Summary: This sermon deals with the hope we find in Christ when we lose some of the things we treasure the most. It looks at the Shunnamite woman and her relationship to Elisha.
Hope Has Come
Each week it seems as though somebody has taken another person’s life in an argument, a drug deal, or a robbery. We have the debate going on in Congress over gun control on who should have background checks and what kind of guns should they buy. We are alarmed at over 30,000 deaths a year by firearms. But to do something about gun control also demands that we look at the why behind some of those deaths
We want to end school shootings and movie theater shootings and mall shootings. But in reality what is behind the bulk of those 30,000, almost 50% of them to be close is not a deranged killer or an angry spouse or a madman in the streets. Almost 15,000 were caused because somebody no longer had hope for the future.
15,000 people who were killed by gunfire, were killed by themselves in an act of suicide. A gun control law will not help them. A ban on assault weapons will not keep them alive. What they need is hope that life is worth living. In the year 2005, 1.3 1.3% of all deaths were from suicide. On average, one suicide occurred every 16 minutes. Suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death for all Americans. Suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24 year olds.(1st = accidents, 2nd = homicide)
Suicide was the second leading cause of death for 25-34 year olds. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among college students. More males died from suicide than females. (4 male deaths by suicide for each female death by suicide.) More people died from suicide than from homicide. (Suicide ranks as the 11th leading cause of death; Homicide ranks 13th.) There were over 800,000 suicide attempts in 2005. 800,000 people who had given up hope for their situation.
Suicide has changed the lives of several families here in the church. We have either had family members attempt suicide or as in my case, I had a brother just 34 years of age who committed suicide. At the heart of suicide is a lack of hope that things can change and go in a different direction. Even though we may all be living, we are not all having life. Jesus said I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly. Jesus is promising us that there is more to life than the living we are currently experiencing. But we have to be willing to look at life from His perspective. That’s when we realize that Hope has come.
We live in a society which promises us instant happiness in just about every arena of life. We have instant dinners, with the microwave or fast foods. You can have instant relationships through matchmaking dot com. You can be an instant millionaire through the lotteries or casino’s. You can instantly lose 40 lbs. as you sleep with this pill. You can instantly be available to everybody through e-mail and texting. You can instantly have this item at the swipe of a credit card.
The problem is we think everybody is having a much greater time in life than we are. We put our hope in these instant solutions and we are sorely disappointed when they do not do what they promise. Why on earth are we so fascinated with the lives of celebrities and super stars? They have the same problems in life as everybody else and most are no happier in life than you are. Some of them wish they have what you have which is peace of mind and freedom to go where you want to without a camera in your face.
Nobody has a perfect life in which nothing goes wrong, there is never any loss, and sorrow does not visit it. We met in our Scripture reading today a woman that’s known simply as the Shunnamite woman. She has what appears to be a very good life. She’s married, and she and her husband are financially well off. She had the heart of a servant, and she loved the Lord. She noticed that Elisha, the prophet was a man of God and she urged him to come and eat at her home. He passed through Shunnem from his home town on his way to Mt. Carmel where he worked.
She noticed also that Elisha passed through the area somewhat often so she encouraged her husband to add a small bedroom on to their house so that when Elisha came through, he would have his own guest room with meal service included. She wanted to make her life count by doing something to help further the work of God.
Elisha had been so touched by her generosity with this new addition to her house, that he wanted to do something for her in return. But the amazing thing about this Shunnamite woman is that she had learned to be content in life with what she had, instead of focusing on what she did not have. A lack of contentment will destroy our hope for the future. If you feel like you just have to have something to be successful in life other than God, you’re setting yourself up for failure.