Summary: How to make the new year count: 1- Keep on loving 2- Wake from sleep 3- Dress for living
INTRO.- Making the new year count. It’s time to take stock of our lives. How are you? And where are you going?
ILL.- Some might say, “Well, I’m overweight, tired, aging, can’t hear, can’t see well, but I’m doing pretty good for the shape I’m in.” Life is tough.
ILL.- Dr. Paul Faulkner in his good book, “Making Things Right When Things Go Wrong” wrote, “To make things right when things go wrong, make up your mind to die young, no matter how old you are. Whether you are twenty-three or eighty-three, choose to be youthfully alive as long as you can.”
That’s good advice and especially for the Christian. If anybody has the reason to live as lively as possible until death, it’s the Christian!
ILL.- Douglas MacArthur said, “Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts, as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”
ILL.- According to Dr. Kenneth Cooper the strength of a person at age 60 has diminished only slightly from age 25. BUT I’D BEG TO DIFFER WITH HIM! I am 61 years old and my strength has certainly diminished as compared to age of 25.
Some physical strength may not diminish with age. For example, if you shake hands with Leon Burris you’ll know what I mean. But for most of us, physical strength DOES diminish with age.
ILL.- Dr. Faulkner tells about a lady named Bessie in Wellington, New Zealand who was 68 years old and worked as a church secretary. The church was getting ready for a door-to-door campaign.
She was working hard to get ready for it and on her four-mile walk home she fell and cracked both ankles. The doctor put both feet and ankles in casts. Bessie was not happy about the deal but wasn’t about to let it get her down.
She got some crutches and went back to work every day. The church was located on a hill, which didn’t make things easier. And even worse, there were about 25 steps to the first floor of the church. But none of that stopped Bessie.
About a week into their campaign Bessie asked the doctor to remove the casts. He said they weren’t ready to be removed. She said, “If you don’t take them off for me I’ll go home and chip them off with a hammer and chisel.” The doctor removed the casts. And Bessie went on working, hobbling around.
What spirit she had! And that’s something of the spirit we need to keep functioning in life and actually make progress in the future in spite of certain handicaps.
PROP.- Let’s consider what Paul has to say in this text because I think it applies to making our lives count in 2006.
It contains good advice for living.
1- Keep on loving
2- Wake from sleep
3- Dress for living
I. KEEP ON LOVING
ILL.- A young college co-ed came running in tears to her father. "Dad, you gave me some terrible financial advice!" "I did? What did I tell you?" said the dad. "You told me to put my money in that big bank, and now that big bank is in trouble."
"What are you talking about? That’s one of the largest banks in the state," he said. "There must be some mistake."
"I don’t think so," she sniffed. "They just returned one of my checks with a note saying, ’Insufficient Funds’."
You may not have experienced insufficient funds in your life, but you have experienced low funds because of food, clothing and shelter expenses. You get one bill paid and here comes another in the mail. They are like weeds that just keep coming back.
I got some bad news for you. We’re all debtors. We’re in debt. We’ll always be in debt. And that sounds like bad news! But may not be bad at all. Our greatest debt is not financial, it’s spiritual. I owe you and you owe me. We owe everyone the debt of love.
Rom. 13:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”
Loving people is still the right thing to do and the best thing to do. God wants us to love people until the day we die. Love does no wrong. It makes sense that if you love someone, you will do no harm to them. You won’t steal from them. You won’t talk bad to them or bad about them.
I Pet. 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” ABOVE ALL.
As much as we know that we’re supposed to love all people, it’s not always easy to do. People offend us. People irritate us. And some of them dislike us. They do things we don’t agree with, but still, we are to demonstrate love to all as best we can.