Summary: Far too often we just "go through the motions" in life but Jesus wants much more than this for our lives.
Moving Beyond the Motions
September 1, 2002
In Japan there was a man in the imperial orchestra couldn’t play a note. Being a person of great influence and wealth, he had demanded that he be given a place in the group because he wanted to "perform" before the emperor. The conductor agreed to let him sit in the second row of the orchestra, even though he couldn’t read music. He was given a flute, and when a concert would begin, he’d raise his instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers. He would go through all the motions of playing, but he never made a sound. This deception continued for two years.
Then a new conductor took over. He told the orchestra that he wanted to audition each player personally. One by one they performed in his presence. Then came the flutist’s turn. He was frantic with worry, so he pretended to be sick. However, the doctor who was ordered to examine him declared that he was perfectly well. The conductor insisted that the man appear and demonstrate his skill. Shamefacedly he had to confess that he was a fake.
This story brilliantly illustrates the reality of living a life that just goes through the motions.
We’ve all heard the phrase “going through the motions” but do we know what it really means or how it might apply to our lives. Literally it means to just do the same things over and over again. It is to live out a constant routine. It is to live life in a constant rut. It is to never change for the better. Our church has fallen into a trap of just going through the motions. When we just go through the motions we will never truly experience God or His power.
We have a cookie cutter worship service that makes everyone “comfortable”. We have a ministry that repeats the same programs over and over again. We are stuck going through the motions.
How do we move beyond just going through the motions?
I. Take responsibility for your own life
“When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout.”
A. Bartimaeus had to be responsible for himself
1. No one could do this for Bartimaeus
a.) It was his own choice to seek Jesus that day.
b.) He could not be forced into action and he could not be forced to believe. It was a choice
2. Bartimaeus was just going through the motions
a.) His blindness had forced him into a life of begging
b.) He went to the same place each day to beg for money
3. If Bartimaeus was ever going to move beyond the motions it would be up to him
B. Take responsibility for yourself
1. We get stuck going through the motions
a.) We get stuck in our personal lives
b.) We get stuck in our professional lives
c.) We get stuck in our spiritual lives
d.) We get stuck in our church life
2. The fact of going through the motions is not the problem, staying stuck in that mode of living is your problem
3. You have to make a choice
a.) Stay in your life of going through the motions
b.) Make the effort to move beyond the motions
II. Believe that change is possible for your life
Rabbi, I want to see
A. Bartimaeus believed that there was hope for his life