• David Osteen

Parable of the “Great Sermon”

A young teenage lady had been invited by some of her friends to attend worship services. At the conclusion of the service as people were exiting she stood in the back with her friends. As they were conversing she was distracted as she watched people interact with the preacher.

A little old lady with a walker embraced the preacher and he told her, “Great sermon today!” At first she thought to herself, “That’s a little arrogant. Don’t usually see the preacher patting himself on the back like that.” Then a little kid, maybe 4 or 5 years old, walked up to the preacher and the preacher gave the kid a high five and said, “Great sermon today!” The young teenage lady was curious and kept watch-ing. Next, she noticed a mother whose child had started crying several times during services, and sure enough, the preacher told her, “Great sermon today!” (as if she got to hear much of it). She kept watch-ing. Next, one of the men that led a prayer came by and the preacher said, “Great sermon today!” After that a young lady maybe 7 or 8 walked by and handed the preacher a sheet of paper. It looked like ser-mon notes. The preacher glanced it over and declared, “GREAT sermon today!” “Wow, this guy is really full of himself”, the young teenage lady thought. And on and on it went. Seems like he had to tell every-body what a great sermon he preached. Next, another young kid. Then some parents. He even told one lady, “Great sermon last night!” “What, did he dream something up last night”, she thought to her-self. Finally it was time to go. As the group of young teenage friends began to leave the preacher stopped them and said, “Young ladies… great sermon today!”, and then the same to the boys.

Annoyed, as they got outside, the young teenage lady couldn’t stand it anymore and asked her friends, “What’s up with your preacher? Why is he telling everybody that he preached such a great sermon today?” The kids all chuckled. “No silly. He’s not telling everyone HE preached a great sermon. He’s telling everyone that THEY preached a great sermon.” “What do you mean?” she replied.

“The little old lady has a lot of health problems, yet she was here at church anyway. It’s a great sermon about commitment in the midst of adversity. The little kid got a high five and “Great sermon today!” because the preacher noticed how well behaved he was. The mom with the crying kid? She showed diligence in discipline, and even at, or I guess we should say ‘especially so’, at that young age she was teaching her child the value of worshipping God, and being a great example to other parents. The man that led a prayer did a great job. He’s really a natural and leads great prayers, but he’s afraid of public speaking. But he preached a sermon on the courage of getting up and leading us in prayer despite his fears and reservations. The young lady with the sermon notes? He was saying she preached a great sermon by listening intently and following along, not being distracted OR distracting others. Through her exam-ple, she preached a great sermon.” “Well what about the lady he told her ‘Great sermon last night!’?, inquired the young teenage girl.” “He was saying that because she preached a lesson on hospitality when she had the preacher and his family over for dinner last night.” “And what about you guys? Why did he tell you guys great sermon?” “He does that when we dress modestly to show reverence for God and respect for our neighbor in the assembly. He says most kids don’t do that these days, and he’s very proud of the sermon we preach by the way we dress.”

The young lady felt bad. She had judged the preacher all wrong. He was merely commending everyone for the sermons that they were preaching through their daily walk in serving God. She paused for a moment. She turned around and left her friends and walked back into the building and tapped the preach-er on shoulder. He turned around a bit startled, and the young teenage girl gave him a great big hug and said, “Great sermon today! Thanks!”

Every day, you ARE the preacher! (Matthew 5:16) What are you preaching and teaching? From the way you dress, to the things you think, the things you say, the things you do. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. From the time you can walk and talk until the time you have walked and talked your last… you are preaching a sermon. What is the sermon of your life teaching the world? If people could look into your PRIVATE life; what lessons would they learn? Today, right now, this very hour… what lessons are you preaching to your neighbor, your coworker, your classmates, your friends, your family members, your brethren… what are you preaching… even to yourself???

Let us not think that our thoughts and actions are of no consequence… for they are all preaching a les-son of either righteousness or unrighteousness… good, or evil… wisdom, or folly… love, or hate… obedi-ence, or disobedience… honor, or dishonor… loyalty, or disloyalty… patience, or impatience… gentle-ness, or harshness… courage, or cowardice… selfLESSness, or selFISHness… generosity, or stingy… puri-ty, or impurity… happiness, or sadness… optimism, or pessimism… responsibility, or irresponsibility… trust, or distrust… unity, or division… forgiveness, or vengefulness… contentment, or envy… self-control, or out-of-control… respect, or disrespect… committed, or uncommitted… godliness... or sin. Look at that list. Take a pen/pencil and circle the sermons you are preaching with the decisions of your life RIGHT NOW. What sermons are you preaching?

When you stand before God you will see your record. (Revelation 20:12) A book will be opened up which will reveal all that you have done. When it is read before you; what sermon will you hear? Will you hear the sermon of a life that was dedicated to God and all of His glory and goodness, or will you hear a sermon of worldliness. The blessing is… you have a choice! (Deuteronomy 30:15&19) You have a choice as to what that book will say. It has not yet been written. It has not yet been finished. And so today, recognize how you want the rest of that story to go. For your choices, of the sermon you will preach with your life, will determine the difference of whether or not your name is recorded in the book of life. (Revelation 20:15) Preach well my friend! Take heart… and preach well! (Acts 17:30-31; II Peter 3:8-11)

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