Summary: Do you come to church expecting to meet with the living God or has it become dull and boring for you? Remember it is important to finish what you start, know what you want and get what you came for.


Ten-year-old Phineas longed to see his inheritance. The year was 1820. The day he was born, his grandfather had presented newborn Phineas with a deed to a sizable portion of Connecticut land called Ivy Island. Now Phineas was finally going to see it. Not every boy is born a proprietor. Phineas' parents were always quick to remind their son of this. When you own an island you feel important. When you own an island, you want to see it. Phineas hadn’t yet to see his. He pleaded with his father to take him to the island and, finally, in the summer of 1820, his father agreed. Three sleepless nights preceded the expedition. Then, early that morning, Phineas, his father, and a hired hand climbed into the buggy and began the long-anticipated journey. Finally, Phineas would see his land. He could scarcely sit still. At the top of each hill he would ask, "Are we nearly there? Can I see it from here?" And his father would encourage him to be patient and assure him that they were drawing near. Finally, his dad pointed north beyond a meadow to a row of tall trees stretching into the sky. "There," he said. "There is Ivy Island."

Phineas was overcome. He jumped from the wagon and dashed through the meadow, leaving his father far behind. He raced to the row of trees into an opening from which Ivy Island was visible. When he saw the land he stopped. His heart sank. Ivy Island was five acres of snake-infested marshland. His grandfather had called it the most valuable land in Connecticut. But it was worthless. His father had told him it was a generous gift. It wasn't. It was a joke ... a cruel joke. As stunned Phineas stared, the father and the hired hand roared with laughter. Phineas was not the fortunate beneficiary of the family. He was the laughingstock of the family. Grandfather Taylor had played a joke on his heir.

Phineas didn't laugh. Nor did he forget. That disappointment shaped his life. He, the deceived, made a lifestyle out of deception. The little boy fooled made a career out of fooling people. You may not have heard this story but you may have heard of him by his full name - Phineas Taylor Barnum. You don't know him as a landowner; you know him as a promoter. You know him as the one who coined the phrase, "There's a sucker born every minute." He spent his life proving it. Such was the life of P.T. Barnum.

Let me ask you a question this morning, have you ever experienced a sense of disappointment over your spiritual inheritance? Has there been a time when you thought “Is this all that there is my faith”?

2 Kings 2:1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "but do not speak of it." 4 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went to Jericho. 5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," he replied, "but do not speak of it." 6 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So the two of them walked on. 7 Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied.

For me, flying in airplanes has become tedious and routine. It is no longer an adventure to be treasured but an ordeal to be endured. It was not always like this however. I remember what it was like the first time I ever flew. Everything was new and exciting. Christianity can become like that. Our zeal to know and serve Jesus can be replaced by routine and apathy.

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Scott Ogden

commented on Dec 17, 2011

Stephen - what a GREAT sermon! Thank you for sharing what I hope will be an inspiration to many!

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