Summary: How are we to boast about our faith?
“Something Worth Boasting About”
By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church,
Newport News, VA
As human beings, we are all pretty good at boasting.
“Look what I did?”
“See what I can do.”
“Mine is better than yours.”
These sayings come so natural to us that if we were to enter any kindergarten class or pre-school we would have little ones coming up to us by the droves proudly boasting unashamedly about any feat imaginable.
And children are not the only ones who are good at boasting.
Politicians get elected by boasting about their achievements.
Businesses make their money by boasting about their products.
And many of us spend our entire lives working hard to achieve positions of power, bank accounts full of money, and all sorts of possessions in order to boast to the world: “Look how good I am! Look at me! Look at what I can do!”
Of course, much of this comes from our insecurities, our feelings of inferiority which infest our lives with demons and cause us to do things we would never otherwise do—or say things that we would never otherwise say—in order to gain approval from the world.
In our Epistle Lesson for this morning Paul declares boldly: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Now, that is powerful!
That is courageous!
And if we do this, we will find that our insecurities and inferiority complexes will naturally fade away into nothingness.
What a nightmare!
On the first day of high school, my Freshman year, I was walking down the crowded hallway between classes—scared out of my mind.
This was all very intimidating to me, as I carried a big stack of books and notebooks under my arm.
Then I saw him coming.
He was a big, strong, cocky, blond- haired Senior Jock.
As he passed little old me, he reached over, knocked all the books and papers out from under my arms and kept on walking…
…leaving me red faced--trying to figure out how I was going to recover all my stuff with such a crowd of other kids walking quickly by me…around me…and over me—as if I did not even exist.
Then I noticed that there actually was someone who had dared to stop and help me pick my books off the floor.
It sure did make me feel a lot better, but it also kind of surprised me because this kid was also a Senior—and you’re not exactly going with the crowd if you are a Senior helping a Freshman pick up the books that were knocked out of his hands.
As he was helping me, this other kid was saying things like:
“What a mean thing to do.”
“Don’t let him get to you.”
When I had all my books back in order, I was barely able to say “thanks” before this other high school kid was dashing off to his class.
It was only later that I learned what had caused this young man to behave so differently than everyone else in that mob scene.
He was planning on going on to become a Priest, which he now is.
So, even at that young age, he already was living his faith, or shall we say, “boasting in the Cross of Jesus Christ his Lord” …
…just by his actions.
He did not consider himself to be part of this world.
He was already one of God’s fellow workers in God’s Kingdom.
And his actions…his boasting in the Cross of Christ was a great witness to my young self.
It sure made all the difference in the world on my first day of high school as a Freshman, and I have never forgotten it.
I would imagine, or at least hope, that all of us have stories of how others have gone against the world…
…never boasting except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…
…and thus making a lasting, positive impact on our lives.
And these are the people we truly admire.
These are the truly strong, the truly rich!
These are the people who, through the Cross of Jesus Christ, the world has been crucified to them and them to the world!
The reason Paul was writing his letter the Galatians was because the Judaizers, who believed the Gentile converts to Christianity were not truly Christian unless they first went through a number of the Old Testament ceremonial practices—in particular circumcision—they were “perverting” the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their teachings—and causing the Galatian Christians to be thrown “into confusion.”
So Paul was trying to set them straight again.
As he writes in Galatians 6:15:
“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”