Summary: It is worth it to live in Christ’s presence and live out His presence even if it means persecution.
Scooter…Harley (both on stage). Many of us would like to believe that there is really little difference between a scooter and a Harley. Both of them are shiny, have wheels and handle bars. Both of them can be used for transportation. You can get somewhere on both of them.
But let’s be honest. While there may be a couple similarities scooters and Harley’s are vastly different. Harley’s are way more cool and way more useful. I would never hop on a scooter and run to the store. Or call my wife on the way home and say, “Fire up the scooter and let’s head out for dinner.” Scooters are safe, benign, passive. Ah, but Harley’s speak to adventure, danger and action. Harley’s are great for cruising or if you have the right type for flying over hills and mud. Harley’s invoke pictures of hair flying in the wind as you race down a road with the engine screaming.
Men and women, scooters and Harley’s often reflect the spiritual life of a Christ-follower. Both are going somewhere with God but they are doing it at a different pace, with a different energy level and a different passion. Scooter faith tends to talk a lot about religion and obligation and tradition. Oh they are going somewhere with God but doing it passively and safely. But hang around with those who have Harley faith and you hear God-sized adventures and experiences. You hear a passion to go with God to places that aren’t so safe and are certainly more aggressive.
Over the next three weeks we are going to take a look at 2 Thessalonians and we are going to hear Paul challenge the Thessalonians to stay on the Haryey no matter what. He is going to tell them that it is worth it no matter the price. And that same challenge is going to be offered to us. If you are on a scooter is it worth it to get on the Harley? If you are on the Harley is it worth it to stay on? And if you are walking you must ask, “Is it worth it to stand on your own two feet”.
Open your Bible to 2 Thessalonians and as you are doing so let me tell you about three people I know. I have changed the names but their stories are real.
Sally was not a bad kid and grew up to make her parents proud. That all changed one day when as an adult she came to know the Lord as Her savior. Her life began to change. Her values began to change. Her desires began to change. Then one day she went to her parents and told them that she had become a Christ-follower and was attending a church that helped her pursue God and where she could serve Him. That did not sit well in a home whose religious faith was not Christian. Her parent’s response, “You have betrayed our family and our church”. They removed her picture from the wall and told her she was no longer welcome in their home and they would no longer consider her part of their family. She had won Christ…and lost her family.
Sam and Jane are retired now. From all indications they are faithful followers of Christ. They were both always active and loved golf. Their kids grew up and left home and they played more and more. They were still at church most Sunday’s and Floyd was even an Elder. As they neared retirement they began to spend winters in Arizona where it was warm and where one could play golf all year. Then they retired, moved to Arizona, bought into a retirement community and relaxed. Their days are filled with nice meals, golf during the day and cards at night. They know Christ…and a life of comfort.
I met Charles through a contact at church and we became pretty good friends. Charles came to love Christ and began to follow Him seriously. Chuck was a good athlete and still holds a track and field record at his old high school. He coaches there now. Getting ahead in coaching means knowing the right people and demonstrating a willingness to give very long hours. He coached track and wrestling and worked with the Jr. high football team. He did well and people noticed. In time he was asked to take on the linebackers on the high school team and he did. I still remember the day Charles told me that the High School football coach asked him to be an assistant head coach for the defense. The path to head coach. What an opportunity. But the demands were high. Saturday mornings would now be film sessions evaluating the game from the night before. Saturday games meant Sunday morning film sessions. Practices were long and lasted into early evening. Off season really meant “on duty” all year. Chuck has 3 children and a great wife. He decided that his family and the Bible study he attended were more important. He told the head coach “NO”. It’s a tight community. He will not be asked again…by any school. Charles chose Christ…and his career suffered.