I don’t normally post on Sundays, but as today is my 66th birthday, I thought I would begin telling stories about myself with a message--just on Sundays. If you like them, let me know and I will continue. Today’s true story:
St. Francis of Assisi is reputed to have said, “Preach every day. If you must, use words”. This is how that played out in my life one day. About twenty years ago when I was pastor of the Methodist Church in Gravette, Arkansas, I spent a rather frustrating day in Fayetteville. On my way home, at rush hour, I vented my anger through speed and was weaving in and out of traffic heading north with the pedal to the metal. Then there were red and blue flashing lights filling my rear-view mirror. I pulled over, knowing this was really going to cost me. I was, of course, wearing my clerical collar and proudly displaying a Christian cross on my bumper with the word “pastor” under it. The state trooper walked slowly up to my window which I rolled down. “Step out the car,” he says. I know I’m doomed now, maybe I will even have my car impounded. I got out of the car and stood there with him as hundreds, maybe thousands, of commuters slowly passed by. The trooper didn’t say anything, and I could only stand it for about three minutes. “Are you going to write me a ticket?” I asked. “Nope,” he said. We stood there for about five more minutes before he spoke again. “Pastor, I just want you to think of the sermon you’ve been preaching to all these people passing us.” I was humiliated because he was right. He left me then and got back in his car, saying, “Have a nice day.” I never knew his name because he didn’t write me a ticket, but I will never forget him or the lesson I learned that day. We do preach every day, that is not an option. What is an option is what kind of Christian message we preach.