Summary: A sermon that considers what it means to count it all joy when you face all kind of trials. contains quite a bit on william Carey - didn’t use it all but thought it may be a useful resource so have left it in
I’d always heard this belief attributed to the supposed fact that Mondays and Fridays had the highest rates of employee absenteeism among auto workers, therefore you didn’t want to buy a car manufactured on those days because some of the assembly steps might have been skipped or too hastily performed by other workers who had to cover for the absent employees in addition to performing their own assigned tasks.
But on the outside a Monday car or a Friday car would look identical to a car made on any other day of the week.
The only way you could tell a Monday or Friday car would be by testing it.
Christians all look the same pretty much on the outside.
JAS 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
The question here is how do we find if our faith is of value.
The answer in a word is test it.
It is possible to have bought a brand new car and never test it.
Years ago I remember hearing of people buying a new car and keeping it in the shed and hardly ever using it.
That kind of car it could be said was never really tested.
Many Christians in the world today are untested.
The scriptures warn about putting God to the test in a wrong way LK 4:12 Jesus answered, "It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ "
but at the same time we read 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 21 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.
How then can we be sure that our faith is a tested faith and not merely head knowledge or some vague concept that we might hold in our hearts but failed to use.
There are three key matters raised in the passage we read today by James that are key indicators about how our faith can move from head knowledge to practical applied Christian living that will lead to maturity.
The first concept emerges from the very first few words that we read in the passage this morning.
JAS 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
At first that may seem to be a very strange thing to say.
Why would we count it a joy when we face a trial?
If I lose my car keys and I am running late for an appointment I consider the whole matter to be a nuiscance and a bother.
What I am worried about is being late for my appointment and embarrassing myself or inconvieniencing the people who might be waiting for me.
At that level I am not likely to be estatic about losing my car keys.
But what if something bigger is going on?
Say I lose my car keys and after searching for a reasonable amount of time stop and decide to pray.
After praying for my car keys the Holy Spirit reveals to me that I left the keys in the door of the car where I left it earlier.
I find my keys and hopefully make the appointment on time.
The trial of losing my keys has led to me using my faith to find them by praying.
As a result of this experience my faith grows and from that I learn to persevere in my faith.
Of course this is a little test let me share with you though a much bigger test.
In 1943, a theologian and pastor was imprisoned for his involvement in a failed assassination attempt against Hitler. During his yrs. in prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer went through episodes of ‘Dark Night’ experiences. His faith was severely tested as he had to come to grips with the apparent powerlessness and silence of God, in the face of the inscrutability of the Holocaust; He was also distressed over his improbable release from prison.
In a letter to a dear friend, he wrote,
“My gruesome experiences often follow me into the darkness of the night, and I can only combat them by repeating innumerable hymns…I ask myself often who I really am. Am I the man who squirms under these ghastly conditions and cries out with complaints or am I the man who disciplines himself to appear outwardly, unaffected by these things? And perhaps persuades himself that he is at peace, content and in control of himself…? - (8th July 1944) Letters & Papers From Prison.