Summary: God claims us as His own, sending us forth to proclaim His Good News. Yet, at the same time, God wants quiet time with us...time spent in prayer with our Maker and Redeemer...time allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our lives in sanctification.
DO YOU HAVE TIME FOR JESUS?
June 10, 2007, 2nd Sunday After Pentecost
Stephen H. Becker, M.Div.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church—Elk Grove
So do you have a busy life? A chaotic life? Does it seem like you are running around every day between jobs and kids and activities? I know for the Becker Family, we split our time between school, soccer, art classes, karate, friends, work, study, and more. In all this busyness, do you sometimes find yourself wishing you had some quiet time with the Lord, and then wonder why you never seem to get it or where you might even find it? Well, consider this: No matter how busy you seem to be, no matter how tired you may be, your exhaustion is justified, as can be proven by simple arithmetic which I am glad to say is not my own, but rather a sermon illustration. Now friends. math was not my strong suit, but I think this equation is right on the money. So see if you can follow along: The U.S has a population of 200 million. Of these people, 72 million are over seventy years old, leaving 128 million to do the work as they hopefully are able to retire. Now when you subtract the 75 million people under the age of twenty-one, you get 53 million. There are also 24 million employed by the Federal Government, which leaves 29 million to do the local work. The 12 million in the Armed Forces leaves only 17 million to do the local work. When you subtract from this the 15,765,000 who are in state and city offices and 520,000 in hospitals, mental institutions and similar places, the work force is reduced to 715,000. Fine, but 462,000 are on the streets leaving only 253,000 to do the work. There are 252,998 people in jail, leaving (pause) you guessed it—just two people, you and me. And I’m getting tired.
In our reading today we read of the Apostle Paul’s testimony about how he changed from being the early Christian Church’s worst persecutor to being the Church’s most dynamic and prolific apostle. Now before Paul’s fateful day when he met the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ on that Damascus road, when Paul was persecuting the early Church, he thought he was doing the Lord’s will. He was busy doing something.. but I’m sure it was not the Lord’s Will. I am sure he prayed to God when he went to Synagogue. I am sure he worked overtime, because he thought he was doing some good and important for God. But then this something happened to him…God turned Saul, the early Church’s worst enemy and persecutor, into Paul, a speaker of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the early Church’s most effective and dynamic apostle. Something happened to this man that caused him to have an entirely new perspective on what being busy for the Lord is all about.
Paul’s life was going to be as chaotic as chaotic could get. He literally would become a non-stop machine promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He walked all over the known world preaching and teaching about Jesus. His life was busy, and it got busier day by day. And even when he was put in jail for preaching the Gospel, Paul never stopped working for the Lord; even in jail, Paul was happily busy for Jesus. In his chains, Paul kept on praying and teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ…talk about someone obsessed with their work! Talk about someone who probably never got a day off in his career and you will be talking about Paul.
Friends, we each have our own role in the Church, and God has called each one of us to our own unique ministry. Most of you here tonight have not been called to serve full time in the ministry. And yet, look where you are right now: you are in God’s house, worshipping Him. You are busy right now…for Jesus. For some of us, being busy for Jesus means traveling to Russia like Jamie and Donny. For others it means teaching His Gospel right here in our backyard…in Elk Grove. Like Saint Paul, you are also very busy, doing what is important to you… And that’s great. You are doing the Lord’s Work. You are busy for the Lord. But the question then is, where and when do YOU get the time to rest in the Lord? Well your answer might be, “on Sunday,” but that isn’t exactly the answer I’m looking for.
You see friends, the “rest” that I am talking about is a time with the Lord that will restore your spirit and your strength. What I am talking about is ALONE TIME with Jesus. And friends, it is the kind of rest that we are called to have in Christ. It is the type of rest that moves you to dive into the Bible or prayer even on days when you don’t feel like doing anything but sleeping. It’s the kind of rest that keeps us fresh and active in our faith. It’s the kind of rest that allows us to have time for Jesus, to stay busy for Christ when we aren’t resting in Him.