Summary: Does heaven hold on to your heart? Giving yourself completely to a holy cause that lasts forever is the most fulfilling of all human experiences. Find the greatest blessings of the Christian life: give it all you’ve got!
When it’s of God…
When we lived in New Hampshire, about this time of year the Striper Bass would begin to swim up the coast of Maine and sometimes we would go out at high tide and fish for them off the rocky coast at York, Maine. Roy Smith, from West Virginia, was a sportsman through and through. He would always round up a bunch of us from church and plan a fishing trip for Striper Bass. You’ve got to understand. Roy did this with a zeal and zest that made you think the world depended on it! On the day of the big trip, Roy would be marching around making sure all of us had all the gear we needed and that we left on time to hit the rising tide. By the way, it might be 2:30 in the morning, but that only added to the sense of urgency and energy. To be fair, Roy was that way about a lot of things. Jenny used to see him in that determined mode and say, “Now there’s a man on a mission!” Frank Perreault would say, “Yeah, Roy’s on another mission from God!”
I must say, I’ve rarely seen such zeal and determination for catching a fish as Roy Smith. Almost everything in his life, he did with a passion, and when he was baptized he burst out of the water ready to take on the hosts of hell.
There are many things that call for our commitment in this life. God designed us in such a way that we experience our greatest fulfillment when we are giving ourselves fully to a life we believe in. Another great meaning of membership in the church Jesus died for is that you can give yourself fully to the cause that you know is of God. We are called to a heavenly kingdom cause that deserves and demands us to pour out our deepest passions. What we are doing is of God! If this were just of human origin, we could excuse half hearted commitment and distracted dedication. But this is of God! Listen to Peter’s words 1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
As a member of the church Jesus died for you and I have the incredible honor of participating in a calling of God, a mission from God, and a membership among fellow men and women who are marching by the same orders and following the same commander in chief, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Now… Whether we act like it or not, that doesn’t change the truth. Whether we fully commit or believe it or not, that doesn’t diminish the character of the cause of God. It only tells on us.
This world is filled with human causes that stir human hearts to passion. Some are worthy and some are insignificant. Some are compatible with the cause of Christ and some compete with the cause of Christ or are distracting or even in opposition to it. For some things, it depends on your attitude toward them. For instance, how would you classify the UT/Florida football game? Is that of God or of men… Someone says, “That depends on the final score!” It is amazing how excited people can become over such things. Now let me ask you something. What do you allow to draw out your deepest emotional energy and stir your deepest passions? This is an important question. As we explore the text today we witness a clash of good and evil. Both sides are committed to their cause. One is of God, the other is not.
Listen, when it’s of God, give yourself fully over to it. When it’s of God, refuse anything that competes with it, distracts you from it or stands in opposition to it. When it’s of God, walk in it, live by it, and even rejoice over the honor of suffering for it.