Summary: If you want your existence to be about something more than just careers, acquiring things and trying to get an adrenaline rush out of life, look past NOW
FAITH – THE TONIC OF LIFE
Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-12:3
Lee Garfunkal's Pepsi versus Coke commercial is too funny. Pepsi is delivered to the Shady Acres Senior's Retirement Home. The residents are talking rap over rock while grandma zips by on a skateboard. Hi-fives are going around. One old guy loves the music pumping through the stereo (boom-box) but still thinks Hendricks is better. The delivery personnel then realize Shady Acres was supposed to get Coke and the student fraternity should have the Pepsi. While one driver is concerned the other pipes up, "Coke, Pepsi, what's the difference?” The camera pans to the Frat house where the Coke was delivered. The scene is quite opposite. A bingo game is in progress with straw-sipping Coke drinkers. Two students strain to see their bingo cards while another is passed out in a deep sleep. Others are sitting at tables and lounging in chairs, completely detached from reality. A quick flash to Shady Acres and the music is loud as seniors dance and party on.
As Pepsi believes it’s the missing adrenaline at a party, faith is the tonic of life.
Today is certainly a sermon for all of us though I will be casting my attention toward our students. This is that time of year when you’re finishing high school and prepping for further education, career and life choices. Or, you’re mid-stream in post-secondary studies and need a shot-in-the-arm. Others of you are finished, glad it’s over and now comes the real tough stuff! You just don’t know it yet! As you all take actions to shape your next steps, I felt strongly drawn toward this faith subject (actually I pushed it off several times but couldn’t get it out of my head/heart). Faith is the tonic, the boost, the stimulant, or the energizer you need to live life to the full as Jesus offers in John 10:10.
So, what makes faith the tonic that will craft your life second-to-none?
1. Faith births purpose (Read 11:1-5)
What you choose to believe really shapes how you’ll behave. The reason you won’t put a metal object in an electrical outlet, even if I told you it’s okay and you’ll be fine, is because of faith. Your faith is not just a passing suggestion but a deep conviction that if you put the metal object in the receptacle you’ll have a new theme song that says, ‘You light up my life…”! Conviction is not an “I think it could hurt” but “I know if I stick an object in there I’ll get a jolt of electricity that will travel up my arm and it could even be fatal.”
To further prove the point that what you believe really shapes how you’ll behave, let’s consider the Bible’s example of faith at work in Hebrews 11 and the story of two brothers. We have Abel who is absolutely certain (a.k.a. convicted) that God formed the world he lived in (verse 3) which influenced his actions by offering God the best sacrifice possible by giving the best lamb from his flock. Abel’s brother, Cain, a farmer, whose faith and attitude toward God is not quite as convincing or convicting, reflects his poor understanding and relationship with God by failing to give his best sacrifice which leads to him murdering his brother and being an outcast from God. Things go from bad to worse.
Faith leads to a chain reaction. By believing anything, we respond in certain ways and there are certain outcomes as a result of what we believe. The chain reaction is also determined by the extent that we have faith in something or have a deep conviction of faith about something. The measure by which you decide God is a critical or non-critical part of your life, your faith, will have a very strong influence on the decisions you make, the priorities you map out, the friends you choose, the people you date and so on. For instance, many students who’ve been strong church attendees at home give up going to church when they move away from home. There are many reasons for that but I bet among them is this idea of faith. Students who keep church-going on the top of their list when they leave home understand church as something that helps them get closer to God, and they definitely want to be as close to God as possible. Those who slow down with church see it as going to a building to sing a bunch of songs, and listen to some dude preach for half an hour … or in most churches longer than that! The same is true of tithing, regular Bible reading or being involved in ministry … it all comes about as a chain reaction to what we believe, how deeply we believe it and how we see God fitting into all that. Faith creates a chain reaction.