I wonder if you ever have been the recipient of a lecture. You know, where someone who is Very Angry and In Charge has Something to Tell You. Maybe the lecture was just a few words of pithy direction. Perhaps the lecture included finger-pointing and fortune-telling along the lines of “Ship up and shape up or you’ll never amount to anything.” It might have included stories about how you are a failure and back in the days of yore the speaker learned what was important and put it to good effect, and so should you, you slacker.
If you received such a lecture—how did that work out for you?
Yeah, me neither. What I got from the lecture was information about how mad the speaker was about me and my behavior. I was motivated to change my ways to the point where I wouldn’t get attention, but—and this isn’t something unique to me—I didn’t really take it to heart to the point of changing my attitudes. I reformed enough to make others happy. Inside, the same old me was in charge. Just smarter and more experienced.
That’s the problem with a lecture. That’s the problem with a sermon or a message. We can hear it as advice based upon anger or upon the idea that someone knows better than you and wants to tell you something. It’s simply words of warning motivating us to avoid actions which lead to unwanted attention, but not to an appraisal or a reflection about ourselves and our behaviors.
That’s the point Monty was making in the message this morning, I think, that sometimes we just hear the words. It’s OK to hear them, of course. But at some point we have to go on to the next step, where we put things into effect because we’re allowing ourselves to be changed.
I know. That sounds like a lecture, doesn’t it? “You should stop listening to advice from other people and listen to my advice.” That’s kind of cheap for me to say that, as if I’m somehow a better lecturer or more trustworthy.
I’m not coming from that point of view. I don’t have special pleading.
I’m just saying this: if you want to have more than a life comprising lectures and advice and warnings, take action.
I’m saying that this isn’t a lecture where an expert is advising you. I’m saying this is a lecture of someone saying “All of life is at your fingertips. Go for it. Don’t settle for less.”
That’s the lecture for today.