Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Exodus 29-30; Matthew 21:23-46


28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’

29 “‘No, I don’t want to,’ he replied. But later he changed his mind and went.

30 “The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go.

31 “Which one of these two did his father’s will?”

They said, “The first one.”

Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you. 32 For John came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him (Matthew 21:23-46, Common English Bible).

“Do as I say, not as I do.” I know you have heard it said before. Perhaps you even live those words. Question: How’s that working out for you?

I remember as a kid my dad telling me I shouldn’t smoke. He said it was bad for me. It would be better for me if I didn’t. It was bad for my health. And, I would save money if I didn’t smoke (The reason I actually quit smoking). As he was saying this, he was smoking. You know what is coming, right? I started smoking when I was 15. I am not saying my dad was at fault for what I was doing. That was all on me. Still, I thought what my dad was saying was pretty hypocritical.

The thing is, “Do what I say, not what I do) doesn’t work. It never has and it never will. When our actions match our words people tend to listen to us far more often.

In today’s lesson, Jesus talks about a man and his two sons. The man gave the sons something to do. One said he wouldn’t, and did. The other said he would, and yet he did not. Jesus then asks, which one of them did the will of their father? The answer of the Pharisees was, “the first one.”

The answer has to be the first son. He was the only one who actually did something. He was the only one who did what the father asked for. Though he said he wouldn’t do it, he did anyway.

What I see here is a case of, “judge me by my actions, not by my words.” I think that is how we should see people. I am not crazy about the idea of “judging” people. Still, actions are the thing that carries the freight when people see us, they do judge us by our actions, regardless of what I think about judging people.

Please understand, words are important. Our words can hinder or they can help. They can say sweet nothings or they can be used to rip someone apart. So words do matter. But it is actions that matter most.

As I see this scene is playing out because the first son said he wouldn’t do the job, the father wouldn’t suspect that son A did it. Because the second son said he would do the job, the father is going to believe it was the second son at work. His words were good but he didn’t follow through.

I can’t imagine telling my father no when he gave me a chore to do. There would have been serious repercussions. My father listened to your words and took action himself.

I think the first son realized he was wrong and took action to fix the problem. The second son, not so much.

I learned when I was a kid to say, “Yes Sir.” to my dad when he gave me an assignment. Then I followed through. It is what we all should do.

Our actions need to match the words we say.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With joy and thankfulness.

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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