‘So now what?’

FullSizeRenderI 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.

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9 Responses to ‘So now what?’

  1. TimC says:

    Yes, but … (and this will probably irritate half of the group)
    Don’t just do something, know why you’re doing it. And don’t just make a change, know why you’re making the making the change.
    Usually, for me, understanding what to do or what to change is not an instant “micro-wave dinner”. Usually it takes some time to ruminate on the new diagram and look at my own life thru that grid. As I begin to understand the diagram as it applies to my own life, the changes and the doing will come into focus. It’s a slow cook, crock pot kind of meal. But have you ever noticed that a crock pot dinner fills the house with wonderful odors and a micro wave dinner is just a micro wave dinner?

    So here’s the first step in “what to do”, and this is that the part that “doers” hate: Look at your life thru the diagram, understand your interactions with other people, and be honest about your own part in those interactions, talk things over to understand what you need to change, don’t focus on the changes that someone else needs to make and take responsibility for seeing what God wants to make of your life. And as the old saying goes, please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet.

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    I’ll again highly recommend reading one of Robert A. Rohm, P.h D books – the knowledge in it will greatly help in matters such as these…

  3. Back in the days when I had gone to church,there was a woman I knew and we constantly argued over a verse. She vehemently proclaimed the Lord was speaking of food and I would protest, No! He is speaking about man. (Acts 11 for curious minds,lol) Well we were suppose to hook up for the evening service and I stood waiting and realized I either missed her or she didn’t show. Lo and behold the pastor spoke on that very verse and stated what I knew all along, the Lord indeed was speaking of man! I looked around the church to see if I could see this woman and she was not there and realized it wasn’t meant for her to hear at that time. I have always treated people with the notion that we are all the same. You know, you put you pant leg one at a time, So what? Why are you sharing this with me again, because I already know this?! Hmm, maybe because I let what happened to me change me in a way less approving and He wanted to remind me what I use to be! So, do I force my conviction on others? Nope, it wasn’t meant for them, it was meant for me and the others who received it! Did I allow it to sink in, oh yeah, because I still treat others that in this world no matter your profession we are all equal, you know, one pant leg at a time 😀

    • Mark Seguin says:

      Hey Colleen: thought i’d let u know enjoy reading your comments! They always give me something to think about and consider… I’ve tried to send u a friend’s request of Facebook, yet cannot… Plz consider send me one, OK?

  4. kevinm1957 says:

    Like you, John, I love diagrams and neat explanations; but like Marti, after they are all said and done I want to know “what do I do with this” or “how do I act on this”. I have always realized that the information isn’t any good if I don’t know how to put it to use. That was one of the things about most churches and religions that always bummed me out. It seemed I was just supposed to
    “get it” from the explanations and diagrams. And while many of them have brought about a change in me because of some instant act of God that occurred when I heard and/or saw them and realized how they applied to me and what I needed to let go of so He could change me.

    But those types of changes of heart rarely occur on their own. Most of the time they require some action, and no one ever seemed to want to talk about that, tell me what action I needed to take; nor could I figure it out on my own.

    I find I need some “do this” in my life at times in order to gain the perspective where the diagrams and explanations come to life (my life) so that the desire to have a change of heart comes to me.

  5. kevinm1957 says:

    oops, forgot to check the notify me of new comments box.

  6. You want to deal with the “so what?” element? Try preaching to a group of people on Skid Row. It’s actually quite fun, taking what you’ve read and studied and meditated on and then applying it to the daily life of someone who’s (a) homeless, (b) addicted to something, (c) broke, (d) disabled and unable to work, (e) chronically depressed, (f) mentally ill or (g) any combination of the above. But once you find that message that combines provision Gospel (NOT “prosperity Gospel”), joy in the Lord and a better life here and hereafter, it really resonates with the people.

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