Behavior and Belief
Sunday, July 20, 2008

    I confess that sometimes I don't practice what I preach.  Today that reality came jolting home.  For years I have preached that how we behave is a reflection of what we believe about God.  I truly believe that.  But today, a pastor used that line in a sermon, and low and behold, he was preaching directly to me.

    A couple of years ago, I was faces with a decision to go into mission work full time or take some time out from ministry and develop some land for recreation use.  I struggled with the decision until the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program and Denver Seminary visited with me (that is a very mild way of saying he chewed me out).  I laid out my two options and said, "I feel guilty about doing the development work."  To which he responded, "Bud Surles, of all people, I would have never thought you would have said that. All work is ministry, and you have an opportunity to demonstrate how all the principles you have been teaching can apply to daily life."  He said more, but you get the gist.

    The problem is this.  I have done what I was called to do from a human perspective, but I have found that I have been too demanding with contractors, too driving with my employees, and too quick to put my work ahead of my God. I found it surprising to learn that I am just like all the people I have been preaching to for the last many years.  And I have to wonder, from looking at my behavior, do people think I believe in the holy character of my God?  Do they believe that I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?  Do they believe that loving one another is second only in my life to loving God?  I sincerely doubt it.  So you can imagine the pain I felt when I had my own sermon preached back at me.  It hurt.

    But I still believe today, regardless of my own behavior, that our behavior is a reflection of our belief about God.  I just realized that even us preacher types can so easily put Him on the back burner.  Join with me this week, as I try to put Him back where He belongs -- on the throne of my heart.

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