Sermons

Summary: Third in the my Be-Attitudes series, taking on "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted".

Matthew 5:4; John 11:32-37 - Facing Hardship

By James Galbraith

First Baptist Church, Port Alberni

January 21st, 2007

Text

Matt 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

John 11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Introduction

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

A couple weeks ago, after referring to this verse, I shared the mind boggling statistic that people worldwide consume over one billion servings of Coca-Cola products every day. You can add to that over 200 million servings of Pepsi products per day.

You may wonder what the connection is, and I invite you to keep wondering as I share with you a few more statistics.

A picture of priorities in Canada and British Columbia.

Let’s talk a bit about TV.

(2004) Canadians spend over 20 hours a week watching TV. The average citizen spends 21.4 hours, while British Columbians weigh in at 20.7.

Men and women over 18 actually exceed this average,

with BC men at 21.5 and women consuming 23.4 hours a week.

That’s a full day out of the week in front of the tube.

In this viewing, variety shows, comedy, drama and sports programming account for over two thirds of the shows we’re watching. News and documentaries add up to one quarter of that time.

And religious programming? 0.3 %.

To put that in perspective, there’s three and half times as many people that are watching Much Music and CMT.

Let’s also talk about where we spend our money

The average household in BC spent $68,231 dollars in 2005.

Of that amount

4246 (6.2 %) was spent on recreation,

288 (0.4%) on reading materials,

1308 (2.5%) on either tobacco or alcohol,

274 (0.4%) on games of chance or gambling.

Charitable giving to all sources, non-profits and churches,

added up to $1816, (2.7 %) or 54 dollars less per household

than alcohol, tobacco and gambling,

and barely over a third of what we spent on recreation as a whole.

What is my point in sharing these numbers?

We are a pleasure seeking people. It is part of our nature to seek what feels good. And that is not a bad thing. We’re made this way.

Chocolate tastes good because we’ve been given the senses to appreciate it. Intimacy with our spouse feels good because God made it that way, to bring a man and woman closer together physically and spiritually.

In fact, sexual procreation is one of the best arguments for a Creator,

since in and of itself it is by far the least efficient,

but also by far most enjoyable method of reproduction on Earth.

If evolution were the guiding pattern for nature,

we’d hatch out of eggs like insects or simply reproduce ourselves, like earthworms. Very efficient, but also very boring.

When this impulse for seeking pleasure is moderated by God’s law and principles working in our hearts, it is a good and enjoyable part of who we are. God made us to enjoy pleasure.

However, it is all to easy to be consumed by this drive for pleasure. And not just for pleasure’s sake. Sometimes, in fact all too often, people seek comfort from their hurts within an excess of pleasure.

In other words, we turn to indulgence to cover pain.

Alcohol seems to be the most prevalent alternative,

but anything that we consume can fill this role.

Tobacco, food in general, sex – there is a myriad of methods by which we try to medicate ourselves from our pain or insulate ourselves from our problems.

And our temptation to cover pain with pleasure can start in small ways.

Remember the song “Don’t Worry, be happy”? It’s a whimsical little tune about not letting things you can’t control bring you down. It encourages the listener to be happy no matter what might be wrong in his or her life.

I can agree that we shouldn’t worry about things, great or small. But simple happiness is not always the best antidote to the things that worry us.

If we can’t pay the rent, a grin isn’t going to keep us in our home.

If a loved one dies, whistling a tune won’t help us face their passing.

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