Preaching to the choir.

April 26, 2013

Everybody recognizes that as the description of someone trying to make a sale to those who are already sold!  It relates not only to religion, but politics, education, and anyplace else where there are convictions and an audience!  It’s not necessarily a bad thing – we all like to be re-energized regarding our belief systems.  That’s one of the reasons, for example, why we go to church every week: to be refreshed and reminded of our faith.

Jesus started his ministry reaching out only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He was a Jew, come to save the Jews – in essence, to preach to the choir.  (Matt 10:6)  At his birth though, the angels said “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”  (Luke 2:10)  And so it was, as the Gospels report, that over time, he healed Samaritans, Canaanites, Greeks, Syrophenicians, and even Romans.  And who knows how many other nationalities may have been in the multitudes that he fed – and loved!  At the end of his career, he expanded his ministry by telling his disciples “go ye into all the world…” (Mark 16:15)

It is certainly safer to share our faith and give testimony about our spiritual growth, to those within our own house, or even to our own lost sheep.  But if we wish to be obedient to Jesus’ final command, we need to preach to more than just the choir!  Jesus explained it this way: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about knocking on doors or standing on corners (and certainly no offense is meant to those who have chosen that pathway).  But I am talking about letting your very life shine as an example of what lives in your heart!  This is not for getting butts in pews – but simply because you can’t help expressing the divine joy that overflows your soul!

One of the easiest ways to sparkle is through gratitude!  Giving thanks, showing appreciation, acknowledging others brightens everyone’s day!  And you can do that no matter who you’re with – choir, congregation, or just passers-by.  A profound statement by Mary Baker Eddy, theologian and founder of my church, points out the power of gratitude – and its opposite.  She wrote in part: “…we cannot conceal the ingratitude of barren lives.”  (Science and Health page 4)  It doesn’t get any darker than that.

So, lighten up – preach to the choir and to the world.  Every moment is an opportunity to let your light shine.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.