Today is a repost of an earlier blog but God directed me to it so I’m reposting.
Speaking to the crowd
I’m not one for public speaking. I am just not very good at it. My early life was spent bartending and training staff so you would figure that I might be good in front of crowds but I’m not.
A few months back I delivered the sermon at a friends church. It would have gone just fine if I didn’t have three of my precious W3 sisters sitting in front of me crying their eyes out. I did everything that I could not to look at them but they were my support and I needed to remind myself that they were there.
The congregation said it was a success but I suspect that they were just being nice. They were after all some of the sweetest people who I have ever met.
When I spoke in front of my own church my hands were literally dripping with sweat. My daughter was there and it made me extremely nervous.
See, now I’m just making up excuses.
Preparing a Eulogy
When my father died I knew that it was going to be up to me to arrange a funeral service. I don’t think that there was anyone that expected to have a service for him.
He wasn’t very popular and he had taken his own life so the circumstance surrounding it were already uncomfortable.
My oldest brother and I had talked about what we were going to do when that day finally arrived. We figured in the end we would be alone, responsible for handling his body and any other responsibility that come with someones death.
I knew that my brother would never stand in front of anyone and speak about our dad, not because he is hateful or mean, it’s just really not his thing. So, I was in the driver’s seat.
I figured that there would be a few people who would show up to my church in support of my brothers, sister and myself.
What in the world was I going to say. I would be standing in front of a group of people who didn’t like the man I was going to speak about. I also had my minor siblings that I had to honor and respect. My little sister was only 12 at the time and my brothers were 15 and 17.
Here was my chance. This was the one time in my life that what I said would truly matter and I knew that I had to choose my words carefully.
I had to not glorify a man’s life that didn’t earn glorifying. I also had to let my little siblings know that their daddy meant something and that he was loved by someone despite his flaws.
I was about to stand in front of people and needed to make sure that I said something that made sense and made an impact. As it turned out, the church was pretty full that day.
It wasn’t just me and my brother after all.
The people who came to support me and my siblings were more than I could have ever imagined.
I ended up talking about my dads Levi jeans, because I am an idiot.
I had a choice the day I spoke. That day is the one day that I had to make sure I said the right thing and make sure that it mattered. Maybe I wasted half of it talking about those stupid Levi jeans that he wore or maybe that’s exactly what people needed to hear. I wanted to remind everyone in that room that he was a human, he was a dad, he was a brother and a son.
For some reason his jeans seemed to make that connection. I also needed to remind everyone that forgiveness is the ultimate healer and it was time for everyone in that room that was holding on to bitter feelings for my dad to finally let go.
What would you say if you had one chance to speak in front of a large crowd. If you could talk about anything that you wanted to would you take a chance or play it safe? Would it depend on the crowd? Would you say what you thought they wanted to hear or would you say what you thought they needed to hear?
When crowds gathered around Jesus he didn’t go for the popular vote. He went straight to the heart of the matter. There was no candy coating when Jesus spoke. He was pretty straight forward.
He told people what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life—” (John 12:23-25).
Basically Jesus took his time in front of this crowd to let them know that our earthly things do not matter and that they need to let them go and be followers of Him so that they can be with Him in heaven. He was letting them know that they needed to die to themselves and live through Jesus Christ and without that they would produce no fruit.
What Jesus? Let go of our earthly things? Are you serious? Haven’t you seen all the cool stuff we have? Haven’t you been on Pinterest?
The point is, Jesus didn’t go for the popular vote, He went for the truth and to make an impact on whoever He had a chance to be with.
Would you do the same?
Would you rather get the popular vote and make everyone comfortable or would you rather spit the truth and possibly make everyone a little uncomfortable. It’s not just about your words for large crowds. Your words mean something every time you use them. They matter in front of a larger crowd and they matter in a personal conversations.
How will you use your words today?
Heavenly Father thank you for giving us the gift to be able to spread your word. Help us to have strength to speak the truth and to take a chance when we have it. When we get tongue-tied and scared gently remind us that our reward is in heaven and not here are earth. Give us the courage to stand in front of a crowd and tell them what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear. Make us your hands and feet. In Jesus name, amen.
If you get the chance to speak to a large crowd I have two pieces of advice. Don’t picture the crowd naked like everyone says and don’t talk about Levi jeans.
If you’re curios about what I really said at my dads funeral there is a copy in the notes section on the W3 facebook page titled Now I Lay You Down To Sleep.