I’m still mad at Tex Sample. Five years ago, I heard him preach on Romans 12 and that sermon has not let me go. It got into my spirit and has lingered. Sample made the Word come alive and I’m still being transformed by it. He simply reminded us of the high calling to which we are called as followers of Jesus:
- present your body as a living sacrifice
- don’t be conformed to this world
- do not think of yourself more highly than you ought
- let love be genuine
- hate what is evil
- hold fast to what is good
- love with mutual affection
- outdo one another in showing honor
- do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord
- rejoice in hope
- be patient in suffering
- persevere in prayer
- contribute to the needs of the saints
- extend hospitality to strangers
- bless those who persecute you
- rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep
- live in harmony with one another
- do not be haughty
- associate with the lowly
- do not claim to be wiser than you are
- do not repay evil for evil
- live peaceably with all
- never avenge yourself
- do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
AND, he audaciously suggested we should intentionally practice these actions of discipleship!
After I heard this sermon, Romans 12 became a regular part of my prayers. Sample’s sermon, Paul’s words, Jesus’ calling – would not leave me alone! They were prominent during my prayers on the following Ash Wednesday.
As I faced my own limitations, I became aware that to my parents I could have been a better son (both are deceased); to my sisters I can be a better brother; to my wife I can be a better husband; to Jesus I can be a better follower.
What does that mean? I can be a better lover. A better lover of God. A better lover of self. A better lover of my neighbors. A better lover of God’s creation.