Summary: This sermon is primarily about faith. It is about what faith is, a longing for something more than this world has to offer. It encourages people to turn that longing into faith and turn that faith into action.
Longing for Something More, Hebrews 11:1
The story is told of a little boy whose family was very poor. He never complained because he had no toys and received no gifts at Christmas time; but he wished for them. He spent his spare time looking in the store windows at the pretty things other little boys could have but that he could not.
One day he was run down by a car and taken to the hospital. When he started to feel better, one of the nurses bought him a toy. As he touched it he said, “There is not any glass between.”
Some day we shall see Christ our Savior face to face, with no “glass” between.
So often in this life we find ourselves longing for something more. We long to touch the divine – to see Jesus face to face, with nothing between us and Him. Our hearts seem to have been hardwired, preprogrammed, to interact with the divine.
Earlier this week I was taking a walk down Huron Street, as I often do late at night, with Happy the Saint Bernard. I had her leash in one hand and my thoughts of God in the other.
And as I walked I found myself praying for this church, praying for my family, and praying for an increasingly intimate relationship with God. As I talked to God I found myself longing for something so much more than day to day activities of life. I found myself longing for something more.
This morning, I want to explore the substance of faith. What does it mean to be a person of faith? Does it mean that we always know the will of God? Does it mean that we have it all figured out?
Faith is much more than adherence to a right set of do’s and don’ts or sitting in just the right pews in just the right church on Sunday morning.
Faith – authentic faith – is a longing for something more than this world has to offer and then being a conduit to bring that something more into this world.
Faith is the way that we express a longing deep inside each one of us to know that there really is something more to this life than what we see with our physical eyes.
My favorite movies’ growing up was the Star Wars saga. I used to watch them on video cassette over and over again. One of my favorite lines from the films comes from The Empire Strikes Back. In one scene Yoda touches the shoulder of Luke Skywalker as he says to him, “Beings of light are we, not this crude matter.”
The same can be said of us. Why is it that so many people neglect the spiritual side of this life? If we get sick none of us hesitates to see the doctor.
If we are suffering depression or anxiety most of us wouldn’t think twice about consulting a psychiatrist or psychologist.
But why is it that when it comes to matters of spirituality so many people act as if all there is to them is the crude substance that Yoda spoke of to Luke Skywalker?
The truth is, I’m afraid, that most people are disconnected spiritually. These people either completely deny the existence of anything spiritual or religious or they have simply never learned what faith is.
The story is told of a man named Pete who had become lost in the desert and had been chasing mirages. He thought to himself, I’ll follow this last one. It was a deserted town with a well in the very center.
His mouth parched from the intense heat, he ran to the well with his last ounce of energy. He vigorously pumped the handle only to find that no water came forth. Then, he looked up to a note nailed to the post.
It instructed its readers to “look behind the rock where a five-gallon container of water will be found” and warned against drinking or using it for anything besides priming the pump.
Every ounce was needed, and not even a drop could be spared, the note emphasized. “After pouring the water down the pump, pump the handle vigorously and all the water you desire will come forth,” the note said.
One last instruction was to please fill the water can and place it behind the rock for the next weary soul who might happen to come along.
How hard it is for people to give up a “sure thing” for something they cannot see at the time. Pete had a sure thing in the bucket of water and yet was instructed to pour it “all” down the pump.
Very often faith doesn’t make a lot of sense. But if faith made sense to our earthly thinking then it really wouldn’t be faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV)