Summary: A sermon intended to encourage both reflection on ones relationship with the Lord, and to provide encouragement as we seek personal spiritual growth.

Philippians 3:7-3:16

Well, here we are. Spring has sprung, I think. Daylight Savings Time has begun. And we have been enjoying wonderful weather—a bit early, but who’s complaining! I wouldn’t be surprise to learn that some families have already been out of a picnic. I’ve been doing lawn work this past week at the Lodge. Kid’s seemed to be out enjoying the warm weather yesterday. Soon the older kids will be playing ball. And no they’re excited. Kids from elementary school age through high school love this time of the year because they know that the school year is coming to an end.

That makes it a little hard for teachers though, and I don’t suppose that teachers are particularly excited about the changes that will be taking place with their students as the school year nears its end. Parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone who is around kids this time of year will tell that when the trees bud, kids’ attitudes change. They develop what might be called “Short-Timers Syndrome”. When they know that the school year is almost up, it seems like all kids can think about is getting out of school and enjoying the summer months. They are ready to be done with doing their school work. They are tired of listening to the teacher. They are just not in the mood.

They may have started the school year with a great attitude, focused and determined to have the best year ever. They may have resolved to awesome grades and to contribute to the life of the school, but, unfortunately many if not most students catch the “Short Timers Syndrome” about this time of the year.

And this particular syndrome isn’t restricted just to students, nor does it always come in the spring of the year. I remember seeing the Short Timers Attitude among fellow servicemen when I was in the Navy. You could always tell when a serviceman was getting close the end of date his tour of duty was. You could tell because they began day dreaming. Their mind was somewhere else. They would go through the motions but didn’t put forth much effort. They would talk about anything other than work. As far as military life was concerned, they had been there and done that. Now they were ready for a break from service. The truth is, they stopped being sailors and soldiers long before their release from service. All it took was the recognition that their time was growing short, and like clock-work Short-Timers Syndrome began to set in.

How about you and I? Has Short-Timers Syndrome began to affect you, maybe just a bit? We are an aging congregation, you know. Most of us have been here and done it. In fact, we’ve done it for quite a few years now. Now that we are getting older, have we developed a Short-Timers Attitude as far as God is concerned? Are you discouraged? Have you gotten to the point in our life where you don’t care quite so much anymore? Do we feel like you have done your part, so now it’s time for others to pick up the ball and run with it? Have you come to the point in your life where you are just skating, just marking time, just waiting for the inevitable end, with no particular desire to be better, to grow in our faith at our age? I hope not!

We know God Loves us. He knows we Love Him, and we know we are going to Heaven. But is that the extent of our goals? Do we have no further goals as far as our Spiritual progress goes? Was the only important goal the goal of acceptance of the Gospel, the acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior? Again, I hope not!

We never outgrow the opportunities for spiritual growth that are set before us. And yet we may forget this. If we want our relationship with Jesus to be motivating, if we want to get rid of our “short timers attitude” regarding further spiritual development, then we must set new goals. And most certainly the perfection of our love in our relationship with our Creator and with our fellow human beings is certainly a worthwhile goal capable of bringing new excitement and zest to our spiritual life.

What are some of the goals we might set for ourselves in order to move forward in our walk of faith? As we look at our Epistle lesson this morning, the Apostle Paul gives us a good place to start.

Let us read again his words. He writes: … “whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

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