The Nourishing Place

The Educational Support Organization, Inc.

We are a 501-c-3, Not-for-Profit Charitable Organization
Tax ID # 72-1246735

Sermon, October 6, 2019

I want to start by telling you an old you have probably heard many times.  But, it illustrates some Christian teachings that are important to all of us.

Here is the story:  Each Friday night after work, Bubba Jones would get his grill our and cook a large, juicy sirloin steak.  All of Bubba’s neighbors were Catholic.  And, since it was Lent, the neighbors, as Catholics, were forbidden from eating read meat on Friday.  The delicious aroma from the grilled steak caused such a huge problem for the Catholics that they went to talk to their priest to complain about Bubba cooking steak on Fridays during Lent.  In answer to their concern, the priest went to visit Bubba and suggested he become a Catholic.  That should solve the problem.  After several classes at the Catholic church Bubba attended mass.  After the mass, the priest sprinkled holy water over Bubba and said, “you were born a Baptist.  You were raised a Baptised.  But now you are a Catholic.

Bubba’s neighbors were greatly relieved until Friday night arrieved and the wonderful aroma of grill sirloin steak once again filled the neighborhood.  The priest was immediately called by the neighbors.

As the priest rushed into Bubba’s yard clutching a rosary and prepared to scold Bubba, the priest stopped and watched in amazement.  There stood Bubba holding a small bottle of holy water, which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat while chanting, “You was born a cow.  You was raised as a cow.  But now, you is a Catfish!

There are three specific things this old joke can remind us of, or re-teach us.  First, many of us are Christian in name only, rather than living the actions our Christ has instructed us to do.  Jesus and his teaching are change-agents...helping us grow and change to be better servants to our Lord, and living in more loving ways. Calling ourselves Christians is not what empowers us to serve with love, rather actions are what make a difference.

The second teaching is when change must take place we usually want the other person to make the changes while we stay the same.  For example:  I have a friend whose husband smokes constantly.  It makes the house smell terrible, it makes thier clothing have a stale odor, and the wife is scared of second had smoke.  She doesn’t want to get cancer.  Even though it is a known fact smoking will kill a person her husband continues to smoke.  So she told her husband he had to change.  He had to quite smoking.  His response was:  I like to smoke.  If you don’t like it you need to change your attitude and let me enjoy my cigarettes.  She wanted him to be the one to change.   However, we must realize, you can never change anyone anytime except yourself.

The third teaching is obedience.  When we profess our Christianity and try to live as Christ has instructed, we often look for the easiest way to change...the way that really doesn’t require us to be too different from before.  Most of us look for easy solutions rather than do the work necessary to obey the life-altering good news of God through Christ Jesus.  We as humans are great rationalizers.  He can often convince ourselves that our wrong doings are justified, that they really don’t hurt anyone so we keep on keeping on our own sometime self-destructive ways.

Life is about change.  Everything about us changes.  Change is inevitable.  If you look at yourself you see you are different from even 3 or 4 years ago.  Look at our society and culture.  We are experiencing change more rapidly now than at any other time in history.  We see change in our government, change in our economy, change in our health care, change in our technology.  Even change in our religious and national foundations.  So, if change is inevitable, how do we handle change.

Most experts in the field suggest we base our lives on the one and only thing that does not change and probably never will...that is the love our God has for us.  If we want joy and peace in the midst of constant change, we must follow the tenets of God, shown to us through the life of, forgiveness, compassion, and peace will be far more important in the near future than ever before.  And if we don’t live it...who will?

If the world is dangerous, perhaps we attempt to make our own homes and neighborhoods safer by living and loving as Jesus taught us.  If change is occurring too rapidly to suit us, let us hang on the precepts of Christian living that has lasted for over 2000 years.   We can stay strong in faith, learn to trust God more and more for therein lies the solution to life and life struggles.  Perhaps when we don’t like something or someone maybe we could try to find ways to change ourselves...changes that bring peace to us and those around us.  At least we can try.  Christianity is not always an easy path….but it is ALWAYS the best way.