Practice what you preach is one of those sayings that is easy to throw around, unless you’re a preacher. As one who consistently is called to stand before the assembled congregation and proclaim God’s Word, it can be a daunting task. Not only does it mean that I have to make sure that I am being true to the sacred Biblical text, but I also must ensure that I am a creditable witness to the text. This isn’t always easy. The news has many accounts of preachers who subscribe to “the do as I say not as I do” school of thought.
I remember when I was a Chaplain Candidate with the Navy and I was taught this very important lesson. Each summer I would spend time with sailors onboard a ship or other installation. The first summer I was stationed aboard the USS Anzio. The Anzio is a guided missile cruiser. For those of you not versed in Naval architecture, a cruiser is not a large ship. At only 567 feet long and 55 feet wide, this means that the crew live in close quarters. A crew of 367 people share every space and find themselves in almost constant contact with others. This context helped to heighten my awareness of just how important it is to be of a consistent character and to ensure that I am practicing as well as preaching. You can’t be a fake with people when you share a bathroom. Continue reading