Funny thing happened to me on the way to the auditorium in one of my recent speaking engagements. On this particular day, there was a donut breakfast prior to the seminar. It was a pleasant fellowship brunch held in the lobby of the auditorium of this church building. Upon speaking to one of the elderly women, she rather scowled at me and said, “Whoever heard of having donuts and coffee in the lobby?… I just don’t approve of this at all!”
Well, she said it with a coffee cup in her hand, so I smiled and responded, “Well, perhaps you should put down your cup, then, if it bothers you.”
She said, “Well, it does bother me!”
I said, “Well, do you think it’s okay down the hall in the fellowship room, then, but it’s not okay in this room?”
“Just a minute,” she responded, “and I’ll tell you what I think.” She proceeded to scoot around the table to the coffee dispenser to refill her cup.
While her inconsistency was a little more blatant than most, it occurred to me that, in most of us, there may often be an unrecognized clash between what we say and what we do. Here’s a sampling. You may have heard similar statements.
“Mom, Jamie doesn’t bow her head when we are praying.”
“I just hate Sophie. She’s always bad-mouthing people.”
“Honey, I wish for once you would stop being so selfish and think about what I need from this relationship.”
“I know I need to get serious about this, but I just don’t have TIME to think much about ETERNITY.”
Facebook status: “It makes me sick how people on facebook are always so negative.”
“I always sit all by myself. Why doesn’t somebody come sit with me?”
…or my personal favorite… “I can write good. That’s always been my favorite subject. Can you tell me how I maybe could write a book?”
These are funny examples of ironic self incrimination. But, in a more serious vein, perhaps we should all taste our words to be sure we are not spewing forth like the fountain in James 2:
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh (James 2:12, 13).
And one final word from the One Who has the final word:
“…So practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger (Matthew 23:3,4).”