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In an earlier century, there lay a large boulder in the middle of the roadway. Traveler after traveler walked past the boulder, veering off the side of the road to get around it. All the while, they were shaking their head and muttering, "Can you believe that? Someone should get that big thing out of the way. What an inconvenience!"
Finally, a man came along and, seeing the boulder, took a branch from a tree and pried the boulder enough to get it rolling and rolled it off to the side of the road. Lying underneath the rock, he found a small bag with a note. The man picked up the note and read it. It read as follows:
"Thank you for being a true servant of the kingdom. Many have passed this way and complained because of the state of the problem and spoken of what ought to be done. But you have taken the responsibility upon yourself to serve the kingdom instead. You are the type of citizen we need more of in this kingdom. Please accept this bag of gold that traveler after traveler have walked by simply because they didn’t care enough about the kingdom to serve."
I wonder what "bags of gold" we’re missing each day, simply because we don’t bother to get involved in serving our heavenly kingdom. Are we the type of heavenly citizens our Father needs more of?
According to psychologist William Damon, respect for the parent who exercises proper authority leads to respect for legitimate social institutions and to respect for law. In his book The Moral Child, Damon writes, “The child’s respect for parental authority sets the direction for civilized participation in the social order when the child later begins assuming the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship.” Damon calls this respect “the single most important legacy that comes out of the child’s relations with the parent.”
Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10: The Blessings of Following God’s Commandments in a Post Modern World, p. 112
Peter Drucker offers insightful guidance to the church when he calls leadership a peak performance by one who is "the trumpet that sounds a clear sound of the organizations’ goals." His five requirements for this task are amazingly reliable and useful for those who dare to lead churches:
(1) a leader works;
(2) a leader sees his assignment as responsibility rather than rank or privilege;
(3) a leader wants strong, capable, self-assured, independent associates;
(4) a leader creates human energies and vision;
(5) a leader develops followers’ trust by his own consistency and integrity.
H.B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Risk, Victor Books, 1993, pp. 227-228.
Tony S. Searles
10% of church members cannot be found?
20% of church members never attend church
25% admit that they never pray
35% admit that they do not read their Bibles
40% admit that they never contribute to the church?tithe or offering
60% never give to missions
70% never assume responsibility within the church
85% never invite anyone to church
95 % have never won anyone...
THE STEWARDSHIP OF LIFE
Elizabeth Dole, former Secretary of Transportation & Presidential candidate said: Life is not just a few years to spend on self-indulgence and career advancement. It is a privilege, a responsibility, and a stewardship to be lived according to a much higher calling.
A. Todd Coget
A few years ago the Promise Keeps (which urges tens of thousands of men nationwide to be responsible, self-disciplined, and God-fearing) drew fire from the then president of the National Organization of Women, Patricia Ireland, “Promise Keepers have created a false veneer of men taking responsibility when they really mean men taking charge.”
Someone has estimated that the average member of the church has heard 6,000 sermons, 8,000 congregational songs and led zero people to Jesus Christ!
Here is the way the problem stacks up in a Church with 200 members:
20 are too old to work, that leaves 180 left to work,
but of the rest, 18 are too timid to accept much responsibility
that leaves 162 left to work,
but 12 are out of town or away for school,
so that leaves 150 left to work,
but 25 of those work long hours six or seven days a week,
so that leaves 125 left to work,
but 20 of those are tied down with children
that leaves 105 left to work,
but 20 of those are unable to work because of poor health,
that leaves 85 left to work,
but 55 are unfaithful, do not attend regularly, or don’t care...
that leaves 30 left to work,
but 20 of those will attend church...but they refuse to work...
that leaves 10 left to work,
8 of those are very tired of doing all the work and have asked to be relieved
That leaves 2 people, you and me...
But I’m too busy with other things, so you do the work.
MEMORIAL DAY, A TIME FOR HEALING
Memorial Day, perhaps more than any other holiday, was born of human necessity. Deep inside all of us lies a fundamental desire to make sense of life and our place in it and the world. What we have been given, what we will do with it and what we will pass to the next generation is all part of an unfolding history, a continuum that links one soul to another.
Abraham Lincoln pondered these thoughts in the late fall of 1863. His darkest fear was that he might well be the last president of the United States, a nation embroiled in the self-destruction of what he described as "a great civil war..testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." He began his remarks with those words as he stood on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19th of that year.
The minute’s speech that became known as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address turned into what might be called the first observance of Memorial Day. Lincoln’s purpose that day was to dedicate a portion of the battlefield as a cemetery for the thousands of men, both living and dead, who consecrated that soil in the sacrifice of battle. Said Abraham Lincoln: "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause which they gave the last full measure of devotion...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..."
The next year, a pleasant Sunday in October of 1864 found a teenage girl, Emma Hunter, gathering flowers in a Boalsburg, Pennsylvania cemetery to place on the grave of her father. He was a surgeon who had died in service to the Union Army in that great Civil War. Nearby, Mrs. Elizabeth Meyer was strewing flowers upon the grave of her son Amos, a private who had fallen on the last day of the battle of Gettysburg. Emma respectfully took a few of her flowers and put them on the grave of Amos. Mrs. Meyer, in turn, laid some of her freshly cut blooms on the grave of Dr. Hunter. Both women felt a lightening of their burdens by this act of honoring each other’s loss, and agreed to meet again the next year. This time they agreed they would also visit the graves of those who had no one left to honor them.
Both Emma Hunter and Elizabeth Meyer returned to the cemetery in Boalsburg on the day they had agreed, Independence Day, July 4, 1865. This time, though, they found themselves joined by nearly all the residents of the town. Dr. George Hall, a clergyman, offered a sermon, and the community joined in decorating every grave in the cemetery with flowers and flags. The custom became an annual event at Boalsburg, and it wasn’t long before neighboring communities established their own "Decoration Day" each spring.
About that same time in 1865, a druggist in Waterloo, New York, Henry C. Welles, began promoting the idea of decorating the graves of Civil War veterans. He gained the support of the Seneca County Clerk, General John B. Murray, and they formed a committee to make wreaths, crosses and bouquets for each veteran’s grave. On May 5, 1866, war veterans marching to martial music led processions to each of three cemeteries, where the graves were decorated and speeches were made by General Murray and local clergymen. The village itself was also decorated with flags at half-mast, evergreen boughs and mourning black streamers.
Also, as the Civil War was coming to a close in the spring of 1865, Women’s Auxiliaries of the North and South moved from providing relief to the families and soldiers on their own sides to joining in efforts to preserve and decorate the graves of both sides. A woman of French extraction and leader of the Virginia women’s movement, Cassandra Oliver Moncure, took responsibility of coordinating the activities of several groups into a combined ceremony on May 30. It is said that she picked that day because it corresponded to the Day of Ashes in France, a solemn day that commemorates the return of the remains of Napoleon Bon...
THE TREASURE OF THE CHURCH
St. Lawrence was martyred in 258 A.D., but we remember him not for his martyrdom. We remember him as the Archdeacon of Rome. His responsibilities included maintaining the sacred vessels of the small, struggling church and distributing alms to the poor. While he was Archdeacon, the Governor of Rome took Pope Sextus captive and demanded, "Where is the treasure of the church?" The Pope would not tell, and they tortured him to death.
Next the Romans took Lawrence captive. "Where is the treasure of the Church?" they demanded, threatening with the same fate that befell the Pope. Lawrence replied, "Governor, I cannot get it for you instantaneously; but if you give me three days, I will give you the treasure." The governor agreed. Lawrence left.
Three days later he walked into the governor’s courtyard followed by a great flood of people. The Governor walked out onto his balcony and said, "Where is the treasure of your church?" Lawrence stepped forward, and pointed to the crowd that accompanied him – the lame, the blind, the deaf, the nobodies of society – and said, "Here are the treasures of the Christian church."
[“The Witness Principles,” Homiletics, Luke 24:36b-48, 4/17/1994]
Sermon Central Staff
DANIEL WEBSTER'S GREATEST THOUGHT
At one time, Daniel Webster was considered the greatest of all living Americans. He was outstanding as a statesman, lawyer, orator, and leader of men.
Twenty-five national leaders attended a select banquet in his honor. One man at the banquet asked Mr. Webster, "Sir, what is the greatest thought that ever entered your mind?"
Without hesitation, Webster replied, "The greatest thought that ever entered my mind was the thought of my responsibility to God." As he spoke, he wept, excused himself from the banquet, and went outside to get control of his emotions. When he returned he talked for thirty minutes about man’s responsibility to God.
--Carl G. Johnson. From a sermon by Gerald Flury, Our Calling, 10/25/2010