A British pastor one day was having coffee with a man who was hired to paint the church. Making small talk, the painter said, “A lot of people come to church, don’t they? I see many cars parked here every time I drive by.” Surprisingly the pastor said, “Do you mind if we change the subject? You’re talking about my least favourite subject.” The painter was shocked that the pastor didn’t want to talk about church. After all, isn’t that what they do? Inquisitively the painter asked, “What is your favourite subject?” The pastor said, “Jesus”. As the pastor started talking about Jesus, he could see that the painter’s eyes were filling up with tears.*
People tend to talk about the things that are most meaningful to them. What was meaningful to the pastor in our story above was not church or anything else, but it was Jesus. That is what worship is all about.
How can things that are fading away compare to the Creator who clothed himself in humanity, experienced life like us, taught, loved, and gave himself so that all who believe in him can be restored to relationship with Him.
The Apostle Peter stood up in Jerusalem and preached a sermon that saw thousands of lives changed. The subject of his sermon was Jesus Christ. Explaining the unique and powerful experience of Pentecost, Peter said, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” (Acts 2:32, 33)
Like Peter, Paul had as his focus the living Christ whom he met on the road to Damascus. Paul went further and said, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”. (Philippians 3:8)
Even though worldliness and commercialism have overtaken these two seasons, Resurrection Day (Easter) and Christmas are about Jesus. Nothing can compare to him, not even family and generosity.
It is very easy for everyone to be tempted to focus on things or experiences. An artistic performance, a good meal, or a kind gesture, can receive overt attention and even unwarranted praise. Even worship songs can be given praise, boarding on idolatry.
We could spend time enjoying our candlelight, but it is wiser to let the sunlight in. Let’s change the subject!
No matter what we experience in life, good and bad, Jesus Christ should be our main topic of conversation. An example would be to turn the conversation to the faithfulness and goodness of God when blessed or happy. When trouble comes, we can speak about God’s enduring presence and the hope we have in his great love and power.
After healing a lame man, people began to worship Paul and Barnabas. They actually said, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us”. (Acts 14:11) Like the British pastor, Paul and Barnabas did not want the attention drawn to themselves or any other earthly thing. They cried out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them”. (Acts 14:15, 16)
God is God and we are not! Nothing can compare to Jesus Christ and so we are wise to change the subject to him. We appreciate your Comments
*story from book “Preach the Word” by Greg Haslam