I heard a great sermon Sunday. It was about the story of the rich, young ruler. The point of the story, my pastor said, was not just about “rich” folks—it applies to us all. We all have things we prioritize over God…even our “good works,” as the rich, young ruler had always meticulously obeyed the law.
Pastor ramped up, driving home the point that we cannot tell where we stand solely by our actions—that good actions can often mask impure motivations. It is not the “outward,” he says, that is telling. It is the “inward.”
And this, folks, is where I was jolted upright because what I heard is: “What is important is the “N” word! Do you have an ‘N-word’ problem?”
And, through the rest of the sermon about our “inward struggles,” I heard repeatedly: “N word,” although I knew well what he meant. It was my ears.
My consciences is clear: I have no “N-word problem,” although it is probably evident that my “inward” regions could use some cleaning up.
Thank goodness there was no “giggle partner” sitting next to me, MIL not being the giggle-in-church type. It could have been a disaster and it reminds me of another time.
I was sitting next to my BIL years ago, listening to a sermon from Zechariah 5:1, which says:
Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll. And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I answered, "I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits…”
What I heard was “…behold, there was a flying squirrel…” On top of that, it was a BIG flying squirrel (a cubit being estimated at 18 inches). What a sight that must have been—even more impressive than the flying scroll, which I knew was what Pastor referenced.
I glanced at BIL who, having heard as I did, silently mouthed, “…flying squirrel???”
Oh, it was bad…he and I dissolved, simultaneously bending forward to stifle our laughter. Again, I say, it was bad—almost uncontrollable; tear-jerking, nearly-pants-wetting laughter all while trying to be quiet and inconspicuous. Our spouses were not pleased.
So funny how our ears can deceive, and what it does to our perception.
Reminds me of another time. In our household, there was a tendency for my son and me to sing Christmas carols at any time of the year. You might hear us in a chorus of “Good King Wenceslas” in July.
One day, Son made a sing-along request. “Let’s sing the Christmas carol about the airplanes, Mom.”
For the life of me, I could not imagine what he was talking about.
“You know, we sing it all the time.” No, I did not know. I requested that he start us out, which he did:
“Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the planes (er, plains).
On reflection, I decided that we do, indeed, want angels singing over airplanes…