Summary: This message was preached on World Relief Sunday and challenge the congregation to consider these questions: What's Your Cause? How do we make the most out of the time God has given us? Includes a Communion Service.
God’s Bucket List for Me - 1 Peter 4:7-11 - October 30, 2011
World Relief Sunday – What’s Your Cause?
Open your Bibles with me this morning, please, to the book of 1 Peter. 1 Peter, chapter 4, beginning with verse 7. We’re going to step away from our series on the Sermon on the Mount for a few weeks. We will return to it, in a little while, but for this morning we have a different focus that we need to be looking at in conjunction with our participation in World Relief Sunday. So, 1 Peter 4: 7, this is what the Word of the Lord says …
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:7–11, NIV)
In early 2008 a movie by the name of “The Bucket List,” began to appear in movie theatres around the country. How many of you have seen that movie? For those who have not seen it yet, it starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Both of the characters they played were diagnosed with terminal illnesses. The time they had left was short and so what these two men did was to come up with their ‘Bucket List’ – a list of things they wanted to do before they ‘kicked the bucket’ and died. It included things like skydiving, driving race cars, going to see the pyramids and things like that.
It’s an interesting premise for a movie. The truth is we tend to live each day as though the days of our lives will last forever. It’s only when we get that wake-up call and we have a brush with death, or someone near us dies, or we come face to face with our own terminal illness, that we began to see the days of our lives in a different light. And we realize, that the days will not go on forever. Our time is limited. Life can be cut short at any moment. At that time, things that once seemed so important began to lose their appeal, and those things that we tended to take for granted – like God, and family and friends - we develop a new appreciation for them.
Here’s a question for you to consider: What would you put on your Bucket List? If you found out that you only had a year, or a month, or a week left to live, what would you do with that time? How would you live your life? What would you want to accomplish, or do, in the time you had left?
What we choose to do with the time that God has given us is a question worth considering because look at what it says in verse 7 … “The end of all things is near.” In other words: Time is of the Essence. There are a lot things that we can put off until tomorrow and it’s no big deal. And there are a great many more things that aren’t worth us spending our time on them at all. But there are some things in life that are too important to put off even for one day. There are some things that shouldn’t wait for tomorrow, because for you, or for someone close to you, tomorrow might never come.
In the book of Ephesians we are exhorted with these words … “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15–16, NIV) None of us know the day nor the hour when we will be called to stand before the Lord. So it makes sense that we should try to make the most of every moment that is given to us.
Peter goes on to say that because time is of the essence we ought to be “alert and sober minded.” To be “alert” means to be aware. To recognize what’s going on around you. Someone who is alert, is ready to respond at a moments notice.
And then Peter says we are to be “sober minded,” – not sombre – we’re not talking about being morose and sad and without joy – but sober minded. It means to be in control of one’s thoughts and not given to irrational thought. It’s the opposite of mental confusion if you will. When it’s used in the word of God it conveys the idea of acknowledging the reality of God’s revelation. In other words, to be sober minded, is to accept the word of God as being reality, to believe in the truth’s it reveals, and to live it out in your life.