Summary: This sermon deals with discipleship and why is it that we chose to become Christians in the first place.
Why Did You Sign Up?
Eric Jackson was a nineteen year old junior in high school who wanted some excitement in his life. He had failed the proficiency exams three times and it didn’t look as though he was going to graduate next year. He was tired of teachers getting on his back about assignments. While watching BET one day, he was captivated by the commercial “an army of one.”
There on the tv screen, was a young man with a rifle in his hand, with a special helmet equipped with night vision glasses, and a host of high tech gadgets strapped on his belt running across the terrain in the country. That young man was an army of one. The more Eric thought about the adventure, the excitement, the thrill of it all, the more he decided to quit school and join the army.
What Eric signed up and what he got were two different situations. Eric barely survived boot camp. The hikes and the exercise routines were the first real physical tests in his life. He hated getting up early in the morning. He hated the sergeant yelling and telling him what to do. He hated not being able to go where he wanted to go and to do what he wanted to do.
The freedom he thought he would find in the commercial was missing. Instead of being an army of one running in the countryside, he was in the kitchen cleaning the floors in the dining hall. There was somebody else with an agenda already set for his life, and he had to fit within their plan. Eric thought to himself, “this is not what I signed up for.” Eric decided to go AWOL. That’s absent without official leave.
Do you think Eric was justified in running away from the army? Should the army have the right to place soldiers in assignments and positions that will best suit the needs of the army, even if the soldier is unhappy with the assignment?
We are soldiers in the army of God? When we accepted Jesus Christ, we enlisted in his army. But why did you sign up for cause of Christ? Have you come with certain expectations like Eric, that you are going to find a certain type of life with all kinds of benefits to it?
Did someone promise you a life of joy, peace, health and wealth? Did you want to impress someone, or did it in order to make yourself more attractive to a certain guy or girl who was already signed up? Did you sign up because other people had come forward and you did not want to be left out?
Did you sign up because of a promise you made, “Lord if you heal me”, “Jesus, if you get me out of this jam”, “God, if you do this for me, then I will sign up for service?” It’s important for us to know why we signed up, because that’s going to determine whether we go AWOL or not.
In our Old Testament reading, we ran into a man named Job. Now Job was very wealthy and did his best to live as righteously before God as possible. Job had signed up to follow God. Job felt, serving God was the best way to ensure peace and prosperity for his life. But Job was a soldier and not the commander in chief in the army.
When Satan and God engaged in battle, Job was the weapon in God’s hand. God was saying, “with this man, I will defeat you Satan.” Satan laughed and said, “you’ve got to do better than that God. The only reason this guy serves you is because you’ve given him every blessing there is on earth. If he lost his family, his money, and his property. He would curse you to your face.”
Job did not know that this spiritual battle was going on in heaven. All he knew was that his life had been turned inside out and upside down. The previous night he had gone to bed and all was well. When he rose the next morning, the sun was shining, the day looked promising and breakfast tasted mighty good. But before the sun had gone down that day, four messengers had come to Job with four bad reports.
Not only was Job completely bankrupt having lost his financial possessions, but all of his children were tragically killed. He had gone from one of the richest man in the country to financial disaster. The seven sons and three daughters he loved dearly were gone.
Who do you blame in a situation like this? Who do you get angry with when you’re in this kind of pain? Job could have cried out, “God this is not what I signed up for in living for you.” Job did not know it yet, but there were still some more awful things about to come into his life.