. We heard Nancy on Friday night and the President on Saturday Morning. Among his many abilities, Ronald Reagan was a talented communicator and gifted story teller. One of the tales that he shared with us that I still remember was about a young, country boy who had just finished Bible school but had yet to preach a sermon.

When the newly appointed Pastor arrived at this Texas church, he walked in with the highest of hopes; but to his utter amazement, there was only one seasoned rancher present. The sanctuary was empty except for this one man. He was sitting about halfway back on the hard pew and the novice preacher walked back there, shook his hand, and asked quite sheepishly in cattle country, “What do you think I ought to do?” The old man answered, “Well, I don’t rightly know Reverend, I’m just a cowpoke. But if I went out in my field and found only one steer, I’d still feed it.” That’s all the new Parson needed to hear. He quickly climbed up behind the pulpit and delivered a sermon that went on and on and on and on. Over an hour and a half later he finally ended the marathon.

The Pastor, now feeling pretty good about himself, finished with a benediction and walked right over to the rancher and asked, “Well, what did you think?” “I don’t rightly know, son, but I will tell you this. If I went out in my field and found I only had one steer, I wouldn’t feed him the whole warehouse in one sitting.”

There are times that we Christians may mean well, but we tend to come on too strong too fast when it comes to sharing our faith with others. We have such a passion for what we believe, we forget that we need to care about the who that we are talking to. This means that we shouldn’t be preaching when it comes to one on one conversations. Forget the monologue and be willing to enter into a dialogue. We must not only talk but be willing to listen. We should allow time and opportunity for feedback and questions. The connection should not be so much about finger pointing as it is about heart sharing. When Jesus shared the truth with others, He adapted the means that He shared the gospel even if the message stayed the same. The rule of thumb should be that we are not ready to tell others that Jesus loves them if we aren’t willing to love them too. It takes more than eye contact to make a genuine heart connection. Make sure your ears are all in too. 

There is another important principle that Believers should be aware of before they are ready to spread the good news. Too many Christians need to reexamine their motives before they start to dispense the message. Have you ever blurted something out in anger? During those outbursts we not only said things we wish we hadn’t said, we also probably said a lot more than we wish we would have said. Maybe we need to take a walk prior to the action of beginning our talk. Little is retained when smoke is shooting out of your ears and fire surges from the tongue. And more often than not, even though we may have actually communicated some truths that needed to be presented, our rage and rant ruined the rightness of our words.

Keep all of this in mind when you are preparing to deliver your next speech. We might have more time for action if we made for less words and more work! How long does it take you to get to the point? There comes a definite moment when we need to cease circling the airport and just land the plane! We should be precise and purposeful. What is it? Just say it.

Next let’s look to not be pompous but humble and available. Lead with respect. Allow for response.  

Don’t be so dogmatic when you should be delivering the treasure with love. Let me give you a tip. If it’s one-on-one or one-on-a-few, leave the preaching to someone else. If it’s with your kids, don’t preach. If it’s with your spouse, don’t preach. If it’s at work with your boss or somebody who works for you, again, don’t preach. Preaching isn’t appropriate in relational settings.

Finally, don’t be a “Know it All,” for nobody knows it all! There is something so refreshing about someone who is speaking and willingly admits, “I really don’t know all that I should know about this, but I am willing to learn.” It’s wonderful when you’re around someone who has a wealth of knowledge, but you hear them admit, “I’m not the final word.” I can honestly conclude that those who have taught me the most are the men and women who have been the most teachable. So, before you step up to the pulpit to preach your never-ending sermon, take the time to seek the Lord and let Him lead the way. Sometimes we really do say it best, when we say nothing at all and get off the stage so God can have the floor!

 


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