Summary: A tribute to dedicated men and women every where who live their life almost without notice. But rest assured some one is watching.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
A MAN I ONCE KNEW
Intro: It’s wonderful to hear about and strengthen ourselves on the lives of biblical heroes. Their stories never get old & perhaps they are more inspiring as we grow older. Some suggest they are outdated and some even suggest that they are fictitious. They conclude these great events recorded in God’s word could never happen anyway. After all it takes some imagination to believe that a supernatural power could have achieved such great notoriety.
In the scripture I read to you today, Paul stops for a moment to reflect on a man he once knew, one of those unnamed heroes that seldom get the respect they deserve. Paul tells us that he doesn’t mind glorying or bragging on someone so great…someone who inspired his life in a time when he desperately needed a fresh infusion of strength, and courage.
I told you last week that God had spoken to my heart and told me to focus on some of the men and women whom I have known during my life. Does God have heroes today? Yes, God still has heroes today. The heroes didn’t just suddenly stop at Calvary, or in the Garden, or on Resurrection day. Even today, God still manufactures heroes which live lives in front of us each and every day. Of course, we fail to see their value or the good that they accomplish, but as long as there is a heaven and an earth, God will have men and women who will confront evil, who will be faithful and still rejoice when someone suggests “Let us go into the House of the Lord.”
These men and women may not be flashy; they may be quiet and require little or no attention. But believe me they are out there in every church and in every community around this globe.
As a young man sitting in my father’s church (Pine Mountain Valley Church of God), I witnessed many who came through those doors of the small country church and all of them, as each of you do today, had the same opportunity to be a hero for God. The qualifications are simple, confront evil and accept the responsibility given to each of them. Did they? OF COARSE NOT.
I saw my share of hypocrites who confessed one thing, but lived something totally different. Yes, as a child, I was watching and I was very aware of what was going on as God was molding my young life. Indeed, the enemy used them in an effort to influence me to make the wrong decisions.
I’m glad my story does not end there because as a young man I also witnessed dedicated men and women who had been changed by God’s power, and ran the race the best they could. Even in my own eyes, as that young man sitting and watching, I knew something had touched their lives.
So with that being said, and the foundation laid, I present to you today a man I once knew. He lived right here in and around Manchester, Georgia. He came from a good family, and I was acquainted with his father, his mother, and all his brothers and sisters. He had all the opportunities of anyone else, but one day, after years of riotous living (similar to the prodigal son in Luke 15) he discovered himself. It’s important for a person to know who he is, but it’s impossible to know who you are until you know WHOSE you are.
An admitted alcoholic, a drunk, a real nobody, who had lost his way, he had no light even though he lived in a world that was dark. He struggled to stay focused, but daily the mires of sin were absorbing his life like a sponge absorbs water. He reached, at times, but like many in his condition, found nothing worthwhile to hold onto. His wife and young children must have suffered greatly; just to be second on daddy’s list of importance behind a bottle could damage a child for life.
The community all knew him well, he was the alcoholic of the community, and in most folks’ minds would never amount to anything. But one night (do you remember the night when something got hold on you?), passed out in a ditch in the wee hours of morning, God made a house call…a final call according to his own later testimony.
You see, this man was in and out of church from time to time, and had had the privileges of being raised in church, but this night God would make him his last offer. You never know when that will come, but according to God’s word, “My Spirit won’t always strive with man.” This man’s time had come, God had him on the carpet, this was it…a decision was required tonight.