Summary: "Why are we doing this?"
I started this sermon last Sunday afternoon before the elections were held and was going to share several stories about past elections and voter apathy. And do you know that the events of this past Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday has some commonality with these illustrations? The first is from Robert Ripley, who is, I believe, behind one of America’s favorite newspaper columns Ripley’s Believe it, or Not! that has been popular with millions of people over the years because of the interesting and unusual items that it has reported to the general public.
Ripley reported several years ago that a mule named Boston Curtis was elected Republican committeeman from Wilton, Washington by a 51-vote plurality. The mule was sponsored by the Democratic mayor of the town - to prove a theory that many voters are careless. The filing notice was signed with the candidate’s hoofprints and his sponsor signed as a witness.
In another case, reported by a different source, I believe, involves the election of a cigar store Indian to Justice of the Peace in Allentown, New Jersey. The statue, clothed with the fictitous name of Abner Robbins, was duly placed on the ballot and elected with a plurality of seven votes over the incumbent Sam Davis. Judge Davis, who held office many years, resigned in indignation when he learned his successful opponent was a wooden Indian.
I don’t know about you, but this election year was somewhat hard to stomach. Even though I was excited about one candidate at a certain point earlier in the year, I found myself just getting tired of the whole thing in the last few weeks.
There seems to be so much cynicism and weariness regarding public officials
now days. Maybe it is because of the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship or the events of the past four decades - Vietnam, Watergate, and all that went on regarding those situations or maybe it is because we the pace and demands of life have so overwhelmed us that it seems government is incapable of finding problems to the solutions of our modern society that we have given up hope and become complacent rather than committed.
The same danger holds true in our faith and Satan will try to prevent committment to God and the Church by encouraging complacency while God wants us to become more committed and faithful.
In the 6th chapter of Galatians, verses 7 through 10, Paul writes to the Galatian church these words:
(Read the passage)
Verse 9 is the important verse for us this morning because it is a word of encouragment to the weary hearted, the exhausted, even apathetic, followers of Christ who seem to be just hanging on.
"So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."
Before us this morning are three items that are used in everyday life. A light bulb, a personal computer, and a tire. Each of these items are important to us. In fact, our automobiles use all three - light bulbs for headlights, tires for motion, and small computer systems to help mechanics, now called service technicians, to diagnose problems.
The first computers, built around the end of the Second World War, were large machines that could have taken up most of this sanctuary. But, over a period of 30 - 40 years, they shrunk in size and grew in power.
A man by the name of Douglas Engelbart, a former Navy Radar Technician, established research center at Standford Research Institute in 1964. By 1968 he, according to authors Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman had "already made two startlingly originial breakthroughs in the embryonic art of personal computing - the mouse and windows."
But Engelbart failed, for a wide variety of reasons, to gain crediblity for his discoveries and the commercial success for the personal computer would not start until 20 years later with the introduction of the MacIntosh computer by a company called Apple Computers.
Think about all the uses of artifical light these days. Where would we be with out the light bulb, besides in the dark?
The primary challenge that Edison faced in his efforts to invent the lightbulb centered around the filament. He did countless experiments with countless kinds of materials. As each failed, he would toss it out the window. The pile reached to the second story of his house.
He sent men to China, Japan, South America, Asia, Jamaica, and other parts of the world in search of fibers and grasses to be tested in his laboratory.
One weary day - after 13 months of repeated failures - he succeeded in his search for a filament that would stand the stress of electric current.
Casually picking up a bit of lampblack, he mixed with tar and rolled it into thin thread. The the thought occurred: Why not try a carbonized cotton fiber? For 5 hours he worked, but it broke before he could removed the mold. Two spools of thread were used up. At last a perfect strand emerged-only to be ruined when trying to place it in a small glass tube. Edison refused to admit defeat. He continued without sleep for two days and nights. Finally, he managed to slip one of the carbonized threads into a vacuum-sealed bulb. And he turned on the current.