Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: How God can use the failures of our lives, from the example of Moses

In the late seventies, Firefighters in England went on strike. Thus, the British army was required to take over emergency fire fighting. One day, a squad of soldiers received a call from an elderly woman in London to come and rescue her cat, Bittsy. Poor Bittsy had gotten stuck in a tree.

They arrived quickly and without much trouble saved Bittsy from her high perch. As they were getting ready to leave, the woman invited her heroes in for a victory spot of tea. Very British of her. After the tea break, and many fond farewells and waving of hands, the soldiers hopped on the fire truck. But, as they drove away, they ran over sweet little Bittsy and killed her.

That’s embarrassing. But, we can all relate. We all have those moments when we fail. Despite our best efforts, things come crashing down on us. We’re left holding the bag, or in this instance, the dead cat.

-professionally. Remember the days when you were the young hot-shot, and now you just seem to keep on playing catch-up? Why doesn’t your boss seem to like you? Why do the words “performance review” sound about as much fun as the word colonoscopy?

-as children. How long will it take before Mom or Dad will ever be happy with you? It’s sad, but, I pray with people in their 40s and their 50s who are still trying to win their parents’ approval. Someone calls this having a “parental hangover.’

-as parents. What parent here hasn’t at some point felt like they have blown it? They don’t exactly give us instruction manuals, do they? I have tried my best, but I know I’m no Ward Cleaver, Jim Anderson, Andy Taylor, or Homer Simpson. Wait, skip Homer Simpson. One of my friends says, “Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving…” Isn’t that true for a parent? Any difficulties my disabled son has weighed heavily on my shoulders.

-as friends. When hasn’t each one of us let a friend down?

What are the kinds of things are you carrying today?

If you have ever blown it, failed in any way, you are not alone. (Comforting thought) The Bible is full of people who have, at times, made a mess out of their lives. But, these people have seen their lives reconstructed by God for His purposes and for His glory. One thing you learn from reading the story of God’s people in the Bible is- Don’t judge a person’s life on a terrible stage of trouble. The whole story of their life hadn’t been written yet. Is it fair to judge St. Peter solely on his denial of ever knowing Jesus on Maundy Thursday night? Heaven’s no! He went on to becoming one of the key leaders of the Church. Would it be fair to condemn Paul on his attacks upon the early Christians? NO, he spent the next forty years spreading the Gospel throughout the Roman world. How often we are to judge and sentence a person on one mistake. But, the rest of their story hasn’t been written yet. As someone said, “Forgive me, God isn’t finished with me yet.” We are all works in process.

Don’t judge your whole life by a time of failure. God isn’t finished with you yet. Who knows how God will use a moment of failure for His glory?

Let’s take an object lesson on dealing with failure from the life of Moses. Moses was a big, capital “F” failure. As we heard last week, Moses had left Egypt a failure and a disgrace. While still a Prince of Egypt, he had witnessed an Egyptian beating a Jew. Moses had, as we would say today, anger issues. He murdered the Egyptian, put him in a car, and dumped both in the Nile. No one saw him. It was the perfect crime, so he thought. But, the next day, Moses came upon two Jews having a major disagreement. Trying to play “high and mighty Moses” he tried to break it up. One of the men stared him down and said, “what are you going to do, Moses, kill one of us.” Can you imagine the kick to the gut that was? Moses had thought he had gotten away with it. But he hadn’t. Before the CSI people could nab him, he fled, skedaddling to the desert of Midian. He got a job as a sheepherder and married the boss’ daughter. Imagine working at your father-in-law’s car garage- that’s what it was like. Whoever coined the phrase “How the mighty have fallen”- might have been thinking of Moses.

Driving around in a Mercedes engineered chariot, to handling sheep. Working for his wife’s dad, maybe he was a bit hen-pecked, too, by his wife. I heard the story of a man who was the head of an office. He had a hard time keeping charge of his employees. So, he went out and got himself a sign. He put it on his door. “I am the boss.” He went out to lunch. When he returned, he noticed someone had stuck a note to the sign. It read “Your wife wants the sign back…’ We sing the hymn “Go Down, Moses. Go Down, Moses.” Brother, Moses was so down he didn’t know how to get up.

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