Summary: Size doesn’t matter, because we have the resources of Jesus Himself and His Word to multiply disciples of Christ.
Stir What You Got (Mark 4:21-34)
Andy Eddington, once the president of Shriner College in Texas, loved sugar in his coffee. On one occasion at a greasy spoon near Dallas, he dumped not one, not two, but three teaspoonfuls of sugar in his coffee. As the waitress watched, Andy said, “Ma’am, we’re going to need more sugar for this table.”
This Texas waitress looked at Andy and said, “Listen, bud, before I give you more sugar, you stir what you got.” (Thomas Tewell, pastor, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, New York; from a plenary address at the Preaching with Passion Conference, 5-31-01; www.PreachingToday.com)
Sometimes we think we need more to serve the Lord effectively – more money, more skill, or more people. But often the Holy Spirit says to us, “Stir what you got.”
The fact is God has given us plenty of resources to serve him well and to serve him effectively in this place. I know the task seems overwhelming at times, but we really do have everything we need as a church to expand God’s Kingdom on Washington Island and to make a real difference in the lives of people right here.
You say, “Pastor Phil, what do we have? Our church is small. What resources do we have to make any real difference here in the long run?
Mark 4:21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? (NIV)
A better translation would be, “Does THE lamp COME to be under a bowl or a bed? Is it not put on the lamp stand?”
Mark 4:22-23 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (NIV)
Understand what Jesus is saying. Jesus is the Lamp, and He didn’t come into the world to be hidden. No. Just like light, He came to shine. He came to reveal Himself to the world.
And He is our first resource. My friends, WE HAVE JESUS! WE HAVE THE LORD. All we need to do is let Him shine. All we need to do is turn him loose.
In the early days of Promise Keepers, when they still had just one stadium event a year in Boulder, Colorado, a newspaper reporter interviewed E. V. Hill, one of the speakers. The reporter asked him, “What is Promise Keepers all about? What do you do?”
E.V. Hill responded, “We’re all about Jesus. We talk about Jesus.”
And the reporter said, “Is that all?”
“Is that all?” E. V. Hill reported to the Promise Keepers crowd. “They don’t know who He is!”
Well just who is Jesus? Let’s let S. M. Lockridge show us who He is. Show That’s My King video (by S. M. Lockridge, 3½ min.).
Do you know Him? I hope you do, because if you know Him you have all that you need! When it comes living our lives and influencing others, we don’t need anything else. We just need to let Jesus shine through us. We just need to let Jesus live His life through us and share Him whenever we can.
In another context, Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” Lift up Jesus, my friends. Lift Him up in your actions. Lift Him up in your speech. Lift Him up at work. Lift Him up at School. Lift Him up before your friends. Lift Him up every chance you get. Just let Jesus shine through you.
You say, “Phil, how do I do that? How do I let Jesus shine through me?” Well, we do it when we listen to Him. We do it when we hear His words and put them into practice.
Mark 4:24-25 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (NIV)
If you hear and believe what Christ has to say, He will give you more guidance. But if you refuse to believe what Christ has to say, then you will be totally and hopelessly lost.
I like the way John Ortberg put it in a sermon on Choices. He talked about using a GPS system. You plug it in, punch in your destination, and a woman’s voice tells you how to get wherever it is you are going.