I came home from church yesterday with notes all over my bulletin. Marti wasn’t feeling well and had opted to stay home, so I committed myself to bringing home the sermon. I was eager to get everything down so I filled up the “Sermon Notes” page and spilled over onto the back of the prayer request card.
Central to the sermon was a diagram the speaker had constructed on a white board that started with a vertical line bisected by a horizontal line and then two diagonals all going through the center — the way you would go about cutting a pie into eight pieces.
At the top of the vertical line he put “Glory — who we really are — our true self in Christ.” At the bottom was our “False self.” On the far right of the horizontal line was “Selflessness,” on the far left: “Selfishness.” The diagonal lines then represented various blends of the lines they were bisecting, the ultimate goal being the upper-right corner where our true self is revealed through selflessness and humility. The point of all this was that God was drawing us all, through the experiences of our lives, however difficult, to that upper-right corner.
Well now, you’d think that after forty years of marriage I should know how my wife relates to diagrams (she doesn’t), but I was all excited about the insights I was going to share with her, so I wasn’t ready for her first comment after I was done with my excellent presentation of the facts. “So what? What are we supposed to do?”
I’m sure I had that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look on my face as I finished my excellent presentation and got that response. I immediately thought, What do you mean, “What are we supposed to do?” Who cares? Isn’t this a cool diagram? Doesn’t it explain so much?
Had I given even the slightest bit of forethought to what my wife might say about my presentation of this sermon, I would have known she would ask me that question. She always asks that question. She asks it of my speaking and my writing all the time: “So what?” She’s the “So what?” person of our relationship. You’d think I would know that by now, but I was so intrigued by my own discoveries that I didn’t relate to her; I forced on her what I saw.
I like explanations. I like things that explain people and reality. I like categories and end games. Marti wants change. She wants to know how this is going to affect my life. Did her husband come home a different person, acting out of a changed heart and mind, or did he come home the same old guy with a new diagram in his head?
To be sure, it was a good sermon and it had more to do with assurances than with action — assurances that God is working in our lives to draw us to Him through whatever is happening at the time. I even picked up a phrase yesterday that sounds to me like the first line of a new song: “The road to glory is a winding way.”
But when all is said and done, when we are all walking a road of discipleship, we must keep asking ourselves Marti’s questions: “So what? What does this mean to my life? What am I supposed to do with this new information? How do I act on this?” It may not always be the presenter’s responsibility to point this out every time; but it should be our responsibility to find it, and do it.