Don Buck P Creacy is a Professional Storyteller and Humorist living in Georgetown, KY.
Don is available to speak for your church or group. Send him a message on his facbook page for more information.
Well, our resolutions have been made to break easy enough. I take a certain pleasure in that. It amuses me to no end, each year, to pause with pen and paper to make outrageous promises to myself, something like;
1. I will lose half my body weight before December 31st. Trouble is I always find twice that much chocolate.
2. I will keep my office free from clippings and notes and scraps of ideas that need to be developed, piles of started projects and napkins with neat ideas on them. No sir, this year I will neatly catalogue and properly file said notes & napkins into the six files empty cabinets I bought four years ago for that very purpose.
3. I will exercise, yeah sure I will, my right to vote. But don’t expect me to sweat over politics either.
4. I will single handedly save the earth’s air, animals, plants, and water by sorting my trash and planning my shopping trip routes.
I could on with this silliness but the truth is… it is not what we say, think, or believe. It is what we do with our life that “counts” for Christ. I am not talking about salvation; I know that’s the free, unmerited grace of Jesus. I am talking about what we do, in service.
As a younger and much more foolish man I once made this point to a congregation. I was too young, and I thought one good illustration would change the world, one lecture, one sermon; one little talk would change us all. That is what I thought and that is what I was thinking when I asked my buddy who just happened to be a US Marshal to pull up outside our little country church that Sunday evening and wait to turn on his siren “when I gave the signal.” John Casto, another buddy was in on the “illustration” as well. Here is what happened and I can only say that in retrospect, I could have done things differently...
I had just taken the pulpit, to preach. My scripture verse? “Watch therefore, for you know not what hour the Lord of the house doth come.” I should mention here that preaching was not part of my regular duties at this church. Most of my regular duties were, putting a tithe check in the plate, shaking the Pastor’s hand, filling in for the Youth Pastor. Now there had to be something else… oh yes, playing my guitar and singing a “special” now and again. Anyway, I had just went to the pulpit, just read the script, when John Casto, known and heretofore had been loved by the entire congregation, ran up to where I was standing and whispered loudly in my ear and within range of the microphone… “I think there is a fire.” Outside, in perfect sync, the Marshal’s siren went off and I admit it was a whole lot louder than I had imagined during the planning phase of this sermon illustration. I jumped, John jumped, the congregation miraculously managed to jump from a seated position. What happened next? Well, perhaps the movie of your mind will provide you with the best images.
I turned to the congregation. “Could you all stand? Now let’s proceed “calmly” to the exits.” Now in my defense, that is truly what I expected them to do. Stand just like I had seen them do a hundred or more times before. But not this time, not with the added inspiration a siren provokes; folks was snatching children, purses, Bibles, hats and hatbands and moving like a one thousand legged organism toward the sanctuary door. I have heard of folks “running the pews” but I had not seen it until that very moment. Chaos and confusion… At the door, they were wadded up and I began hollering over the PA system.
“Hold on… Hold on… Hold on… there is no fire! It was a false alarm! No fire!” As quickly at they had jumped up and made it to the door, they froze in that tightly wedged knot of arms and legs and upside down children in the arms of their daddies. Then in one synchronized motion, all of their heads snapped back looking toward me at the podium.
I smiled real big and said, “Fooled you; didn’t I?”
Perhaps you have seen what happened next in the movies. The crowd unknotted themselves without taking their eyes off of me and slowly began to walk back up the church aisles. Some of the men were wringing their hats and I saw two saintly ladies pull out hat pins. I began in earnest.
“You see, you believed this building was on fire. You didn’t talk about it, form a committee to discuss and debate about how big or hot the fire was, or whether it was the right fire or who set the fire. You believed the building was on fire and you were getting yourself and yours out of here as fast as possible.”
There was a grumble of comments that I haven’t room or inclination here to repeat. Then I finished my sermon.
“If you believe that the world is lost without Jesus. You will do something to snatch them out of the fire. The Lord adds his blessing to the reading of His Word.” I closed my Bible and went to the back door to shake hands with folks… Some did, some didn’t.
You know they never did invite me to preach there again. But as someone famous once said, “It matters little what we think, say, or believe, it matters only what we do.” Maybe it was that John Ruskin fellow that said it and I agree. Our New Year Resolutions are meaningless; it is what we do with our life that counts for Christ.
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