“I’d rather see a sermon
Than hear one any day.
I’d rather one would walk with me
Than merely tell the way.”
— Edgar A. Guest, I’d Rather See a Sermon
We know the power of example, all of us do. Certainly both our negative and positive example has a ripple effect. We could go so far as to say that without example we have no vested power of God to see transformations occur in Jesus’ name. Everything we say and do bears a constant scrutiny. And everything we think has potential to spill into the world of action.
We are blessed to walk a good sermon. We walk the best sermons by guarding our hearts, watching our thoughts, disciplining our minds, and finally by acting in godly ways.
There Is Nothing Beyond What We Say and Do
Our sermons from the pulpit may be preached with purpose and punch, complete with the fire of the Holy Spirit. But if we miss the mark in the other 167 hours that the rest of the week consists of, our sermons lack the fundamental substance of integrity.
This is why Paul talks to Timothy and Titus about the crucial qualities of Bishops and Elders in the church. Not only are they to know their doctrine, but they are—most importantly—to be peaceable people in the family, in the community; real to the core.
There is nothing beyond what we say and do.
It doesn’t matter what we think—the piousness of our thoughts—if we fly off into a rage and burn people with our temper. It doesn’t matter what we believe if we hold on to resentments. It doesn’t matter what we have achieved if we lack the moderation of self-control to the point of damaging our lives or others’ lives.
Actions speak as a megaphone and the words we say remain.
Our harshest judge is ourselves, by the actions we take that we cannot withdraw. Once we do something it’s done.
When we value and highly prize our actions we become more accountable, and we grow in wisdom. We make fewer excuses. And we gain perspective. When we see nothing beyond what we say and do, we take God at his Word. We are ready to live life in the land of the living.
There was no better sermon preached than the sermon that walked; that lived by example; that exemplified justice, mercy, humility, and grace. When we go beyond the words we preach and we adopt what we preach in our lives, other lives are blessed by our example.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.