Summary: A sermon for Consecration Sunday.
“Let’s Not Drop The Ball”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
A man was taking a daily walk as part of a regimen recommended by his physician after a heart attack.
At home, the telephone rang and his wife answered.
On the other end of the line was the representative from the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes. The call was to inform the man who was taking the walk that he had just won the sweepstakes and a certified check for $1 million dollars would soon be arriving.
The wife was ecstatic!
All of her dreams would come true. All of their bills would soon be paid, and they would have the opportunity to investment beyond their wildest dreams!
The she suddenly thought of how the news would affect her husband…
“Will the news give him another heart attack?” she wondered.
After a good deal of thought, she decided to call their pastor for some advice. Surely the pastor would know how to handle these difficult decisions….
“Pastor, I just received the news that my husband has won the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes,” she said. “What on earth do I do now?”
The pastor was a bit confused by the question…. “That’s great!” the pastor replied to the wife….
…. “But what seems to be the problem?”
In a worried tone, the wife answered, “I’m afraid my husband will have another heart attack when I give him the news. He may even die!”
The pastor said, “I’ll be right there.”
The husband returned from his walk to see the pastor’s car in front of the house. He rushed inside and was met by the pastor…. “What’s wrong, Pastor?”
“Now calm down, Ed,” the pastor assured the worried husband. “Ed, I’ve got a little problem I need to discuss with you.”
The husband responded, “Pastor, you know I’ll help you any way I can. What is it?”
Taking a deep breath, the pastor continued: “Ed, it’s a problem about stewardship. Let me give you an example. What if a person like you suddenly received word that he had won a million dollars…what would you do with all that money?”
The husband smiled and put his hand on the pastor’s shoulder: “That’s easy Pastor. You know the first thing I would do is give $750,000 of it to the church.”
Hearing his answer, the pastor had a massive heart attack and dropped dead!!!
Now, most church leaders may not react in the same way, but many of them would be delighted to hear about that kind of loyalty among their parishioners.
And that kind of loyalty is exactly what Consecration Sunday is all about!
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “consecrate” means to “make or declare something sacred.”
Therefore, by filling out our pledge cards for the coming year….we are making a sacred pact between ourselves and God that we will do what we pledge to do.
The decisions that we make today will affect the future of Christ’s Church…and most importantly…it will reveal our loyalty (to God and ourselves) to The Great Commission of Christ which is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Otto Michal has said that Mathew 28 is the key to understanding the whole Gospel….it is “the summary of the whole Gospel!”
There is a definite emphasis on doing in The Great Commission…
….the Christian life is not something to simply learn about theoretically, but it is to be lived and to produce.
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 “You will know them by their fruits.”
The Christian life is not a possession but a life-producing stewardship…
…and if it is not it will be taken away from us—Jesus says: “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.”
Plenty of churches have died because they were not producing fruit….the buildings now stand boarded up or are being used by other Christians who are making disciples for Jesus Christ.
The greatest evangelistic movement in Western society at one time was identified with Methodism.
Yet, in the past several decades this denomination has sustained the largest membership loss of any church in North America.
Many churches are walking right on the precipice of extinction….
It is because many of us have lost our focus…our meaning…and therefore are not producing any fruit!
It is my belief that basically all of the present problems facing this world are directly connected to the fact that many of us have “dropped the ball.”
We have already lost at least two generations…those who do not attend a church---and on this consecration Sunday it is our responsibility to pledge that we will not only do everything we can to win back these lost souls…