I preached again Sunday at a church in another state. I was praying the night before that I would do a good job in preaching and that my words would be true and good. I think it’s times like that where you realize the magnitude of the position that you have taken upon yourself and realize that people are going to be watching your every word and soaking it in. Some of them sadly will take it as gospel as many people seem to believe X just because their preacher said so and they can’t be argued out of it.
Yet I immediately had a thought upon realizing that I would be preaching. I realized that I was preaching every day. My actions are speaking what I believe the gospel to be louder than my words are. Do I believe that Jesus is Lord of all? I hope so, but I would honestly say my life doesn’t really reflect that. Do I believe God is omniscient and knows what’s best? I would hope so, but as I struggle with sin still, I realize that I am implicitly saying each time I sin that I know better than God. That’s hardly saying I believe in his omniscience.
Other people are seeing that and I am proclaiming a gospel to them. I can pray that it will be the true one. There are some who will sadly see what I do speak so loudly that what I say won’t matter. I would hope my arguments are enough to convince an honest seeker, but if I cannot get them to the point to listen to my arguments, then what good have I really done?
It makes me think of St. Francis of Assisi when he said “Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary.” Friends. I know honestly that I do fall drastically short. I know also though that means that I need the gospel just as much as the next guy. Luther once told us to preach the gospel to yourselves every day. I have accepted Christ as my Lord and savior, but I still need to hear that good news.
When I screw up, which I will, and when I screw up badly, which I will, I need to be reminded that God is there and that I can always come to the cross. When things are good, and they will be and are at times, I need to be reminded of the grace of God that he gives me times of blessing, but I also need to be reminded that when I am put back into the fire again, it’s not because he loves me any less.
Friends. We need that message. If we can’t convince ourselves of the gospel, how will we be able to convince others. If we are not truly living it, how will our lives be able to truly proclaim it?
Pray for me that I may live it. I pray that you will live it as well. Friends. Preach to me the gospel as well. I need that also.