|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good …” 1 Corinthians 12:7 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “I’ll do my job and you do yours”
This morning I want to bring us back to the story of A.J. Jacobs and his year of living Biblically, as recorded in his funny book, “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible”.
Since A.J. was following the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, two-thirds of his year was spent living in the Old Testament and one-third in the New. As you would guess, living in the New Testament was a lot easier for him than was the Old Testament, but still, it had its moments. One such moment occurred when he got to Mark 16:17-18 and he read, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes …”
That last part really stumped him. He wondered if he was supposed to go around picking up deadly snakes. So, he consulted his team of New Testament counselors and he was amazed to discover that there’s a fringe sect of Christianity that actually does practice snake handling as part of their worship services. Intrigued, A.J. jumped on a plane, flew from New York City to Knoxville, TN, rented a car, drove ninety minutes to the little town of Del Rio, and met with Pastor Jimmy Morrow of “The Church of God with Signs to Follow”.
Jimmy was thrilled to have A.J. visit and he was eager to tell him all about snake handling. He even invited A.J. to attend their worship service, which A.J. found to be excessively long but also disappointing because so few people attended, only six. He asked Pastor Jimmy about the low attendance. Jimmy told him that six was about normal but sometimes nobody shows up. “But I preach anyway.” Jimmy said. A.J. was confused and responded, “Wait, you preach anyway, even if there’s nobody here?” To which Pastor Jimmy responded, “Sure. My job is to preach, their job is to show up, and I’m going to do my job whether they do theirs or not!”
Jimmy went on to tell a story: “One time nobody showed up. I still go up on the pulpit and preach. And this guy walking by, he stuck his head in and said, “What are you doing? No one’s here. No one can hear you.’ And I said, ‘Well you heard me, didn’t you?”
What a great lesson for a preacher! I like that and I’m going to adopt it as my own attitude, “My job is to preach. Your job is to show up. And I’m going to do my job whether you do yours or not!” Who woulda thunk I would learn a helpful preacher-lesson from a backwoods snake handling Pentecostal preacher recorded in a book written by an obsessive /compulsive secular Jew – but there it is.
So, we’re gonna have church this Sunday at Oak Hill Baptist (with signs to follow). There won’t be any snake handling but there will be lots of preaching. Y’all come now, ya’hear?
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