Most of us attend church on Sunday and then promptly forget what we saw and heard – on Monday morning. We go through the work week living in the moment of corporate America or whatever particular way we spend our days until the following Sunday. Then it’s back to church for another dose of religion or to commune with God – sometimes “checking the box” that we attended church. Or, as in the case of some people, to be seen and recognized as someone who is “religious.” Of course, I don’t endorse any of these methods of living, but sometimes I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to the way that I translate what I heard on Sunday and apply it in my life throughout the other six days.
A young friend of mine, a man I am mentoring, periodically sends me a daily devotional that he receives by email. Within the past several days, he sent me the following quote, from St. Francis of Assisi, “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will hear today.” Of course, when you receive something like this, it can be very convicting and I immediately started to process what this quote means when put into practice on a daily basis – walking the line of obedience to God and emulating His behavior throughout all the days of the week.
It has also often been said that the apostle Paul believed that we should all preach the Gospel, only using words when necessary. Stated another way, our actions should be such that those who come into contact with us should see our commitment to Jesus. Certainly, after his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul exhibited exemplary commitment to Jesus in his ministry to the Gentiles, even though he himself had been raised Jewish. In fact, he had been a persecutor of the “Christians” before his conversion and now had become one of their staunchest supporters – many considering him one of the greatest leaders of the spread of Christianity throughout the known world at that time.
Not only did Paul walk the talk, he started numerous churches in Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi and many other places. He mentored young Timothy and even travelled to Rome. He was imprisoned, lost at sea, beaten on numerous occasions and suffered mightily for the faith in his daily life. But Paul knew how to preach the Gospel, and Jesus expects the same from us.
Our verse for this evening comes from the apostle John’s first epistle. Ironically, when you learn Greek, it is the first book that you learn to translate. That’s because the language is very simple, but the theology is very compelling. And regardless of where you are in the depth of your faith, John’s writings, including the Gospel of John, can be read and applied at almost any level. John tells us, in 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
That means that we are to engage the world in such a way that our commitment to Jesus is evident to all. We are to live a God centered life and treat others with respect and dignity, regardless of the day of the week. And above all, we are to love one another and let our actions speak for us. An attitude of humility and servant leadership should permeate all we do.
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus wants us to preach His word – by acting the way that He would expect us to act. My prayer is that you will re-dedicate yourself to living a Godly life every day – not just on Sunday when you happen to stop by your local church. By engaging the world in bold and meaningful ways, demonstrating love and humility to others, we will truly be seen as ambassadors of God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…
Yes, so true and, as you correctly noted, so convicting.