Summary: Baccalaureat sermon, but focus works with all members seeking the will of God.
A Hopeful Future
Imagine that you watch as two sailboats are approaching one another on Lake Ponchatrain. They are moving steadily and speedily in opposite directions--yet driven by the same wind. You see, a boat’s direction is determined not by the wind, but by the set of the sail. All people have within them the right and power to set their own sail. The winds of life may be beyond their control, but the set of their sails is fixed within their own mind and heart. The set of their sail is nothing more than their attitude, their outlook, and their faith. (1001 Stories–Direction) Today, we honor some young men and women in our midst, because they have accomplished an important part of setting their sails in life. Each has finished one leg of his or her respective journey (either high school or college). And each will make important decisions about the direction he or she will sail in this life.
Finding that direction is important. Knowing where you want to go is a major part of getting there. Do you remember in Alice in Wonderland, Alice asked the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The cat answered, “That depends a great deal on where you want to go.” Alice said, “Oh, I don’t much care.” “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.” Today, I hope our graduates, and the rest of our gathered congregation, do care about where they are going. I hope each of you today has a direction in mind. And, I hope that it is the right direction.
In our text this morning, God promised that he would restore fallen Judah. He was going to make sure that they found the right direction in life.
If we are going to “succeed” in this world in any meaningful way—we need to find God’s direction. We need to follow God’s plan for our lives. Why is this so crucial? Why should we actively follow God’s plan and not just take life as it comes? Consider the following reasons for following God, and you will find that you have a hopeful future awaiting you.
God provides restoration when we fail.
God told his people that he would bring them home when the time was right. Because of their sin, they had been led as captives to Babylon. But, that act of judgment would not last forever. God would bring a repentant Judah home.
We must honestly acknowledge that there are times when we have gotten off track in our walk with God.When that happens, we have but one valid choice—get back on track. A fellow pulled his car over to ask an old woman on the side of the road how far it was to a certain town. The old woman said, "Well, sonny, if you keep going the way you’re headed, it’s about 25,000 miles. But if you turn around, it’s about three miles."
The wonderful promise of this text, and many more like it, is that God stands ready to let us come home—he does not give up on his children. The world is not always this generous, my friends. But remember, if you do fall—if you somehow lose sight of where you ought to be in this world—God will welcome you home. Failure is not the end: because we have a God greater than our failures.