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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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TAKING OUR OWN ADVICE

The apostle Paul is taking some religious people to task in Romans 2:17ff. Apparently some members of the church in Rome were not practicing what they were preaching – You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, 'Do not commit adultery,' do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law (2:21-23)?" Some (of Jewish background) in the first century church of Christ at Rome were like some in the modern day church of Christ – guilty of giving advice about moral and spiritual living which they themselves were failing to live by. They remind us of D. L. Moody's statement, "Most people talk cream and live skim milk." Jesus taught each of us preaches a sermon when He said, You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14-16). Question is, what does the sermon say?

The following story reminds us that sometimes it is difficult to take our own advice. A doctor called his plumber late one night and whined, "You've got to help me. I have a leak in one of my pipes." The plumber moaned, "But it's the middle of the night." Said the doctor, "So, that never stopped you from calling me." The plumber admitted, "You're right. Tell me again, what's the problem?" The doctor responded, "There' a leak in my bathroom sink." The plumber said matter-of-factly, "I see. Here's what I want you to do: take one aspirin now and drop it in your drain. If the leak hasn't improved in three hours, use two more aspirin every four hours after that. And give me a call if nothing has changed by morning." After a moment of silence, the doctor managed to say, "You're kidding, right?" The plumber countered, "No. That's exactly what you always tell me. Now leave me alone. I'm going back to sleep." It is very right to advise and teach others to love God supremely, read His word regularly, pray passionately, attend the services of the church faithfully, give generously, serve unselfishly, love lavishly, and forgive frequently. Question is, are we taking our own advice? To quote the apostle Paul again, "You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?" Words from Thoreau remind us we need to close the gap between the advice we give and the example we set, "If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see. Let them see." The world can't see Christ in His church unless we take our own advice and preach by our lives what we preach with our lips.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ