Sermon in Shoes

As the landscape slipped through my peripheral vision, I began to hear a bunch of kids singing. No, the Vienna Boy’s Choir hadn’t taken over the Metro this morning, rather it was a distant memory of a kid’s choir at church camp. I scanned the faces and sure enough, there I was – face scrubbed shiny clean – hair neatly slicked back – singing with all the intensity that an eight or nine year old can.

Do you know O Christian you’re a sermon in shoes!
Do you know O Christian you’re a sermon in shoes!

Did we really know what we were singing? I absolutely believe we did because the message still reverberates with me today. The lesson that day? It was from Matthew 5:13. I remember the message like it was yesterday, probably because I’ve heard it a thousand times since.

You are the salt of the earth.
But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?
Can you make it useful again?
It will be thrown out and trampled under foot as worthless.

Today it is abundantly clear how dead on the Master was when He said those words. All around us we see people who claim to be christians and yet live opposed to the very message that Jesus taught. Instead of living lives that are actual testimonies to the grace that emanates from the salvation story, they offer condemnation. Their lives say “do what I say, not what I do!” They can’t seem to get away with their unhealthy obsession with sin…in everyone else’s lives. And, much as the Master said in Matthew 5:13, they’ve become worthless.

Carrying their own message of hatred, wrapped in a few scripture verses, they cut people down, cut them off and scream invectives at them like they are somehow superior. Grace? What’s grace? To them it is something that can only be applied after a spouting off their brand of bigoted hatred, followed by your acceptance of their message of bigotry and hate. Only after you’ve accepted their guilt can you then come to the Master. In other words, they’ve put the cart before the horse. When confronted by the sin in their own lives, they dismissively say “all have sinned and I’m working on mine.” You’d be hard pressed though to find any evidence. They are too busy pointing out sin in everyone else.

If we really are a “sermon in shoes” then it’s time to start living out a message that matches the Masters. Jesus said that how we treat people, including the lowest, is directly related to our treatment of Him. When we call people we disagree with names, shun them, banish them to hell for some of our own beliefs (misguided or not), we are in actuality doing the same to Him. Instead of a pinch of salt, we throw the whole dang box in. And then we have the audacity to not even practice what we preach.

Christendom has gotten louder and louder in recent years. We’ve got a right to our beliefs (bless God) and don’t stand in our way! We’ve become rude, demanding our way! It is no wonder that fewer people today claim to believe in God. It is no wonder that more and more people are choosing to leave the church. As a living breathing sermon, we’ve become so ruthless that we are turning people off at a rate unprecedented in recent history. It’s no wonder that our influence is waning in this world. We are quickly becoming worthless!

And that takes me back to that children’s song that blasted into my consciousness this morning. What message am I living out? One that offers grace or one that offers condemnation? My sermon in shoes – is it good for nothing? I hope not!

j.

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Categories: Christian, Culture War, Grace, Mercy | Leave a comment

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