I’m sitting here on the couch in my home office/guest bedroom with my dog curled up in a ball sucking the heat out of my leg going through my sermon for this morning.
“Sermon.” I don’t care for that word. To me, it signals some long, rambling, will-this-ever-be-done lecture with no interaction. Ugh. I don’t enjoy those much. I’m a wiggler with the attention span of a goldfish. I’m a doer and have never really enjoyed being a sitter. The majority of my Christian experience has been as a sitter. I get uncomfortable when I sit for a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to sit. I get that. I had to sit and listen and learn when I got my BA in journalism. I had to take some classes just to fill my requirements. They had absolutely nothing to do with my interests. “History of Man and the Sea?” Ugh. I needed one more history class. But, it had to be done.
I had to sit a lot to earn my Masters degree in Theological Studies. I had to read until I felt my eyes would burn out. Again, sometimes I had to wonder, “Why the heck am I in this class? Are you kidding me?” But, it got me my piece of paper. They gave me a big, (4 times the size of my BA) obnoxious-looking degree to frame and put on my wall. It’s in a blue tube somewhere in the basement. I’ve never been a “just-look-at-all-my-degrees-and-certificates” Tin Man type of guy.
Anyway, sometimes we have to sit and it’s good to sit. But the thing that bugs me in my experience is that most of my Christianity has been spent sitting on my “arse.” The ancient book I read, the texts I pull apart, the passages I hold close are full of action words. The sitting words are focused on my refueling to be able to live a mission. The sitting words, the listening times give me to the tools to live the mission. But, if I spend all my time or 98% of my time in the tool store, when am I supposed to fix my car? Ya know?
So this morning I have the privilege to go meet a bunch of people who are, like me, navigating life and trying to figure out how to follow Christ. They’ll put me up front, attach a mic to my shirt and then sit to hear my “sermon.” Ugh. I still don’t like that word.
I’ve got quite a story to tell them. It’s a tear-jerker. It’s a story of pain, fear, loss, miracles, hope and triumph. I’m going to tell them about how God stepped into my world and said, “No. Not yet.” I’m going to tell them about the liver transplant that saved my life.
I’ve got so much I could tell them. I wish I could hang with them all afternoon and hear their stories but this is the hour they come together to sit and listen. This is my opportunity to inspire them to act. It’s my chance to comfort the hurting with the Hope I now know better than ever before. It’s my chance to maybe help give an answer to the cynic, to help melt the ice of a pain frozen heart and to give purpose to those searching. It’s my chance to be the ambassador I am called to be.
You know what is really weird? I’m thankful I have this opportunity. I thankful my life resume has allowed me to stand before these people and share. My degrees didn’t make this opportunity possible. My ministry experience didn’t open this door. I get to share the Hope of my faith with these people because I should be dead. I get these 25 minutes because I went through the most horrific thing I have ever experienced and am alive to talk about it. I am alive because of the intervention of God and a powerful rescue. I’m glad I went through it.
Yeah, I know, right? Glad. I’m glad I lived through days and days of pain at level 8. I’m thankful I got to spend month after month on that ugly green couch. I’m glad I needed a mobility chair to move, glad for 11 hospitalizations in a year and glad they cut me and tossed my diseased liver in the trash to be replaced with a healthy half of my son’s liver. I’m glad.
If none of that had happened, I would not have had the opportunity to speak to these people today. Because it happened, I am invited in to tell my story. I am invited in to share the Hope and tell them about my faith in Jesus. I get to explain why I believe so deeply in this ancient book of books.
I’ve been told that my story inspires. That’s good, I guess. I just hope that maybe it inspires action, hope, determination or even change. And beyond all else, I hope it inspires people to maybe dust off an old Bible and turn to Matthew-John first to discover who Jesus really is.
I guess I should hit the shower. Be blessed! And if I can ever come share my story with your church, rotary, scout troop or whoever, please let me know. I love to tell the story.