Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

Years ago Dr. Fred Brown, a late evangelist friend, told me, “I have noticed that some good things, can become routine and ritual until they lose their purpose and meaning.” He mentioned that one of them was shaking hands in church. When did handshaking start? The handshake originated as a gesture of “peace” by demonstrating that the right hand held no weapon. In 1977, New Jersey Mayor J. Lazarow broke the hand shaking record by shaking more than 11,000 hands in a single day (Guinness Book). One Sunday, I thought of what Dr. Brown had said about handshaking. I then noted the times we shook hands. We shook hands as we…entered, sat, stood, joined the choir, came down from choir, had a fellowship time, shook hands with visitors, and finally, as we left (8 times).“Thar was a whole lot of shakin going on.” Some seem to be in a contest to shake the most hands. Others shook your hand but ignored you. As one man said, “It makes sense if you don’t think about it.” But when you think about it, does it really make sense? Was Dr. Brown right? Does “shaking hands” several times really make us a more friendly church? The purpose of this article is not to stop shaking my hand as I love a sincere hand shake and a well-placed hug. The purpose is to realize that many good practices can become rituals without meaning or purpose. Have you also noticed the flowery adjectives as tremendous, awesome, great, grand, wonderful, fantastic, and fabulous used to describe speakers and singers? Even prayers with impressive words can be unimpressive to the Lord. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do” (Matthew 6:7). “Ye have wearied the LORD with your words” (Malachi 2:17). The Lord said again and again, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Why? Because of rituals and pretense (Matthew 23). Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay” (James5:12) When you say, “I will pray for you,” you should do it! A man told me, “I am tired of pretending I want it to be real.” We should say what we mean and mean what we say. We should want it to be real, not only in church, but at home and in our daily life. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). I need you, you need me, we need one another, and we all need the Lord. As a church and as Christians, let’s not forget the purpose of our existence. We should all say, “I am tired of pretending. I want it to be real.” By the way, so does the Lord!

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