6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Is our service to the Lord whole or half hearted?


Matthew 15: 8-9

George E. Crumbly

Humphrey UMC

August 2005


Most folks like to do things "Whole" heartedly. The word ("WHOLE: Complete, having nothing missing, not divided or in pieces.") Some folks like to do things "Half" heartedly. The word ("HALF: One of two equal parts) I would think doing something WHOLE HEARTED would mean complete, and to do something HALF HEARTED would not be complete. We sing a chorus I love:

"So let us come into His house, gather in His name and worship Him........"

"So forget about your self, concentrate on Him and worship Him..."

That’s WHOLE HEARTED to concentrate on Him-first though we’ve got to forget about self!! CONCENTRATE...FOCUS on God. Whatever God tells us to do, we need to DO IT. Not half way but completely....

Matthew 15: verses 8-9

Too many times folks are just going thru the motions...Jesus is saying that these hypocrites were honoring Him with their lips....They were just talking about serving the Lord, not actually doing it. Today, the Lord knows each of us here. He knows yours & my heart. He knows whether our SERVING Him is WHOLE or HALF hearted. He is telling the hypocrites that their worship is in VAIN. ("VAIN: Lacking worth or substance")

A few Sunday’s ago I shared with you what a friend of mine had told me his pastor had preached about faith that Sunday. He was talking about Abraham. God told Abraham to take his son Isaac up on a mountain & offer him as a sacrifice. Abraham did exactly like God told him to do. (I do not believe for one minute that Abraham went thru this any way but WHOLE-HEARTED)

I do not think Abraham was looking & acting waiting for God to stop him. Abraham knew what God had promised him thru his son Isaac, therefore Abraham knew that God was going to take care of things. And yes, God did provide a sacrifice.

People do things today, going thru the motions waiting for God to step in. I guess the Lord gave me this message as I was thinking about a situation in a church I pastored years ago. It was a lesson I learned because God told me to DO SOMETHING & I went after it with everything I had to go after. At first I was disappointed with the way things turned out (because of man) but then I saw what God had intended for me to do.

(We took a church where sin had entered thru a relationship that affected a family. This had gone on for over a year. Family relationships were destroyed; young family members didn’t understand what had happened. It was truly sad. People didn’t get together that this issue would come up. People were choosing sides. Finally the Lord laid a message on my heart & gave me an idea as to what He wanted me to do along with this message)

I knew the Funeral Home Director in town; I called him up & told him I needed to borrow a casket. Yes sireeee a real casket. After I explained to him what was going on he told me the police department had an old one of his they used every Halloween. I called them & had everything set up, the casket would be delivered Saturday night, I would roll it back into the Sunday School room at the end of the sanctuary & cover it up & hide it until Sunday School was over. I would have everyone leave the sanctuary while I would roll the casket into the sanctuary just like in a funeral service. I would preach a funeral service informing everybody that something had died therefore we were having a service to bury it. We would be burying sin, bitterness, hurt, heartache, gossip, every weight & most important? We would be burying SELF. Then at the end of the service I would open the casket where I had a mirror setting on the pillow so as everyone would file down (you know they would just to see out of curiosity what was in the casket). As each person would walk past & look in I would be standing at the head of the casket telling them that we were going to bury this person today. Everything was set. I had the message. I was waiting now for Saturday to get the casket then Sunday to preach the message.

Something happened. Someone found out or got a little bit of information, how, I guess I will never know. Someone called me saying someone in the church was upset about having a casket in the Sunday service. This really hurt me. It bothered me. I was getting excited about this message thinking that maybe we could finally put all of this behind us when the Lord impressed on me that He never intended for me to get a casket. WOW?! I used this message along with what had happened. You see the Lord knew exactly what was going to happen so I explained this to the entire church how God had led me & that instead of just going thru the motions I actually went after this WHOLE HEARTEDLY. God never intended for me to use a casket. He didn’t tell me to act like I was going to get one, He told me to GET ONE.

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