Taking Out the Trash in Ol’ Kentucky

Southern Seminary

I’m in class this week up at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY where I am currently working on another degree.  I know.  I am a glutton for punishment.  The class centers on biblical and theological issues pertaining to evangelism and church growth.  Dr. Timothy Beougher is the lead professor with guest lecturers also leading our class.  I’m learning a bunch of good stuff and getting to spur the other ministers in my class on as well as glean insights from their ministry contexts.  Good stuff.  Maybe you never plan on going to seminary, but I thought I would share this week some of the topics we are discussing.


Dr. Beougher is one of my heroes in life.  I had him in a few classes during my Masters degree and he has one of the healthiest balances of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  He understands God well – he’s got good theology, but he also actually does what God says.  He is biblical and practical.  That’s a goal for all of us to have.

Monday, he spoke concerning why a church should be concerned about biblical and theological matters especially how it relates to the Great Commission.  He is the master of illustrations.  I’m asked him a hundred questions this week, and he’ll say, “you know, Travis, that reminds me of when I…”  And then the next few moments is pure bliss as he masterfully weaves something from his life or ministerial experience to rock my world.

Case in point.  He was talking to us about the need to be faithful to the Great Commission.  You know it.  Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing, teaching, etc.  You know stuff like that.  He stated that so many people in the church know about the Great Commission.  But knowing about it is one thing, actually doing it is another.  So many things about the Christian life we know about, but we never do anything about it.  His illustration was as follows:

I go find my son in his room and say, “Son, take out the trash.”  My son looks at me, and says, “Wow, Dad.  I loved it when you said take out the trash.  It meant so much to be.  You’re such a great dad and I am so thankful you will tell me stuff like that.”  But he never takes out the trash.

A second time I tell my son, “son, take out the trash.”  My son replies, “Dad, I loved the way you said that.  In fact, that statement made such an impact on me, I am going to memorize that statement so that I can meditate on it.  ‘Take out the trash.  Take out the trash.’  Thanks for that wonderful statement Dad.”  But he still doesn’t take out the trash.

I then tell him a third time, “son, take out the trash.”  He replies, “Dad, that statement means so much to me, do you think that Mom could sew that on a blanket for me or put that statement in a frame so that I can look at it from time to time and think about how special it is.”  But he still doesn’t take out the trash!

Now, am I pleased with my son?  He’s praised me, remembered my words, and even wants to meditate and celebrate them.  But I am not pleased with my son.  He still hasn’t done what I asked of him.

Do you honestly think God is impressed that we praise him for his Word, memorize his Word, and even put it on nice decorative items if we never do what it says?!  No, he is not impressed and he is not pleased!

Just cause we know about the Great Commission and praise its author.  Just because we memorize it and meditate upon it does not mean that those actions magically make them done!

We must go.  People are dying out here folks.  What are we going to do about it?