Summary: Joining is the joy of serving Christ.
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
“It’s Not about Eggs”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN eastridgeumc.org
Not too terribly long ago I was having a conversation with a wonderful person, whom I dearly love, but who had also decided to move their membership to another church.
I asked for the reason, hoping I could help fix whatever the problem was.
The person responded, “Well, I’m tired of all these evangelism outreach things we are always doing. We have been doing these things for years and years and it hasn’t done any good. I think we should just send our money overseas.”
When I responded that, in fact, we have seen a number of people come into the life of the church as a result of our community outreach projects and that, yes, although it is important and we do send money to missions overseas, the local church is the place where the most effective disciple-making is done, and we are called to serve where we are as well—she changed her reasoning…
… “Well, I get so tired of being asked to give money all the time.”
We discussed that a bit, and after a while the reason for her leaving changed yet again.
Finally, she said something to the effect, “Well, I don’t know why I am leaving but I am. It has nothing to do with you.”
Someone has called Matthew Chapter 11 the chapter for the contemporary Church.
Jesus asks, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the market place and calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.’”
In other words, Jesus is saying, “we are fickle and restless. We are like children who can’t respond positively to anything, so we end up playing nothing.
We’d rather sit on the sidelines uninvolved than take seriously God’s Kingdom.”
At times, many of us can act like spoiled children, never satisfied but often complaining.
It has been said that “ours seems like such a restless, moody, unsatisfied generation of Christians.”
It is sad that so much “church-hopping” does take place.
At another United Methodist Church in our district, a man left his “home” church to join another church because he didn’t like the new pastor.
He became very involved in the life of the new congregation he joined, taking on many leadership roles and filling a number of vacuums.
The people loved him!
He also gave generously to the church.
After several years, the time came when the pastor whom this man did not like left, and moved on.
At this, the man decided to up and go back to his home church, leaving his new church in the lurch never to be heard from again.
A friend relayed the shock and disappointment at the man’s leaving.
One woman put it especially well, “I don’t understand how he could just up and leave us like this. The church is your family and you don’t just leave your family.”
After some time Jesus, perhaps a bit weary from all the restless roaming of His followers, looks up to heaven and prays.
The substance of His prayer offers thanksgiving to God that the basic, core meanings of life are really simple, rooted in a childlike faith built on trust.
And that trust, according to Jesus, is found when we cast our restless lives on God’s unchanging, faithful presence.
When I was in my last year of college, I parked behind the same car in the parking lot each morning.
The bumper sticker on the back of this car read, “Trust Jesus.”
And as I would get out of my car and head to class, that phrase helped me through a couple of difficult semesters.
“Trust Jesus, trust Jesus, trust Jesus…”
It is the most welcoming and encouraging invitation ever offered!!!
“Come to me,” Jesus calls out, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A German tourist was asked, “What impresses you most about the United States?”
He answered, “The fact that you are a tired people—you are all so tired!”
Isn’t it a paradox that Americans, even during these very difficult economic times, have more leisure time than ever before, and yet we are so weary that many of us can’t face life, get involved and reach out to others?
Our prisons are filled to overflowing, but our society has little time for the rehabilitation of the problem.
So instead, we neatly stuff people away into cages.