Last night I had an encounter that truly made me rethink what it means to “preach” the Gospel. As I was over at a friend’s house, My fiance and I were talking with a young lady that attended a Local University. She was speaking of her classes when she brought up their chapel program and the credits that one gets when they attend services on campus.
My fiance asked her why she seemed to not like the services, and the young lady answered, “Well the first semester we really had worship. You know, music and singing and good preaching. But the last semester they just had people in there talking about stuff like homeless people and giving up our comfortable lives.” She continued to say that those kind of speakers make her feel bad and that they call for too much.
Anyone that knows me and has heard me speak knows that this young lady might as well have been talking about me, because that is exactly the kind of subject I speak on. Sometimes I am nervous about my sermons because they hit you in the face a little too hard, but nonetheless I preach them. Our conversation with the young lady made me feel a little odd. I was left thinking to myself, “Am I like that preacher? Do people think that about me while I challenge them to do more for the one’s who will inherit the Kingdom of God?”
One of my favorite things to do after I preach is walk the aisle during the benediction and stand at the door as people leave the church, greeting them and thanking them for joining me in worship. Let’s be honest–every speaker/preacher loves to be told that they did a good job and that the people enjoyed it. I know we are supposed to be humble, but you want to move people and you want your listeners to be satisfied. But after speaking to this young lady last night, it makes me wonder how many people lie to me in the vestibule? As they walk by and shake my hand, what are they really thinking?
I wonder if I ask too much from my listeners. I cant help but worry that I do. Havent said this, I know that I preach the Gospel, and I also know that the Gospel has asked so much from me. It has made me reconsider my entire life and re-access what it means to live in this confusing world. The Gospel is greedy–greedy for love and jealous if you spend you time your lesser humanity– but it is truth.
So as I (hopefully) speak the truth in the pulpit, I am ok with a few liars in the vestibule. Honestly, I probably do not want to know the truth of what people are really thinking when they shake my hand.