The preacher’s challenge to the people must always be: “Dare to be different.” Be the you God created you to be and not the you everyone else thinks you ought to be. Walk to the beat of that different drummer even though there are expectations for you to conform to the beat of the crowd mentality. There is only one you and there will never be another. So capitalize on your uniqueness, not for your benefit alone, but for the benefit of others.
There is a culture out there that says your womanhood or manhood can be measured by the make and model of the car you drive, by the size of your bank account or the size of your home. Nothing could be further from the truth. All the things we accumulate can be taken away at any moment. What remains when the things are gone is what really counts.
Three indictments I hear regularly about the church and its ministry is that: (1) The church is long on blame and short on forgiveness; (2) The church is long on critique and short on encouragement; and, (3) The church is long on talk and short on action. If the church would dare to be different, it could focus on raising up a whole new generation of disciples that are long on forgiveness, long on encouragement, and long on action.
If the world is ever to be as God would want, and as many of us would want it to be, too, then it must be fixed. I do not mean “fixed” in some quick, hurried Trumpian way, but fixed one person at a time. Fixed the way Jesus has always been about fixing it. I remember the story of the little boy who was filled with all kinds of playful ideas. He could not wait for his father to get home from work. But the father’s work required him to stay later than usual. By the time he came home, all he wanted was a few minutes of relaxation and quiet. Now I quote from The Broadcaster:
“Over and over again, the boy tugged at his dad’s leg with yet another suggestion of something they might do together. Finally in total frustration, the father ripped from a magazine a picture of the world and tore it into a hundred pieces. ‘Here!’ he said, handing the child a role of scotch tape, ‘Go put the world back together!!’ ‘Ah…peace at last!’ (or so he thought).
“But in just a few minutes he was interrupted again. There before him stood his son and in his hands was a crudely fashioned picture of the world. ‘Son, that’s incredible! How did you ever do it?’
“‘It was easy,’ said the boy. ‘You see, on the other side of the picture of the world was a picture of a man and as soon as I got the man straightened out, the world was OK, too!’”
God fixes the world one person at a time. The longest distance any of us ever travel is eighteen inches, the distance between the head and the heart, and once Jesus comes into our heart we are never the same again. The way we think, the way we feel, the way we act is different. Never let that difference be co-opted. Instead, dare to be different to the glory of God!