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Summary: Our history calls us to an optimism that often is difficult to support. We do live in a changing time. The familiar has gone for most of us. Too often this creates within us a feeling of uncertainty and confusion rather than hope and optimism.

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The Can’t Do Everything Won’t Do Anything Syndrome John 6:1-14

Sermon by Don Emmitte – Memorial Day, 2014 – Grace Restoration Ministries

Take Your Bibles, Please…

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (John 6:1-14 ESV).

Some Introductory Remarks

There is an old story about a candidate for the office of sheriff and his unusual methods of campaigning. It seems that this young man was a wicked, spiteful youngster. Even though he had grown into a pretty good young man, he was well remembered by those who had been his teachers earlier. One particular little old lady, a retired school teacher remembered him very well indeed! While out knocking on doors campaigning, the young man came to the home of this sweet little retired school teacher. He was surveying those eligible to vote in the election. He asked, "If you vote in the upcoming election will you vote for me as sheriff?" She answered by saying, "I remember you when you were in my third grade class. You were the meanest, orneriest, stinker in all the class! Why, I wouldn't vote for you if you were running for dogcatcher, much less the sheriff." He thanked her for her opinion and walked back to his car. He had a clipboard for recording his survey. The paper had three columns on it. One marked "yes," another "no," and the third "doubtful." He went to her name on the list and moved across the page and marked "doubtful!" He certainly was an optimist.

This Memorial Day weekend calls out to us to be intentional in our recall of history. There is no question we live in difficult times, changing times. Our history calls us to an optimism that often is difficult to support. We do live in a changing time. The familiar has gone for most of us. Too often this creates within us a feeling of uncertainty and confusion rather than hope and optimism.

It is amazing how the younger generation watch us and we imprint on their minds an attitude they are going to have in dealing with life when they become adults. It is awesome to consider that the children of our day will deal with the future as they see us dealing with the present. We don't live in the past, but the past lives in us. We owe it to our past and our future to do something worthwhile with the present. Throughout the ages of mankind there have been three different responses to history: some have tried to ignore it; others have tried to hide or rewrite it; and then yet others have tried to expand and enhance it. When we understand each of these attitudes it helps us to come to a commitment in life that may bring about the best in others and ourselves. Let's look at each of these in further detail.

First, there are those who have tried to ignore history.

There are those people who say, "This world is not my home. I'm just passin' through." These are those people who want to say their prayers, mind their business, and tough it out, because it won't be long. These are the people who want to forget about the problems of crime, hunger, and immorality. They are not interested in making the commitments necessary to minister in today's world. They have ignored the reality of the world.

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