Summary: To have singing joy in our hearts, we must be ready to serve when God’s time comes, to discern the will of God, and to avoid all escape mechanism.
I would wager that most of you can finish this sentence. You will have heard it a thousand times. Try it.
"If you are going to talk the talk, then you have to what?"
"Walk the walk". If you’re going to talk the talk, then you have to walk the walk.
It means, of course, that what you profess to believe gets its proof from how you live and from what you do. It means that you may tell me that you hold all sorts of doctrines, all kinds of beliefs, but if you expect me to believe that you will have to prove it to me by what you do.
If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
Now we’ve heard this preached many times. We’ve even heard it mentioned from time to time in presidential politics.
Do you· remember that just a few years ago we had a president of the United States who proclaimed before some religious group that he believed in tithing. Tithing, said this president, is a great thing. If we’d all just tithe, giving ten percent of our incomes to churches or charities, then there wouldn’t be any need for welfare. The only trouble with that statement, as some reporter found out by studying the president’s tax returns, was that he who said that he believed in tithing had not given more than about $500 a year of his very healthy income to any church or charity.
So what did we conclude about that? Well, first, we concluded that this president, whom I have never named, was very good at his original profession! And then we had to conclude that if you are going to talk the talk, and you expect to be believed, you had better •• what? Walk the walk.
This principle is still around in presidential politics. We’ve heard it applied, and I think quite appropriately, to a candidate who can hold forth eloquently on such themes as faithfulness and family values and patriotism, but about whom there are some questions that just won’t go away. And many a pundit has said about this man that if you are going to talk this kind of talk, you had better be very, very sure you have walked and are walking this walk.
Now that I’ve been bi-partisan, maybe I should just finish this off by remarking that at least some presidents and some candidates can talk. I’m not too good at reading lips, are you?
If you’re going to talk the talk, then walk the walk. Folk wisdom puts it another way. "What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” I think we are all together and agreed on this.
But I want to take us a step further this morning. I want with the Apostle Paul to take us a step further then walking the walk because it proves the talk you talk. I want you now to hear that if you are going to walk the walk, then you will also be able to sing the song. Talk the talk and walk the walk; then walk the walk and sing the song. Walk the walk and you will want to sing a song of joy. Listen to how Paul puts it: Ephesians 5:15-20
I hear in this passage several insights about walking the walk and singing the song. What is it going to take to get us to the place where we can sing and make melody to the Lord in our hearts?
First, look at verses 1 5-1 6. Here Paul tells us that when we have made careful use of our time, when we have used the time God gives us wisely and well, then we will be ready to sing with happiness. When we have taken the measure of the time, when we do what we ought to be doing with our time and our energies, then we will feel fulfilled, we will be excited and pleased, we will sing for joy.
"Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil."
Paul’s phrase "making the most of the time" I like to read as "knowing what time it is.” What time is it? What is the time for worship and praise and song?
Discovering what time it is and knowing how to make the most of our time is not as obvious at it might seem. The night before last my wife fell asleep in front of the television set. When she woke up, with the TV spluttering in her face, she looked quickly at the clock because she knew we had to get up early Saturday morning. She thought it said five minutes after six and nearly panicked. Actually in her fog she had read the hands backwards, and it really said 30 minutes after one!