Reporters and city officials gathered at a Chicago railroad station one afternoon in 1953. The person they were meeting was the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner. A few minutes after the train came to a stop, a giant of a man – six feet four inches – with bushy hair and a large mustache stepped from the train. Cameras flashed. City officials approached him with hands outstretched. Various people began telling him how honored they were to meet him. The man politely thanked them and then, looking over their heads, asked if he could be excused for a moment. He quickly walked through the crowd until he reached the side of an elderly black woman who was struggling with two large suitcases. He picked up the bags and with a smile, escorted the woman to a bus. After helping her aboard, he wished her a safe journey. As he returned to the greeting party he apologized, “Sorry to have kept you waiting.” The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary doctor who had spent his life helping the poor in Africa. In response to Schweitzer’s action, one member of the reception committee said with great admiration to the reporter standing next to him, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.” (Author Unknown)
Have you heard the expression, “don’t do as I do; do as I say”? Most people use this when they know they’re doing something bad, but they don’t want others to copy their bad behaviour. As well-intentioned as this might be, there really is a problem with thinking this is okay – especially when it has to do with our walk with God. Of people who say one thing and do another, Paul writes, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable” (Titus 1:16a). In our everyday life, each of us should try our best to be a “walking sermon” to people around us, showing them the love of God through our actions, not just our words (1 John 3:18). First, we should turn our thoughts inward, focusing on what is noble, praiseworthy and good (Philippians 4:18). Then, when we interact with our family, co-workers, and friends, we can demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). And when we encounter strangers – even when they treat us poorly – we can pray and bless them (Luke 6:27-28). We should even be mindful of what we like and post on social media such as Facebook, taking care to only promote that which “is helpful for building others up” and “gracious, seasoned with salt” (Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6). As we begin a new week, let’s do our best to live out our faith by obeying Christ’s commands – we can be the light to the world by doing, not just by saying (John 14:21, Matthew 5:14).
By Jay Manimtim, Minister, Central church of Christ