Summary: A sermon emphasizing God's grace.
“Not Good Enough?”
Kevin Miller of Wheaton, Illinois wrote the following: “Right after I finished 6th grade, my family moved to a new town.
As I started junior high that fall, I suddenly found myself in a school I didn’t know, in a town I didn’t know, with people I didn’t know.
I felt very alone.
Nobody knew me, and nobody wanted to talk to me.
Then one day, a kid named Earl invited me to his house after school.
I jumped at it.
Soon Earl and I started to become good friends.
After a couple of months of sizing up my 7th grade classroom, I made an important realization.
The kids who seemed to be the most popular, the kids who were really good at sports, the kids who had the best clothes, the kids whom the girls whispered and blushed over—were not Earl.
They were two guys, Mike and Justin.
So when Mike and Justin finally invited me over to their house, I was exhilarated!!!
This was my ticket to the big time.
But I had one problem.
Wherever Mike and Justin were, Earl was not; and wherever Earl was, Mike and Justin were not.
And if I was going to hang out with Mike and Justin, I could not be seen with Earl.
So I made a decision.
I became friends with Mike and Justin and when Earl called me, I kept putting him off.
All those years since that time, there’s still shame around that betrayal, because the truth is, I betrayed Earl.
I handed him another rejection in his life, when he’d probably had so many.
But I wanted something: I wanted that “in,” I wanted that popularity.
If I had to hurt him, I would do it.
That is the essence of betrayal: I am willing to hurt you to get something for myself.”
Perhaps some of us can relate to Kevin in this story.
We have hurt others in order to advance our own agenda.
We have come to realize how selfish and mean we are capable of being.
Perhaps some of us can relate to Earl.
Earl was a young person who was always being told through either words, actions or silence that he did not measure up—that he was not as good as others.
Maybe you have felt like this at some point in your life or perhaps you still feel this way.
We humans can be awfully mean to one another.
For some of us, the scars incurred during middle school or high school haunt us and effect our achievement as individuals throughout our entire lives.
We may turn to drugs and alcohol as a result.
Or we may not feel good enough to date the person we are attracted too, go for the job we want, finish high school, go to college, achieve our full potential.
It might also affect our relationship with God.
In our Scripture passage for this morning from Isaiah, we see Isaiah struggling with the problem of “I’m not good enough.”
And many of us, like Isaiah often feel a sense of low or no self-worth.
We might think, “Who am I that God might want to send me?”
“I can’t share God’s message of hope with others.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m in bondage to sin and I can’t free myself.”
The sin, the guilt, the addiction, the shame, the missing the mark, the failure… although you’ve already tried…you name it!
All of this separates us from God and blocks us from living in intimate relationship with God.
The first 8 verses of Isaiah Chapter 6 describe one of the best known of Isaiah’s prophetic visions.
He is summoned to the throne of God and surrounded by awe and terror.
Isaiah is struck right between the eyes with the realization of his unworthiness.
And so Isaiah cries out, “Mourn for me; I’m ruined!
I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips.
Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!”
How many of us would be terrified to be caught in the same situation?
Would we feel “ruined” if we were to stand before the throne of God?
A campus minister once held a series of meetings with students on campus.
The topics ranged across the spectrum—but all the students agreed on one thing: God was extremely disappointed with them.
A colleague of mine talks about a girl named “Hannah” who was in his confirmation class.
“I remember her making an appointment to come and speak to me privately,” my colleague said.
“Her face was chalky white with anxiety.
She stuttered and stumbled as she told me of a party she’d gone to, recently, of drinking at the party.
Of drinking way too much at the party.