Not Well Received

I received an email the other day from a church member.  The email said that some of my sermons made folks feel uncomfortable and I should preach more sermons that are more complimentary.  While I agree that we all need affirmation and compliments from time to time, I could not help but recall a story written by Frank Rothfuss.  I share it below for your reflection.
A Baptist pastor fresh out of seminary was assigned to a small church in the hills of Kentucky. In his first sermon, he condemned gambling, especially betting on the horses. The sermon was not well received. “You see, Reverend,” a parishioner explained, “this whole area is known for its fine horses. Lots of our members make their living breeding race horses.”
The next Sunday the pastor spoke on the evils of smoking, and again, his sermon was not well received – for many of his members also grew tobacco. The third week the pastor preached on the evils of drinking, only to discover after that a major distillery was one of the town’s largest employers.
Chastised for his choice of sermon topics, the frustrated pastor exclaimed, “Well, then, what can I preach about?” A kindly, older woman spoke up and said, “Pastor, preach against those godless Chinese communists. Why, there isn’t a Chinese communist within 4,000 miles of here!”
There are some sermons people do not want to hear because they contradict their dearly held values or their comfortable life styles. Jesus earned a reputation for preaching these kinds of sermons – sermons that were challenging and demanding, radical and divisive.
It is these kinds of sermons that challenge and demand that help us realize how much we need Christ.  Then we are comforted with grace, peace and hope.
See you in Church,