Summary: Sometimes our plans and dreams don’t work out, but what makes life wonderful is accepting the hopeful truth that God has plans for us, and they are very good.
Intro: Today we’re beginning an Advent series tied together by the film It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s likely you’re familiar with it. It airs on television almost every year. It sells in Target every Christmas. It was first created in 1946, That makes this year it’s 60th Anniversary. 60 years! I mean, my dad was 10 when it was made! I don’t think they had toasters then!
The film is certainly no theological masterpiece. And I wouldn’t use it as the basis for your beliefs.
For example: there’s nothing biblical about angels earning thier wings. Also, all biblical indication is that it’s God who sends angels on assignment, not Joseph.
Nevertheless, it’s themes are human themes and God in his grace has much to share with us about our humanity.
If you know the story line, you will remember that George Bailey has all kinds of plans for his life. Take a little look...
[show clip here: timing 25:40-27:35 starting with “I’ll throw a rock...” through “...why don’t you kiss her?”]
The sore spot for George is that his plans don’t turn out.
He doesn’t get to be a world traveler and see the Roman collesium.
He doesnt’ get to go to college.
He doesn’t get out of his dusty little town.
He doesn’t get away from the family business, Bailey Building and Loan.
He doesn’t get to stay single and free, not tied down.
He doesn’t make a lot of money or build famous things that people talk about.
His friends do get to leave town.
His friend Sam Waynwright makes loads of money.
His brother goes to college, and becomes a famous flying ace.
And here in lies our question. What makes it a wonderful life when my plans go awry?
1. It’s great to dream, but dreams alone are not what make life wonderful.
A. In many ways we set ourselves up for disappointment. It’s a product of the “American Dream” mentality, though I’m sure it’s common to all of humanity. Come to America where you can get rich quick, get your own plot of land, govern yourself, be free to express any latent angers or perverted desires under the guise of freedom of speech. Do your own thing. Be your own man. Get your own stuff.
It all sound deliciously appetizing. The sad reality is that very few feel they have reached the illusive American Dream.
In Jr.High you watch Shaquille O’Neal and you feel a rush inside. I’m going to do that. You go out for the Jr. High team. You make it but you’re benched most of the time. No matter. You’ll come into your prime. In High School, it’s your time to shine, but the competition is stiff and your don’t make the cut. There goes that dream.
The scene is repeated a thousand times over.
You’re gonna be a great hunter, but you can’t seem to hit the broad side of a barn.
You’re gonna be the next great rock band
You’re gonna be wealthy, but fact is, for every millionaire, there are millions who must stay poor. And your one of them.
You’re gonna raise upstanding kids and at least live vicariously through their success. But for all your efforts, they can turn into persons your sometimes not sure you like. You have parenting breakthroughs now and again -but unfortunately they come after your daughter is grown and out of the house.
Do you know what all our disappointments do to us? They make us bitter people. We become fearful, and lose confidence. We experience life as a tangled mess of accidents waiting to happen
But it is not so. It is not a accident.
2. It’s a wonderful life because God has his dreams for me. My life is not an accident.
A. God planned me on purpose. The Bible tells us that God makes every human on purpose.
1) You’re not here because your parents were frisky. Plenty of people are frisky and have no children. No one can force that issue! You’re here because God wanted to love you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV.
Lots of people have heard these verses. They appear on many Christian greeting cards. What most don’t know is that they were written to Israel while exiled in Babylon as slaves to Nebuchadnezzar! It was no American Dream!
v10, 14 Even the disaster was part of God’s plan. God says: I know the plans I have. I’m not up here guessing . I’m God. What you think is so hopeless isn’t throwing me off. It’s not messing me up any.
2) You’re not here because by some freak accident we sometimes pretend is science, a dolphine became deformed, sprouted feet, and started venturing onto the terra firma. You’re here because God wrote your name into his planner.