Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: What do you do for nurture when you don’t feel spiritually fed? Steps toward being spiritually nurtured: Love, Study God’s Word, Live God’s Word, Fellowship with Believers, Service to Others.

by the Rev. W. Maynard Pittendreigh, Jr.

Sunrise Presbyterian Church

Miami Florida


Are you being fed, spiritually? Are you being nurtured in your faith? Are you taking care of your soul’s health?

Those are important questions. They are every bit as important as whether or not you are eating a balanced diet, getting proper exercise, taking the medicine as your doctor prescribes, wearing your seat belt when you drive, or anything else we do that protects your body and nurtures your physical being.

Is your soul being fed? Are you taking care of your spiritual health?

This morning, we are ordaining and installing elders onto our Session, our governing body. We will ask them questions from the Book of Order, our church law book. One of the questions is (Book of Order G-14.0207i.) Will you be a faithful elder, watching over the people, providing for their worship, nurture, and service?"

How do elders provide for our nurture?

How do you, in your own life, take care of your soul?

This morning, I want to share five very important steps to spiritual health.

First, love. As simple as that.

You need love to keep yourself healthy. In our New Testament lesson for today, the writer says, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."

Love is central to everything written in the Gospels. It is foundational to everything else in the Christian experience. If you want to grow in your faith, if you want to feed and nurture your spiritual life, then learn to love others.

In Matthew (Matt 22:36-40), a man approaches Jesus and asks, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Notice, what is important is not so much that we find someone to love us. What is important is that we love others.

In the motion picture, Marvin’s Room, there are two sisters who have been estranged for many years. When one of them is diagnosed with cancer, the other sister arrives to help take care of her. In one of the final scenes of the movie, the two sisters are talking about their lives, and the one with cancer says, "I’m so lucky. I’m so lucky. I’ve had so much love in my life."

"Yes, yes," the other sister agrees, barely looking at her sister while she cleans the kitchen. "You’ve always had people around you who loved you."

"Oh no," the other sister says with a look of surprise. "I’m lucky because I’ve been able to love so many people."

As we ordain and install our new elders, they are specifically asked a set of questions that come from our church law, or Book of Order. One of them (Book of Order G-14.0207f.) asks, "Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?"

It is the loving of others that nurtures the souls of our elders, and that nurtures all of our souls.

John said in one of his letters (I Jn 3:10), "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."

Whenever someone says, "I’m not being fed," I wonder if that person is trying to love others.

You want to nurture your soul? Love others.

A second step to spiritual nurture is to study the Word of God.

In the New Testament lesson, St. Paul wrote about how we should work toward spiritual growth "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature..."

Becoming spiritually mature is dependent on building up a knowledge of the Son of God through the study of Scripture.

This morning, as we ordain and install our new elders, one of the questions they are asked is (from the Book of Order, G-14.0207b) "Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to you?" Inherent in this is the call for them to study the Word of God.

Our Old Testament lesson for this morning says it well. (Ps 1:1-3) "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

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