By J. Gerald Harris
My pastor friend, Michael Boatfield of Macland Baptist Church in Powder Springs, preached a sermon which he entitled “Are You Wearing a Bib or an Apron?” I wish I had thought of it, but I am probably not as creative as most preachers.
For example, Posey Redmond, a noted pastor in Atlanta and a good friend, told me that he knew a fellow pastor who preached a sermon on Mark, chapter 2 where it is reported that Jesus was in a certain house and the place was filled with people. To get a man “sick with the palsy” to Jesus four of the afflicted man’s friends cut a hole in the roof of the house and lowered him down to where Jesus was preaching. The sermon was entitled “Four of a Kind Beats a Full House.”
To illustrate his sermon, Pastor Boatfield put on a bib. Of course, we know that a bib is a piece of cloth or plastic fastened around a baby’s neck to keep their clothes clean while they are eating. Generally, a bib is worn by someone who is being fed by another person.
In July 2018 the Barna Research Group conducted a survey in which they reported that only 14 percent of adults in America read the Bible daily followed by 13 percent who read it several times a week and 8 percent who read it once a week. Based on Barna’s research we can conclude that 65 percent of the adult population in America read the Bible infrequently or not a all. The vast majority of Americans are depending upon someone else to feed them the Word of God or they are starving spiritually.
In our churches I fear that there are many souls who are not feeding themselves by means of a personal, private devotional life. Our churches are filled with baby Christians who are still walking about in the swaddling clothes of an infantile faith. They are like the carnal believers of whom the Apostle Paul said, “And I, brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal” (I Corinthians 3: 1-3a).
So, are you wearing a bib or an apron? An apron is a covering one wears over their clothes to keep them clean while they are cooking and serving others. In John 13 Jesus girded himself with a towel (or an apron) and proceeded to wash the feet of His disciples. He did not need a bib, because he was able to feed himself. He spent ample time with His Father in heaven. His devotional life was exemplary even though He was divine, “the express image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
To conclude his sermon Pastor Boatfield put on an apron and proceeded to wash the feet of one of his church members to demonstrate the importance of being a servant. After Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, He said, “For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13: 15).
The saints of God have not been called to simply feast on the riches of God’s grace, but to serve Him with gladness. It has been said that Christians are to be springs, not sponges. The church where I have the privilege of being a member, Ephesus Baptist Church in Villa Rica, Georgia has as its theme, “Rivers, not Reservoirs”.
Vance Havner was a revivalist of another generation, but wisely stated, “The vision must be started by venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.” We must discard the bib and don the apron.
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