Summary: This morning I want to share with you my dream and my vision for each of us individually and for all of us together as a church united.
A few short days ago, as the clock struck midnight, we said goodbye to the year 2002 and welcomed in the new year of 2003. It seems that every year we get excited about having a new start, a new beginning, a new opportunity, and a new resolve to make positive changes in our lives.
Most people have made what we have come to call New Years Resolutions. Those of us that always seem to be fighting the battle of the bulge, those extra pounds we seem to have put on, resolve to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Others resolve to spend less and save more money. Many resolve to quit smoking or to quit drinking.
So here we are, at the first Sunday of 2003. I wonder how well we will do this year at keeping our resolutions. I wonder how many of us have already failed, but no worries, there’s always next year and we can try again!
The Bible tells us in the Book of Ephesians, Chapter 5, verses 15-17:
15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
This morning, God has given to me and allowed me to give to you, a very special New Year’s message. The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached a world famous message entitled “I Have a Dream.” This morning I want to share with you my dream and my vision for each of us individually and for all of us together as a church united.
Church, our time on this earth is very limited. The Bible tells us that life is like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow, and for this reason we must be very careful how we live.
We are very busy people. We’re always in a hurry. We walk fast, talk fast, and eat fast. And after we eat, too many times we stand up and say, “excuse me, I’ve gotta run.”
Statistics say that the average life span these days for men is 75 years and for women it is 80 years. Frankly, we men chose it to be that way because we just got tired of listening to you women telling us what to do all the time, so we opted for the first flight on the Gloryland Express.
Now all you younger people that are snickering, I realize that 75 or 80 years sounds like a very long time, but you know what? I can remember when I thought that anyone over 40 years old was ancient, and one day soon, you’ll wake up and find that you have also grown old and you’ll wonder where all the time went.
You know, for the two teenagers in love, sitting in the car talking and making googly eyes at each other, an hour or two seems to them like the blink of an eye. But I can tell you as a father that raised 5 girls, that hour or two seemed like an eternity.
Resolution number #1 for all of us as individuals should be to make the most of every opportunity. Jesus once went to the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. He sat down to teach them and as he taught, Mary was sitting at his just soaking in every word. Meanwhile, Martha was out in the kitchen preparing dinner.
Now it happened that Martha got very upset because Mary wasn’t also in the kitchen helping her. So she comes to Jesus and complains “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” Jesus answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen that which is better and it will not be taken from her.”
Now, was Martha committing a sin by fixing a meal in the kitchen? No, of course not! But here’s the problem. She was so preoccupied with what she was doing that she didn’t realize that God was in her living room.
This morning, don’t get preoccupied with the things going on at home. Don’t be sitting there wishing that Pastor Rick won’t be so long-winded today that the roast you have in the oven will burn before you get home – instead, concentrate on the message that God has for you today.
Martha made the same mistake that you and I likely make every day. We get so caught up in the here and now that we fail to deal with the eternal, the things that will last forever and ever.
Today, we’re overloaded with commitments. We’ve committed ourselves to go here and there, to take part in this activity and that social function. As a result, sometimes we meet ourselves coming out as we’re going in!