Little things tell a big story.

Little things tell a big story.

Whenever I am going to meet someone on Craigslist to buy or sell, I ask them if they’re planning on murdering me. If they don’t laugh at all, or if they laugh way too much, I figure that’d be a cause for concern. It’s a little thing that tells me a little about the person I’m talking to.

Our congregation is like many—it isn’t very vocal. Generally if I get an “amen” it’s because there’s a visitor in the crowd. Maybe they’ve heard the cliché that “amening” is like saying “sic em!” to a dog. It’ll just encourage the preacher to keep on going…

A year or so ago, I was preaching on “Sanctity of Life Sunday” about abortion. In the sermon, I said that “voluntary abortion is nothing but murder.” I got the loudest “amen” I’ve ever heard from one of our members.

You’d think I should have been excited (or at least surprised) that someone once wanted to offer their support of something I said, but I wasn’t.

It bugged me that in several years of preaching, literally, the only time this gentleman ever felt the need to verbally express immediate agreement was when I condemned a particular sin.

When I talked about hope, there was no amen.

When I said that Jesus is the savior of the world, there was no amen.

When I said that God loved us and wants to make something of us, there was no amen.

When I described the awesome power, majesty, and might of sovereign God, there was no amen.

But when I condemned a sin that none of our people were particularly involved in committing, there was a big, bad amen.

Little things tell a big story.

We generally say “amen” when the preacher condemns someone else’s sin, but we’re usually quiet when it is our own.

One problem we all have is how much better we are at condemnation than introspection. Remember that little teaching about a beam in your eye?

I know that our amen-ing brother didn’t mean it this way—but here’s what he communicated that Sunday: the most important thing the church can possibly say is what’s wrong with “those people.” The world’s problem was worthy of more attention than the Lord’s cure. That’s heresy—whether we say it intentionally or not.

Little things tell a big story.

That incident caused me to think about myself. What do I encourage? What do I prioritize? What do I neglect? How do my biases and preferences cause me to emphasize or de-emphasize? Even my reaction to this observation is colored by my way of thinking.

My speech and my silence both communicate. The question is, what are they saying? Little things do tell a very big story!