I mentioned on Sunday in our class that I thought the world had certain standards for the Christian, and that we should strive to live up to those standards. What I wasn’t talking about was their (the world’s) distorted perceptions of the church, but a certain rule of conduct by which, right or wrong, they hold Christians to. Our ultimate standard, of course, is Jesus. But the world doesn’t know, or fully understand, what Jesus’ standards are. They look at Christians and expect us to act a certain way, and scoff at us when we don’t saying that we aren’t any better than they are. And we’re not any better- we are just like them. Except we are saved by grace. And it’s that grace that should be transforming us, making us new creatures. The world doesn’t understand grace, but they understand what we say and what we do and that they should be the same, and by that we can change their perceptions of us.

Case in point. I just had lunch with an old friend of mine, someone I hadn’t seen in a while. It was good to get caught up with each others’ lives. He’s a believer and the vice-president for a audio/video design company that designs and installs sound, video and lighting systems for churches and other large venues. He was telling me the reason he was in my part of town was because he was picking up money that was owed his company, and the only reason they were getting paid is because they had threatened liens. Who owed the money? A large Southern Baptist church in town. That got us on the topic of churches and their actions, and he told me that everyone who worked on this church (and many of the contractors and subcontractors weren’t believers) came away with some very negative feelings towards the church because of the attitudes and treatment from the staff and members. He also told me that the worse churches to deal with were either Southern Baptist or AG (and his company has worked with quite a few). The bigger the church, the more difficult they were to work with. And it’s not just churches he works with, it’s the architects and contractors who profess to be Christian that deal in very unethical ways.

Basically my point is this: we as the Church, or Christ Followers, must do more than talk the talk. We can talk all we want but if all we are doing is sucking air, and there is no action to back up the talk, then what good is it? Like Paul said, “If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” We’re just making a lot of noise. And after a while, noise gets to be an irritation and gets tuned out. A concert of just a gong or clanging cymbal is hard to sit through.

This is my rambling thought for the day, brought on no doubt by the burrito I had for lunch.

His peace be on you all.