Summary: Do we worship with a Basin theology or A TUB?


Matthew 20:20-28

Bruce Thielemann, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg, tells of a conversation he had with a member of his congregation who said, "You preachers talk a lot about ‘do unto others,’ but when you get right down to it, it comes down to basin theology." Thielemann asked him what in the world was "basin theology." The layman said, "Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus? He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing. But Jesus, the night before His death, called for a basin and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. It all comes down to basis theology: Which one will you use?"

This morning I’d like for each of you to consider this same question. If it all boils down to basin theology, which basin is it you are more prone to use? Before you come up with your final answer, let’s think about it for a moment.

We all know the story of Jesus crucifixion and how a matter of hours before it happened he was led before Pilate. The angry Jews were insistent that Pilate use his Roman authority to pronounce a capital sentence upon Jesus. The crowd wanted him dead and they needed Pilate’s help to bring this about. Pilate questioned Jesus and determined that there was no reason for him to be put to death. Still the crowd persisted, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Finally Pilate, sensing things were getting out of control, released Jesus to be nailed to a cross. Before doing so he called for a basin of water so that he might wash his hands of the whole mess. He told the crowd, "I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!" (Mt. 27:24)

So here we see the first basin, a basin the Roman governor used to avoid responsibility . He knew what he should have done but he took the easy way out; he totally passed on to others the responsibility which should have been his.

I don’t think I have to tell you that Pilate’s type of theology is alive and well today. In almost every walk of life there are those who seek to avoid the responsibility which is actually theirs. Like Pilate they continue to pass the buck, to blame others, to wash their hands clean of everything they can. You see it in the workplace, at school, and, yes, at church as well. In fact you probably see it more in church than you do anywhere else. If you refuse to take responsibility at work you are either demoted or fired. If you refuse to take responsibility at school you flunk out. If you refuse to take responsibility at church, nothing happens. Not to you anyway. Never mind that the Body of Christ suffers tremendously, but the important thing is nothing happens to you.

We claim in our bulletins each and every week that every member of the church is a minister. How many do you think really take that seriously? How many of our members actually assume this responsibility? Not all that many, I’m afraid. We are far better at Pilate’s game, at passing on our responsibility. Oh, sure we know we’re supposed to be ministers but we’re busy, we have other interests, we don’t have the time. Somebody else will do it.

I came across a humorous poem this week I want to read for you. It’s called "Somebody Else."

There’s a clever young guy named Somebody Else,

There’s nothing this guy can’t do.

He is busy from morning till way late at night,

Just substituting for you.

You’re asked to do this or you’re asked to do that

And what is your ready reply?

Get Somebody Else to do that job,

He’ll do it much better than I.

So much to do in this weary old world–

So much and workers so few,

And Somebody Else, all weary and worn,

Is still substituting for you.

If the message of the poem wasn’t so true it would sure be a lot funnier.

If we as a church are going to prosper and be faithful to the Great Commission we are going to have to have people going out into the community inviting others to church and sharing the plan of salvation with the lost. Or are we going to let Somebody Else do it?

If we are going to keep the programs going we now have intact and are going to maintain this beautiful old building we are going to have to have people who are committed to the Biblical principle of tithing and who will volunteer to help out around here from time to time. Or are we going to let Somebody Else do it?

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Jeff Strite

commented on Sep 5, 2006

Michael, this was an excellent sermon. I'm not sure how much of it I'll be able to use in my presentation, but your terminology and connections have helped me to shape some of my thoughts.

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