Summary: A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
4th Sunday after Pentecost
Luke 9: 51-62
"I will follow you, but......"
Do you know of a little word in our language which if placed after a statement, becomes the biggest negative word in our language? The word is but, as in, I will follow you, Lord, but it negates all that come before. Or, I love you, but.......you must not gain weight. Get the idea. The but is a good way for us to go back on our commitment our promises, our faithfulness.
A good example of this is the gospel lesson when a man said, I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at home." Or another said, Lord, let me first go and bury my dead father," The but in this case is implied .
We are good at coming up with the buts of life. We are good at giving excuses. Excuses for this and excuses for that, And the best excuses are found here in the church, I will worship you Lord, but..... and a whole host of things may follow.
Pastor Dale Barrick got so tired of hearing all the excuses of his people why they don’t attend church, that he come up with this novel idea, A NO Excuse Sunday.
There would be; cots in the church for those who like to sleep in,
blankets for those who fine the sanctuary too cold
fans for those who find the sanctuary too warm
sand for those who prefer the beach
televisions sets for per persons who prefer services on the screen
Poinsettias and lilies for those accustomed to entering the church only on Christmas and Easter
I thought about his list and came up with even more:
stop watches for those who want to go in exactly an hour and a whistle to stop the service
putting greens for those who enjoy golf
masks to hid the faces of those who have been gone for so long they are embarrassed or feel funny coming back
money for those who don’t want a financial commitment but feel funny not putting anything in the offering plate
meals to carry out
someone to be at your door every Sunday to bring you to church so that you get back into the habit you got out of
I guess we could go on and on. We are good at making up excuses aren’t we? Jesus doesn’t want our excuses, but our faithfulness, our commitment to follow him.
As you might have guessed our sermon topic today deals with our commitment or faithfulness in following the Lord, not only in regular worship, but in all areas of life.
Jesus calls us us to a committed way of life which prices Him first and everything else second. A faithfulness which is reflected in ail that we say, in all that we do in all that we are. Jesus wants us to set our priorities on the most important areas of life. Those are loving the Lord your God with all of your mind, with all of your soul, with all of your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. When this comes first, then everything will fall into place. This commitment takes dedication, it takes faithfulness, it takes a mind set to follow through. It is not easy, however, in the long run it will be rewarding as you and I spend eternity with the Lord. And in the short run living in this commitment will give meaning and purpose, comfort and strength, guidance and courage as you and I walk the faith journey.
The following will give you an example of what I mean: ’"The Spanish explorer Pizzaro was getting ready to take his soldiers into Peru. But the men hesitated, they were on the verge of revolt, They didn’t know what was ahead for them and weren’t sure they wanted to find out. They wanted to stay in Panama where life was easier. He called his men together, drew a line from east to west in the sand with his sword and said, ’Friends and comrades on my side are toil and hunger, nakedness and drenching storms, desertion and death, on your side, ease and pleasure. This way lies Peru with its riches, there lies Panama and poverty. Choose each man what best becomes a brave solider. For me I will go south.’ "
Jesus is calling us to such a commitment, no promises of an easy life, no promises of an uneventful walk with him. All he promises is his companionship and the promise of eternity in the golden rooms prepared by Him. As you and I surrender our lives, our property, our selves to him, we will find the way easier, with few burdens weighing us down.