Parson to Person

Personal conduct most often speaks more loudly, and certainly more forcefully than words.  A personal experience underscores this statement.  Allow me to share it with you.

A number of years ago,  Laura and I were sent to Australia to assist the first missionary of the churches of the American Baptist Association to that continent.  Fellowship, preaching, encouragement, and help in locating and securing property for a permanent site all made up the objectives of the trip.

Initial excitement was soon turned into some disappointment as the change of airplanes in Los Angeles did not go smoothly.  An announcement by the airline that the intended aircraft had a cracked windshield, grounding it for repairs, was not greeted kindly by some of the passengers.  News that it may be six or more hours before substitution by another craft made it worse.

A public relations move by the airline emerged.  Everyone would be bussed to a fine hotel for a meal, leisure time, and drinks. There, Laura and I were the only ones not soaking up the liquor.  In fact, hotel personnel had to be argued with briefly to produce a simple Coca-Cola.
Later, all the passengers were aboard the substituted aircraft, when an announcement was made of an apologetic sort.  It concluded by saying passengers could have as many drinks as they wanted without charge.  Soon, the entire cabin was filled with inebriated folks.  One lady unsteadily made her way to our row of seats and stated somewhat slurringly, “You must be a padre!”  When asked why she would think such a thing she stated that we were the only two people on the plane not drinking.  I did confess to being a Christian, a minister of the gospel, but not a padre!  Sure enough, when the plane landed in Honolulu, we were about the only couple who could get off the plane unassisted.

But the point is the power of our testimony projected itself in quiet deportment. This point, noted by philosophers and statesmen recently flashed again boldly on a tee shirt which put it this way, “How can I believe what you say when I see what you do!”  How important it is that words and actions coincide.  How unfortunate it is when they do not.  It is reminiscent of a statement made by Jesus regarding the hypocrisy so prevalent in His day, “  This people draw nigh unto me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Blessed indeed is that one who controls his tongue, and whose deportment empowers his words to the glory of God.  James 3:2 call such a self-controlled individual a perfect man.

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