Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sharing God's Blessings - A Morning Prayer

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. I am grateful for all of the wonderful things in this world that You created, and even more grateful that you share some of it with me.

Lord, I think back to my days in high school. By that time, my mom's health had started to decline and she was no longer working. Being the sweet momma she was, she would still get up in the morning and fix me breakfast; sometimes packing it for me to eat on the way to school. The first few times I got on the bus with my bag full of breakfast sandwich and snack cake, some of my buddies ragged on me me about it. They gave me the "Awww look at momma's baby; ain't that tweet...". I chuckled, gave them the "Yeah, what-eva man", and then sat down and proceeded to eat my food.

Well it didn't take long for their laughs to be silenced by the aroma of momma's cooking. Next thing I knew, they were over my shoulder with the "Hey man, break me off a piece of that..". Long story short, these guys were my best friends, so I shared....but I really didn't want to.

Of course You know Father, that's a true story; and of course you know that an even truer story is that it's still sometimes hard for me to share. Sure I share everything I have with my wife and daughters; I share some of what I have with my extended family; I give to my church on a weekly basis; and I give to others from time to time. But I have no choice with You but to admit that outside of the people closest to me, sharing never becomes a natural reaction. But I want it to be.

I think of the story of Your Son feeding the multitude. In Matthew 14:19 You wrote, "Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people." Just before that verse, we learn that those fish and that bread came from a boy who happened to be there with the people gathered.

Now some people say that it was his lunch, but I actually think that he was bringing home grocery for his household. Either way, we see nothing written that he refused or even so much as hesitated in handing over his food to Jesus. He shared. Not with his family, not with his friends, but with strangers. And because he was willing to share, Jesus took it and multiplied it into a mighty blessing, for others and for the boy. That's why I want you to help me to do better about sharing.

Father, everything I have belongs to You anyway. Help me to view my life not as a bank to hold Your blessings, but a vessel to share Your blessings. I know that if I share it, You will multiply it. Then people will be satisfied, and You will be glorified.

You are my greatest blessing. I love You. In Jesus name. Amen.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ever Powerful

From where I sit, I can see a small plaque on a shelf with my name "Eric" and it's meaning, "Ever powerful". Pretty cool, huh? I can't remember where I got that from, but I assume the meaning for my name is true, though it often doesn't feel like it. But, it makes me think way back to a time when I was a little boy following my dad around on the farm.
I used to love being around him while he was working because it made me feel important and strong like a big boy. Anything that he was doing, I wanted to try to do it too. And even though I was rail thin, I obviously didn't get the memo that I was skinny and weak. I certainly didn't feel that way around my daddy.
Well one day he was hooking up some equipment to the tractor called cultivators. They were in 4 separate pieces for the small tractor he had, 2 for the front, and 2 for the back. They weren't huge pieces, but they were pretty heavy. To connect them, you had to lift them off the ground to slide them into their places. My dad made it look so easy. In fact, he pretty much used one had to lift, and the other hand to guide and slide the pins in to hold them in place. I just knew if he could do it with one hand, I could do it with two. So I jumped in there with my 'let me try' enthusiasm.
My dad never would stand in the way of me learning how to do something, so he just stepped back to watch me give it a try. Well, I tried...and I tried...and I tried, but I just couldn't lift it up quiet high enough. So I stepped back to let him get back in there and do his thing. But, he didn't. He looked at me and told me not to give up so easily. His facial expression was interesting. It was saying, 'you can do it' and 'I expect more' at the same time.
So I jumped back in there not expecting to please my dad by being able to lift it, but at least to make him proud by giving it another try. I didn't have much, but I gave it all I had. And lo and behold, it started to lift up off the ground. In fact, I lifted it up high enough to get it into position. Not only did I lift it, but when I did, it felt at least half as light as it did on my first few attempts. I was amazed at what a little determination and a little extra elbow grease could do for me. I felt so good about myself, not only because I was able to lift something beyond what I thought was possible, but also because it was obvious that my daddy was proud of me.
Well, I'm not sure how long it was before I realized what really happened. But I finally figured out that I was only able to lift that piece of equipment because my dad had grabbed it behind me and helped me lift it. Oh, I wasn't mad when I realized what he did. I understood why he did it, and I appreciate him for doing it. Just like I appreciate it when God does it.
See, I know that there are many things in my life now that it may appear as if I am lifting them on my own. Sometimes people will say "Good job Eric!", or "That was awesome what you did". But they don't realize how weak I really am. They can't see it, but I know that I am only able to do what I do because God's hand is on what I'm lifting.
So I understand better what the Lord meant in Zechariah 5:6b when He said "...not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts". It's the Spirit of God that's helping me lift what I need to lift and carry what I need to carry. And I can see everyday how His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
I thank God for having His hand on the things I do and the burdens I carry. There is no way I could do it without Him. And if you are feeling like your load is too much for you, then trust in our Heavenly Father. Tell Him all about it. He can't wait to help!