Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Brave Man Wins Respect - A Sermon Everyone Needs Today

It's not every day that I feel like writing about a church service that I've attended. But frankly, that's partly what this is about. On October 22nd, 2023, my wife, myself, and other family members attended a Sunday church service at the Celebration Church located in Livermore, California.

It was a service filled with song, prayer, and energy. Yes, a lot of energy. The folks there were not short on volume when making their connection with Christ. And yes, if one wasn't caught up in the spirit then they had to be asleep. Then again, there's no way for anyone to fall asleep. No, no one was sleeping there. No, not there.

It was not the reverent soft voices mumbling prayers that I grew up knowing. But no, it wasn't snake handlers either. All in all, it was the sort of energy that I needed from a morning at church. Especially lately, I needed the energy of Christian song and praise. But even more, I needed to hear a sermon that I could connect with. I needed something that was being said aimed at me. And yes, I found it there.

The following is part of the sermon that was given by visiting Pastor Eddie Staton Jr.:

"The brave man wins respect. This is sure to be the case in the long run. He may be accused of rashness, want of judgment, intemperance of language or of purpose; but in the end he secures the confidence and attachment of all.

The lesson is especially needed in the present age. One of [the days] most marked characteristics is moral cowardice. Men are incapable, for the most part, of incurring the disapproval of the set in which they live. Politicians vote with their party for measures of which they disapprove.

People in society dare not raise their voices against what passes current in their own coterie; they yield to practices, admit persons to their intimacy of which and whom, in their own better judgment, they disapprove. They dare not brave the unfavorable verdict of their acquaintance. Yet if they did they would lose nothing by it.

Even the careless and thoughtless respect fearlessness, and delight to honor the man who dares to say what he thinks. They may condemn at first, but in the end they come round to a sounder judgment. History continually repeats itself.

The history of Caleb is the history of every man who is honest in setting himself above the prevailing opinions of the day. His report was unpopular at first. The people sympathized with the cowardly ten (Numbers 13:30). But events demonstrated the correctness of his view, and he became a popular hero. His tribe came with him to support his request [and he took the city of Hebron. He took into his possession his inheritance.]"

— The Pulpit Commentary, Published 1899.

Pastor Eddie Staton Jr. is with the Landmark Church in the state of Washington. A description of his church reads as follows, "Landmark has a contemporary worship style, using a full band and worship team. We love what we do and love to use our skills as singers and musicians to honor our King! Our typical service will have current worship music and, at times, some time-tested favorites and beautiful hymns. We appreciate many styles and genres of music, but what we appreciate most, is the opportunity we have to worship our God and Creator. Our hope is that, together with you, we will bring Him glory and honor through our worship and praise."

The Landmark Church sounds like a wonderful house of worship. And for me, I needed to hear what Pastor Staton had to say. He hit the mark. He gave at least one person there that day a needed reminder -- "The brave man wins respect."

Of course, his sermon reminded me of what President Theodore Roosevelt said about striving valiantly and daring greatly despite our critics:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

These quotes, one small snippet from The Pulpit Commentary (1899), which has 23 volumes and 22,000 pages of commentary on The Holy Bible, was created during the 19th Century over a 30-year period using over 100 contributors, and that of President Theodore Roosevelt, are great examples of how lessons of the past certainly apply to the events taking place today.

Tom Correa