Cathy asked if I would write a “guest post” entry for her blog. The preacher in me wants to know if there is a time limit?
One of the things we preachers tend to do is get caught up in our sermons, and we come across arrogant. We forget that we must proclaim truth, but we must do it in love. Some folks use truth to club people. But we are to speak the truth in love.
An old farmer hired a young city feller to help out on his farm. One day he sent the young man to go feed the chickens. The young fellow said, “What do I feed them?”
“Feed them corn,” the farmer shrugged. A little while later, the farmer asked the young man, “Did you feed the chickens?”
The young man replied, “I sure did, but they died.”
Alarmed the farmer asked, “Died? How did they die?”
“I took the corn on the cob and threw it at them, and it hit them on the head, and they all died.”
To apply this to our everyday life, I wonder how many times our message to others – whether it be our children, to our co-workers, or even to the annoying teenager working the counter at our favorite fast-food haunt, has been missed simply because we—the messenger—have gotten “too big for our britches” as my parents used to say.
And I’m not even necessarily talking about the Gospel message. How we speak to others oftentimes will dictate how they respond to what we say. Our tone of voice, our mannerisms, our choice of words, even the look on our face can turn folks off to what we say—no matter how true or how good or how difficult our message may be.
Believe it or not, one of the clearest illustrations of this, I saw on one of the old Bill Cosby episodes that first aired in the 80’s.
In one scene, one of the girls came home from college toting a boy, and during dinner, sort of sprang it on Dad and Mom that they were going to get married. The parents aren’t happy. Words ensued, and Mom and the daughter storm off, leaving Bill Cosby’s character alone at the dinner table with the boyfriend. The boyfriend meekly asks what went wrong.
In typical Bill Cosby fashion, he explains to the boy that he loves T-Bone steak, but you don’t just “flop” it on a plate—grease and all—and serve it. You have to dress it up with a nice baked potato, and a little sprig of garnish. He concludes by saying, “It’s all in the presentation.”
That’s kind of the way we are with some of our messages. We just “flop” it on a plate and shove it in peoples’ faces.
Have you been trying to convey a message to another person and they seem to turn you off and won’t hear you? Don’t change your message; change your method. Try a little love and kindness. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)
Remember, “it’s all in the presentation.”
(For anyone who may not know, this guest poster is my Pastor, who just happens to be my husband!)