The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Where Do You Want To Sit?"

October 22, 2006
from Mark 10:35-45, Hebrews 5:1-10 and Luke 14:7-11

"Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." – Mark 10:43-44

My sermon outline:

• It is human nature to want to sit in the best seat in the house... At sports games, in the parking lot, at concerts, in church, people naturally want the best seat. (good fun talk about the best seat in church)

• James and John ask Jesus for the best seats, THE seats of honor. Says Jesus: Where do you want to sit? You don’t know what you’re asking.

• Jesus goes to the house of a prominent Pharisee (read Luke 14:7-11)

• James and John ask Jesus for the best seats, the seats of honor. Says Jesus: Where do you want to sit? You don’t know what you’re asking. Don’t ask for the best seat, take the last seat instead. Take the least desirable seat, the seat nobody else wants, the seat of no honor.

• I heard once of a Christian organization that always asks newly hired people to clean the toilets for two weeks. It doesn’t matter what their qualifications or what they are hired for. That’s the first job they get. If they won’t do it, they don’t get a position.

• James and John ask Jesus for seats of authority.
Says Jesus: Where do you want to sit? You don’t know what you’re asking. Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.

• The reading from Hebrews lifts up a few needful qualities of service to God: being subject to weakness, having reverent submission

• I think of the seat Mother Teresa chose, and the sisters who served with her, ministering among “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone”. Homes for the dying. Honors and awards MT received were given to the poor.

• James and John wanted to fortify rank, keep their position in the inner circle.
Says Jesus: Greatness is found not in rank but in service.

• During the American Revolution an officer in civilian clothes rode past a group of new recruits busy repairing a break in a rampart. The work was really too heavy for the size of group working on it. Their commander was shouting instructions, but was making no attempt to help them. Asked why, he replied with inflated dignity, "Sir, I am a Corporal!" The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers himself. When the job was finished, he turned to the corporal and said "Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this, and not enough men to do it, go to your commander in chief, and I will come and help you again." The officer in plain clothes was General Washington.

• We have a few plainclothes officers in this congregation. People who see what needs to be done and who do it. This group of soldiers had a task that was really too heavy for the size of the group. They needed more help to get the job done. This church is that way. There are workers but the task is larger, and we need more people who will look around, see what needs to be done, and do it. People who will seek ways to serve. If you look in the back of our directory you’ll see there are missing teeth in the gears that keep this place running. We have willing and plainclothes officers who are looking for more hands to lend to the task. In the coming weeks (as we prepare for 2007) we would be blessed to see a few more plainclothes officers serving on the worship committee, the staff-parish committee, the finance committee, as trustees or church council member. We’d like to see a team of folks committed to something for the children so that when we have visitors with kids they want to come back. I’d love if my greatest problem was figuring out what to do with all the people who came to me and said: “Pastor I want to help. Where can I serve?”

• Such was the seat Jesus chose. Following Jesus does not lead up the social ladder but down. It leads to dirty hands and aching backs. To cross and to glory.

• Philippians 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

• Where do you want to sit? The least seat. The seat of reverent submission. The seat of service. The seat of God’s choosing.

• For Better is one day in your courts
Than thousands elsewhere (Psalm 84:10)

• Galatians 6:9-10 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of God.

• Jesus says “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Thanks be to God for the service of his Son. May we offer ourselves in service.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: Cool and cloudy. 75 in worship.


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