. . . tip me over and . . .

teapot. . . pour me out.

Anybody remember that old rhyme? We used to play that little teapot game when I was a kid, complete with hand motions and tipping sideways.

What’s that got to do with today’s message at church, you may ask. Pastor started out talking about Hudson Taylor, a missionary in the 1800s who headed mission trips to China (he started China Inland Mission). He warned all who joined him beforehand what they would face – danger, disease, abuse, maligning, false accusations, and even death – all with the very real possibility of seeing absolutely no one come to the LORD. He went and spread the Word because that was what he felt the LORD had given him to do, not because it was comfortable. He wanted to share the love of Christ with others, both at home and abroad, whether they accepted it or not, and he wanted to be sure anyone who accompanied him on these missions was going for the same reason.  If their main objective wasn’t to honor the Lord and seek to obey Him, then Taylor knew that when hardships hit them, they would falter and fold.

J. Hudson Taylor, Pastor said, was a very intense man and pounded the pulpit when he spoke, often knocking his cup of water over in his zeal.

Pastor Jerry pounded the pulpit to demonstrate, knocking over his cup of water.

This astonished us, and definitely got our attention! It also led into the point of his sermon: what comes out of you when you’re knocked over? Whatever you’re full of will spill out when you are jostled out of your comfort zone. If you’re full of love and patience and the desire to please God, that’s what people will see when you’re facing hardships and trials. If you’re full of self, then selfishness will spill out. He then said that some folks tend to make God the enemy when things don’t go just exactly as they ordered.

Paul and Silas suffered much abuse for sharing the gospel (read Acts 16:16-33). They were maligned, beaten, falsely accused, and wrongfully imprisoned. And what was in their hearts spilled out when they were struck. Instead of screaming about their rights and plotting revenge, they prayed and sang praises to the LORD through it all.  And what was the result? The jailer and his whole family came to the LORD, and I’m sure many of their fellow-prisoners did too. The point I got from this is that, when our world is tipped over, our actions affect others for good or bad, depending on what spills out from the heart.

Hence the little teapot song in my head . . . picturing myself being tipped over from my comfortable position as a pew-warming casual Christian. What comes gushing out of me when my world is upset? I didn’t really like the answer to that.

This is the first of hopefully many in my new category, “Sunday Best,” on this blog. Lord willing, I’d like to share what really touched me in our Sunday morning messages at our new church, much like I did on my recently retired blog, “Don’t Carry the Donkey!” I hope something shared here will help someone else. Thanks for reading!
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16 thoughts on “. . . tip me over and . . .

  1. Good message. It reminded me of a couple of times when I’ve gone through some super difficult times, and afterwards, people have come to me and admitted honestly that they had been watching me carefully to see if I really lived what I preach. Whew! We know it happens, but when someone actually tells you to your face, it jolts you into a new level of reality.

    And yes, I do remember that little song. In fact a short time ago, before I retired form teaching high school, I used it in my Theater class as a demonstration of some character sketches the kids were being assigned to create. I dressed up as a teapot (the best I could), and sang the song with the actions. The kids thought it was hilarious, and it kicked off that assignment really well. They all turned up with great skits themselves.

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    • That’s great – and a good way to get the kids pepped up and involved. And it’s even better that your witness held strong in the face of adversity. Lord willing, I will learn much from this message and really search my own heart. We all know adversity will come, and I do want my life to be a good witness, even in my human frailty.

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  2. As I was given an new assignment a few weeks ago, I sensed a sour attitude towards it, coming over me. the job was not something I wanted to do, and later on I find that the customer sensed my sour disposition, and requested that I not return. The management was fortunately suprised by the request, but it was a good illustration of displaced displeasure.

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    • That does illustrate the point very well. But it ain’t fun, is it? I can see why the management was surprised, because that’s not typically how you act on a job. Sometimes that sourness creeps up unawares.

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