Summary: A sermon for Groundhog Day focused on our shadows (Outline and some material adapted from Sermon Central's Travis Moore at: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/my-shadow-and-i-travis-moore-sermon-on-faith-30995.asp)
Groundhog Day is a day celebrated on February 2 (today). According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. Did the groundhog see his shadow this morning?
This tradition sent me to thinking about shadows, especially “For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?” Ecclesiastes 6:12, NIV.
According to the dictionary a shadow is a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light. Sounds confusing but we see our shadow when the sun or a light is behind us and we see our shadows in the light.
One way that the Bible uses shadow is in talking about the brevity of life. Solomon said this “Our days on earth are like a shadow” 1 Chronicles 29:15, NIV. Job, “He (Man) springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.” Job 14:2, NIV. David, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” Psalms 144:4, NIV.
Even though James does not use the word shadow, the NT echoes a similar thought: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14, NIV.
This is coming at the issue from a negative way. Want to talk about this in a positive way. “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.” Acts 5:15, NIV. We see in this section that (Cody) read interesting things were happening. Over 5,000 people are Christians and more and more are coming. The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. We see one of these signs in vs. 15. People just wanted Peter’s shadow to fall on them so they could be healed. Should not be seeking this today but this is what’s going on
Reminds me that while we are on this earth we do cast a shadow. Even though our life is short and brief, we can have tremendous influence upon people. Let us cast a good shadow. We have limited opportunities so may we leave a lasting impression for Christ.
Thesis: Let’s talk about our shadow this morning
Our shadow is inevitable
Regardless of who we are, we all cast a shadow.
We were put here for a reason. God does not make junk. “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” Ephesians 1:11, NIV. This can be confusing but here are 3 insights from this verse:
1. We discover our purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. God was thinking of us long before we ever thought about him. His purpose for our life predates our conception. He planned it before we existed, without our input.
3. The purpose of our life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that God has designed.
Andrei Bitov, a Russian novelist, grew up under an atheistic Communist regime. But God got his attention one dreary day. He recalls, “In my 27th year, while riding the metro in Leningrad I was overcome with a despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense (life is meaningless). Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God’s light.”
Our shadow is silent
Many things we do in public: preach, teach, pray, sing, testify...
But our shadow does not talk. If we think our shadow talks we need mental help.
Our greatest influence is in the life that we live. As I studied for this sermon I was surrounded by 10 eyeballs. 8 from my sons and 2 from my wife in the pictures in my office. It seems like someone is always watching me. I think about those little eyes that are quick to see. They take it all in. We must be a good example to others especially when life gets tough. Eyes are on us more than we realize. Just about everywhere we go there are cameras. WE have little privacy left. Not only are people looking at us but they are looking “up” to us. We have been called by Christ to be a light in a dark world and set an example for others.