Summary: Certain things either help or hinder our spiritual journey through life.
The Journey of Life
INTRO.- ILL.- Two preachers were having lunch at a farm during a certain anniversary celebration. The farmer’s wife had fried several chickens and told her family they could have what was left after everyone had gone home. But it was not to be. Those hungry preachers ate every piece of fried chicken.
Later, when the farmer was conducting his guests around the farm, an old rooster starting crowing loudly. One guest said, "He seems to be mighty proud of himself." "No wonder," growled the farmer, "HE’S GOT TWO SONS IN THE MINISTRY."
Brothers and sisters, you can start out one place in life and end up somewhere entirely different. You could start out as a chicken and end up in the ministry! Huh! Is that what I just said?
How many of you were born and raised in the Mattoon/Charleston area? And/or surrounding area?
How many of you were born elsewhere but came back here because of family ties?
How many of you came here to this area because work or marriage brought you here?
Life is a journey. We start out in one place and sometimes end up in a completely different place or area of the country.
ILL.- My older brother, twin sister and I were all born in Joplin, MO. My brother Larry now lives in Lenexa, KS, and manages a large grocery store called the "Price Chopper." We both started out in the grocery business and both worked for Safeway stores at one time. He’s lived in Neosho, MO, Springfield, MO, and the Kansas City area. He’s been in the grocery business all his life, ever since he was 15 years old. He is now 60 years old.
My twin sister Sharon married Mike Hughlett who graduated with us at Webb City High School, which is right next to Joplin. Mike is a computer engineer in the field of jet propulsion. His work has led them to many different cities: St. Louis, MO, Wichita, KS, Media, PA, Dearborn, MI, and Arlington, TX. And Mike’s work has also taken him to Seattle, WA, and Newport News, VA, while my sister stayed in Texas. My sister Sharon is now an Administrative Research Assistant for a doctor of education at the University of Texas at Arlington.
We never know where life will take us, do we? Life is indeed a journey. Our own Larry Combs has served with the Peace Corps many years ago which has taken him to such places as West Africa, a short time in Europe and in Washington D.C. And, of course, many of you may have lived in different places across the country and perhaps even around the world. Especially, if you served in the armed service.
Life is not only a physical journey, but also a spiritual journey. Some people don’t have a very good start spiritually speaking and don’t go too far either. It often depends on whether or not the right people come into their lives and influence them in a positive way.
ILL.- My neighbor whom I have talked about before did not have a good spiritual start in life. Remember? He told me that he got turned off to Christ and Christianity at the age of 8 when he heard a woman preach for three hours. That’s funny in one way, but very sad in another way.
ILL.- My mother dated a man for several years after my father died. His name was Ralph Lee. Ralph had worked most of his life. He was mainly interested in making money. He often worked seven days a week.
He had two daughters who died of cancer before he passed away several years ago at the age of 91. He was worth about a million dollars, but his spiritual worth was not much. HE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN SPIRITUAL THINGS. The only time he went to church was for a wedding or a funeral.
He told me that when he was just a youngster he got turned off to Christianity when some preacher told him not to visit his grandpa because his grandpa smoked and he was a bad influence on him. Ralph loved his grandpa and decided then he would never go back to church.
Sometimes we who preach don’t always say or do what is right. I apologize to you if I have turned you off to Christ in any way, shape or form! That has never been my intention!
Brothers and sisters, some of us get a halfway decent start by hearing about Jesus in Sunday School, VBS and church and end up doing fairly well. Staying with it and perhaps even progressing.
Do you recall the progression of your spiritual journey? It may have started out something like this:
ILL.- The preacher asked the little boy if he liked the church service. The little boy replied, "The music was ok, but the commercial was way too long!"