Summary: Designed for a day devoted to reclaiming inactive members, this sermon argues that the spiritual life is like a piece of equipment: unpack, read the instructions, assemble, plug in the power.
Nothing you purchase comes ready to go. You can’t buy
anything ready to use. Everything takes finishing and
finagling before you can use it. You would think that when
you have paid good money for your purchase, it would be
ready. But not so. Something else always has to be done.
You have to unwrap it, cook it, cool it, register it, license it,
clean it, power it, whatever. Nothing is ever really ready to
Even if you accept the fact that nothing is quite ready to go,
you might think that it won’t be difficult to get it ready. But I
call your attention to one of the world’s great
understatements, something that appears on packages all
the time, disguising agonies to come. I am speaking of the
phrase, “Some Assembly Required.” Do you know that
phrase? Have you seen that line? “Some Assembly
You met it last Christmas Eve, when, after the youngsters
had gone to bed, you got out the crate that contained a new
bicycle. You thought you would just lift it out of the box and
put it on the road, right? But you hadn’t noticed that little
phrase, “some assembly required”, and you sat up until 3:00
a.m. with nuts and bolts and wrenches and screwdrivers to
build a bicycle. By the way, did you ever find those missing
parts? “Some assembly required”. What a deception! It
should say, “Trained mechanic required”.
But the truth, again, is that nothing is ever really ready to
use. Nothing comes ready to go. Everything takes finishing
and finagling before you can use it. And that is true of faith,
just as it is of bicycles. That is true of your spiritual life, just
as it is of mechanical things. Our spiritual life is going to
need work before it is ready to roll, and, though we may not
have noticed it, “some assembly” will be “required”.
The author of the Book of Hebrews must have seen this
issue in the lives of the earliest Christians, because he wrote,
“[Let us not forsake] the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is”. It would seem that even at that
early date, some folks were forgetting that their spiritual lives
were not ready to go without preparation. Let us not forsake
the assembling of ourselves together. Some assembly is
Let me tell you the story of a piece of equipment that arrived
this week in the church office. It will illustrate what I am
One of our members was good enough to purchase and pay
for a very fine printer, one that we can connect to our
computers and print out posters, newsletters, and other
special items. The printer was delivered this week. Do you
think that it was ready to go the instant it came into the
office? Do you think that all I had to do was wave a magic
wand and the thing began to turn out masterly materials?
Not on your life.
First we had to unpack it. It came in a huge thick box, and
once we cut that open, we found Styrofoam packing,
cardboard inserts, yards of orange tape, and several plastic
envelopes with a line marked, “Tear here”, which, of course,
no one other than the Biblical Samson can actually tear. We
had to unpack this critter, and that was quite a task.