Summary: God will likely call you do to serve him and others with skills and passions you already have.
You will notice the PowerPoint slides today project images of earthen vessels, i.e., clay jars of various sizes and shapes and uses. The images are lifted from II Corinthians 4 where the bible says, “We now have this light shining in our hearts but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God and not ourselves.” II Corinthians 4:7
As people go, there is certainly a lot of fine china and crystal around and God uses them as such. But, as people go, most of people are pretty much every-day dishes – clay pots or earthen vessels and God uses them as well. And we should understand that whatever we do to the glory of God and good of others is Holy Work!
So whether you identify as a piece of fine China or a pretty ordinary earthen vessel, God wants to shine his light and life into you and God wants to demonstrate his heart and his power through you.
Title: Just Do What You Do
Thesis: God calls you to serve him and others with skills and passions you already have.
Our story today is about the power of God at work in the life and ministry of the Church very early on after the resurrection of Christ.
Toward the end of the Gospel of John, John wrote, “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.” John 20:30-31
This is the Season of Easter so it is appropriate that we continue to celebrate God’s miraculous, resurrecting power. There was:
1. The Widow of Zarephath’s son, I Kings 17:17-24 (Elisha) – oil and flour during famine. Son died.
2. The Shunamite woman’s son, II Kings 4:20-37 (Elisha) – stayed in their home. Son sun-struck and died.
3. The man tossed into Elisha’s tomb, II Kings 13:21 (Elisha’s bones) – Raiders coming so hurried burial.
4. The Widow of Nain’s son, Luke 7:11-16 (Jesus) – Jesus stopped a funeral procession…
5. The Synagogue Ruler, Jairus’ daughter, Mark 5:35-43 (Jesus) – Asked Jesus to come but daughter dead…
6. The friend of Jesus, Lazarus, John 11:1-44 (Jesus) – Mary and Martha called Jesus…
7. The Son of God, Jesus, John 20 (God) It is the resurrection of Christ that inspires our hope of
resurrection from the dead unto eternal life.
8. The seamstress in Joppa, Tabitha, Acts 9:36-41 (Peter) – Much loved woman died.
9. The sleeper in Troas, Eutychus, Acts 20:7-12 (Paul) – Guy fell out of a window listen to Paul preach.
At the heart of our story today is Number 8 on our top 9 list. Her name is Tabitha, but your bible likely adds, “which in Greek is Dorcas.” Tabitha died and was raised from the dead, which is story enough to illustrate the power of God.
But there is a story within the story today that illustrates the power of God not only in raising the dead but in using a person in ways that glorified God and blessed others.
This story follows right on the heels of another story about how Peter met a man in a town called Lydda who had been paralyzed and bed ridden for eight years. His name was Aeneas and Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up and roll up you sleeping mat.” And he was healed instantly. The bible says that when the population of the communities of Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around they turned to the Lord. Acts 9:32-35
Miracles have always been a way God demonstrates his love for people and convinces people to turn to him in faith.
We here in western culture have become pretty jaded when it comes to miracles. It takes quite a lot to get us to raise even our eye-brows in wonder. We live in a time of stints, pacemakers and defibrillators. We live in a time of hip, knee and shoulder replacements. We live in a time of heart, kidney, liver and cornea transplants. We live in a time of chemo and radiation therapies and revolutionary pharmaceutical discoveries. While most people around the world have bought the farm… we are not only getting older, we are living longer. We live in a wonderful time when through palliative and hospice care we can live longer and comfortably to the very end. It would never occur to us to pray for someone to rise from the dead… and even if it did, I know I would be hard-pressed to have the courage to suggest it.