Summary: Who's voice are you listening to?
READ 2 TIMOTHY 4:1-5
I want you to do something for me today:
Close your eyes and imagine that you are Jesus;
Imagine that you are on the cross at Calvary and you’re looking out at the jeering crowd.
You the only human who has never sinned-
You the one who dedicated his life to preaching and teaching the gospel.
You, the one who loves us even more than we love ourselves.
You’re about to die knowing that the world and it sinful community still hates you.
Knowing that from this day on the sinful nature of humankind will do everything in its power to turn the world against you and all that you have taught.
How do you feel?
How does it make you feel to know that you have given it your best shot and still the message you have been trying to get across has not been heard?
How do you feel?
One of my mentors whom I love and respect once gave me some advice when I first began my journey toward ordained ministry that I had to rely on this past week. He said to me:
• There will be times when you feel no one is listening.
• There will be times when you feel you are wasting your time.
• There will be times when you feel like you are inadequate and uncertain of your next step.
• There will be times when you feel like quitting and walking away.
• But hang in there and don’t quit. Give God a chance.
• Continue to trust in God and lead as you have been taught.
• You may not see the fruits of your labor but your rewards in eternity will be great..
Last week I was feeling like no one has been listening.
I felt like I have been wasting my time.
I was even thinking about calling the DS and telling him that I was ready to retire.
I was angry and frustrated because it seemed to me that the message about Faith and obedience I have been trying to convey has not been heard.
And then I heard a voice from God that asked me the question: Did I say you could quit?.
And I remembered Timothy who also suffered from a lack of confidence and how Paul appealed to him when he said:
“the Spirit that God gave us does no make us timid but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
These were some comforting words at a time when I needed comfort.
As a result my whole attitude changed.
I am no longer angry.
I no longer feel that I’m wasting my time.
And I no longer want to retire- because to quit before my job is done is not and never has been a part of my character.
Another part of my character because of my short fuse has been to re-act or overreact before I’ve had time process the situation and it usually makes the situation worse.
I think God that I am still able to learn.
I thank God this morning that I took the time to reflect back to the first Good Friday and imagine how Jesus must have felt as he watched the people he loved rejoice in his suffering.
When Jesus came on the scene everything he taught was considered to be radical.
He talked about:
Loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
Turning the other cheek when someone slapped you,
Giving your cloak to someone who stole your coat.
Serving the poor.
Feeding the hungry.
Building treasures in heaven
Serving only one God.
All these teachings were considered to be radical because they were outside of the norm.
They were the extreme and the exact opposite of what people wanted to hear.
Guess what: these same teaching are still considered radical by many God fearing Christians today.
Let me ask you something.
If you thought you could make a difference in the world by giving up everything you have accumulated in the form of material wealth –including your home or homes, your friends, family, and anything else that you can think of, would you be willing to do it.
If the Holy Spirit spoke to you and whispered in your ear and said: “I want you to cast everything aside and dedicate the rest of your life to serving only me as my Disciple living only to please me and my Father.
Would you do it?
Be honest- If you would be willing to follow in the footsteps of the disciples, or Mother Teresa or some of the first Christians who lived in common.
Please Raise your hand.
One of the reason that many of you failed to raise your hand is because you’re listening to the wrong voice.