October 16, 2019

Last Sunday, the choir knocked it out of the park. It was truly one of the best anthems I have ever heard. And from the thunderous applause of the congregation, others thought the same.

After the music subsided, as I walked to the pulpit, I realized everyone claps for the choir, or the second Dr. Bradley sits on the organ bench, or whenever Shawn or Gary sing solos – they always start clapping. But Sunday after Sunday, even though the congregation continually hears the greatest sermons in the history of Christianity – no clapping, nothing, nada, zip, zilch.

Me, being me, looked out at the congregation and said, “You clap for the choir but for my sermons – nothing.” As everyone laughed, I realized I was probably going to regret that comment.

Later in the service, I preached a sermon that was so good, the angels in heaven wept for joy.

As I ended by saying, “That is the good news and that is the gospel,” Chris and Brian, both of whom sit in the back of the sanctuary, started clapping and then everyone joined in. That was the moment I knew I would not be living the comment down anytime soon.

If only I had paid attention to Solomon’s wise words: “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23)

I think in my case, keeping my mouth shut is probably the answer.

While you may not have a congregation that refuses to clap even though they get to hear Pulitzer Prize quality sermons, more than likely you will be tempted to say something that can get you into trouble. Don’t say it. Life will be much less complicated.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff and shut it when I’ve said enough. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The less said the better.

Also, just for the record, I know Amanda is the one who texted Chris and Brian with instructions to clap at the end of the sermon. This is where the forgiveness part of the Bible is overrated.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins