Summary: When God gives us a task, His perfect plan includes the resources to do it: strength, action, and courage. Sermon for deacon ordination service.
We have been burning fuel very rapidly. Coal, oil, natural gas .. we are consuming it. It is irreplaceable. Some scientists say that unless we change our ways, we are going to burden our children and our grandchildren with a very serious energy problem. The next generation will inherit a burden from this generation, and will be able to do nothing but struggle with that burden.
We have been paying out Social Security benefits very rapidly, and that’s going to get worse. The baby boomers are approaching retirement age, and when they get there, it’s going to be expensive to give them all what they expect. The experts say that it’s going to cost a lot of tax dollars to make Social Security truly secure. Those tax dollars will come from our children and our grandchildren, who will eventually have to worry about their retirements, and pass that burden on to our great-grandchildren and our great-great-grandchildren, and so on down the line. One generation burdens another with tasks too large even to imagine. But they have to be done. They have to be faced. It’s not, “Would you like to do this?”. It’s, “You will do this.” Huge, immense, inescapable burdens.
Solomon got word from his father David that the Temple which David had planned was not going to be built, but the task would be given to Solomon. Imagine Solomon’s fear and dread as he is told that not only will he have the entire responsibility of seeing that this immense house of worship is built in Jerusalem, but also that there is a plan which he must follow. He must not deviate from that plan; he must follow it, down to the last detail. The rooms have been drawn, the furnishings have been selected, the color scheme has been chosen, the financing has been organized. Everything has been planned. There’s just one tiny little thing, Solomon. Not a lick of work has been done. You have to build the Temple. It’s entirely up to you!
But I want you to notice that God’s plan is always a perfect plan. It has no holes in it, no flaws. God’s plan is a perfect plan. And a perfect plan includes the directions that must be followed. Unlike some of those things you got your kids for Christmas, and here it is more than a month later, and you still have not figured out the Japanese instructions, unlike that, God gives a perfect plan when He gives an immense task.
And here is the perfect plan: “David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and act.’” Three things in God’s perfect plan, two of them gifts, one of them our response. Strength, courage, and action. When God gives us a vast task, He makes available the gifts of strength and courage. And then He asks action. He expects us to respond. “Be strong and of good courage, and act.”
Our God may not have told you and me to build a Temple in Jerusalem. But He has told us to build a community of faith in Takoma. Our God may not have commanded us to create a new and magnificent house of worship for the nation, but He has commissioned us to reach this community in this nation’s capital city. And that is an immense task. It is a task which those who have gone before us have not completed. For all that has been accomplished, vast amounts remain unfinished. For all the energy that has gone into witness and worship, teaching and building, service and strategies, there is more to do today than there was a year ago, more than there was ten years ago, more than eighty years ago when this church began. It is an immense task to redeem a lost and broken community! It is overwhelming! You will find more needs, more lostness, and more spiritual pain just in Takoma alone than we can possibly handle. The task of being church is tremendous. It is something we are going to pass on to a new generation, incomplete, and we are going to tell them, “You must do this. We have not done it, so you must do it.”
A huge task. But God’s plan is a perfect plan. It has no holes in it, no flaws. It is a perfect plan. And a perfect plan includes the directions that must be followed. God gives a perfect plan when He gives an immense task. The plan is strength, courage, and action. Two gifts of His Holy Spirit, and then our response. Strength, courage, and action.
First, the Holy Spirit will give strength. Strength. Strength is not numerical size, it’s not lots of people and lots of dollars and lots of programs. Strength is flexibility. Strength is sensitivity and awareness, strength is knowing who we are so that in the middle of any stormy wind that blows, we will not fall, but will support.