“I once heard a preacher who sorely tempted me to say I would go to church no more.
A snow-storm was falling around us.
The snow-storm was real, the preacher merely spectral, and the eye felt the sad contrast in looking at him, and then out of the window behind him into the beautiful meteor of the snow.
He had lived in vain. He had not one word intimating that he had laughed or wept, was married or in love, had been commended, or cheated, or chagrined. If he had ever lived and acted, we were none the wiser for it. The capital secret of his profession, namely, to convert life into truth, he had not learned.
Not one fact in all his experience had he yet imported into his doctrine. This man had ploughed and planted and talked and bought and sold; he had read books; he had eaten and drunken; his head aches, his heart throbs; he smiles and suffers; yet was there not a surmise, a hint, in all the discourse, that he had ever lived at all.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
RWE delivered this story 173 years ago and in some churches the problem still remains.
Preacher, if the people who gather to hear you connect their lives to the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE see that there is NO LIFE within you- don’t be surprised when they don’t come back. If you cannot convert LIFE- your relationship to Jesus- to TRUTH- that a relationship with Jesus is real and vibrant and life transforming and to be lived out- then sleep in this Sunday. Do not bother delivering that sermon you pulled out of your filing cabinet this week.
When I step into the pulpit each Sunday or when I stand beside my table to teach class or when I open up the Word over a cup of coffee with a friend the whole point is to connect our lives to the life of Jesus.
In the Incarnation, Jesus became flesh and bone, blood and sinew. He was real. His words were alive. He is still real. His words are still alive.
In John 15:5-8, Jesus gives us the key to converting life to truth. He says to us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
If you want people to be moved by the Son of God you’ve got to let them know that he moves you. If you want to see others transformed by Jesus Christ, than they have to know that he radically transforms you.
Otherwise, you might persuade them to skip out or check out… Permanently.
This Sunday, make sure you connect Life to Truth.