A Compliment Or Just A Habit?
It happens nearly every Sunday at the close of worship services. Streams of people pass by the preacher, whose hand is out-stretched to greet them and encourage them back for the next hour of worship.
Most who say anything at all will kindly compliment him for the sermon he just preached, and as a preacher, I’d like to think that most of those who offer such a compliment are sincere about it. However, I fear that some of those compliments are not so sincere. Perhaps they’re just offered as a courtesy, or out of habit.
If a hearer thought highly of a gospel message, he’d no doubt find meaning in it for himself, and seek application of it in his life. Otherwise, he’s just a tolerant listener who thought this sermon was easier to sit through than some others he’d heard.
At James the first chapter, we’re told beginning at verse twenty-two that we should be doers of the word, and not just hearers, else we become deceivers of own selves.
You see, the Lord isn’t made happy just for us to demonstrate patience enough for us to hear or read another portion of truth. The hearing or reading is worthless unless that portion of truth is going to be used to change and mold a life into that which the Lord wants it to be. Otherwise, James says the hearer who isn’t a doer of the word is like someone looking at himself in a mirror, but walking away and forgetting what he saw.
You see, most of us look in mirrors to see if there is anything we need to correct about our appearance. Does it matter that we looked in the mirror if, after seeing something that we should change, we just walk away and leave our untidied self as is? Similarly, what good is done for anyone to hear the word preached every week, or to read it from time to time, if we never apply the truths we hear to our own selves, making us to be more and more and more what God expects?
James tells us that the blessing is afforded to one who not only looks to the Word to see what it has to say, but continues in the performance of those things it says. This man is blessed in his deed.