One of the first statements made by the professor of my seminary preaching class, you know the class meant to shape us all into the next generation of Billy Grahams, was that the average person seated in the congregation will only hear one out of every three words a pastor says.
That’s right. The average person only hears a third of all that is said from the pulpit.
I was shocked. I thought everyone hung on every word that their pastor offered. That apparently just isn’t the case. This means, of course, that as pastors we are called to proclaim the good news with some efficiency. I am still working on this. Perhaps your pastor is as well. It is not an easy thing, not for those of us who love to use 15 words when five will do. But I digress, in the hope that you haven’t already shut down and will continue reading. To make all of this worse, in the 20 years since that comment was made, there has been evidence that the influx of social media has actually caused our attention spans to decline even more.
Now wait, where was I going with this??? Oh, yes. In an attempt to say as much as possible, we have to manage the number of words we use. So with this in mind, I am going to keep my encouragement to you short, sweet and hopefully memorable. Here is a “not so comprehensive” or original list of Biblical axioms for us to live by. Feel free to find verses of scripture that support each one. You will find them all throughout the Bible. Also, feel free to add to this list. Make it your own, and may we all strive in these particularly challenging days to:
Love more. Love gratuitously! Love selflessly. Love as we have been loved. Hug more necks (when social distancing is through). Forgive as we have been forgiven. Judge not!
Abide no hatred. See NO color! Mend more fences.
Quit our meanness. Say grace often. Show grace always. Smile. Listen more. Speak less. Pray. Pray. Pray. Live courageously. Give freely. Serve others. Bless without bias.
Be merciful. Be kind.
And whatever we do, either in word or deed, let us: “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17c