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, June 14, 2009

God Is Not Fair

June 14, 2009
Second Sunday after Pentecost

God Is Not Fair
Mark 4:26-34 and 1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
- Ephesians 2:8-9

My sermon outline:

A woman was washing the dishes when she saw her 5-yo neighbor Jimmy headed for her back porch. The woman had just painted the handrails, and she didn’t want Jimmy to mess them up.

“Come around to the front door, Jimmy, there’s wet paint on the rails,” she hollered through the open window.

“I’ll be careful,” returned Jimmy.

“No, Jimmy, don’t come up those steps!” she shouted, knowing Jimmy’s tendency to mess things up.

“I’ll be careful,” he said again.

“Jimmy, stop!” she shouted. “I don’t want carefulness, I want obedience!”

As she shouted these words through the open window she remembered Samuel’s response to King Saul: To obey is better than sacrifice.

To her relief Jimmy replied, “Ok, I’ll go around to the front door.”

As he turned to go ‘round front, the woman thought to herself, “How often am I like Saul or like Jimmy, wanting to go my own way? I rationalize, ‘I’ll be careful, Lord’ as I proceed with my plans. But God doesn’t want carefulness. He wants obedience.”

• Okay this didn’t happen to me, but coulda... children ask “Why” all the time. My answer is often “One, because I said so, two because (dinner is in an hour)”. I desire obedience. GOD desires obedience over sacrifice.

• Obedience over sacrifice actually has to do with 1 Samuel chapter 15, the story right before today’s reading. Saul is king, but due to his pride and disobedience – he took God’s command and altered it to his own desires for his own glory – God has said that Saul’s kingdom will be passed on to another. (shame!)

• Our reading today then gives us a glimpse at a key point in Israel’s history, the establishment of the house of David. It’d be like studying George Washington in 1775.

Out of nowhere, David is chosen. We don’t know much about his family... (in contrast, when Saul was chosen king in chapter 9, we find out he’s from a prominent family, plus he’s a head taller than everyone else. David is short and pimply but handsome.)

• I am reminded that God chose Abram out of nowhere. And Mary too.

• Herein I find good news (or bad news, depending on where you are!)

God chooses in God’s way, not by human standards or expectations. We expect a Saul, from the right family and head and shoulders above the rest, not the pimply youngest brother of a family of shepherds.

Good news: God’s grace is not by merit, not earned, which makes it open to everybody, not just the specially gifted or those born into the right family.

Of course, if you’re a specially gifted one or born into the right family, that’s bad news, that’s not fair (but God is not about fairness, God is about heart, God is about obedience).

If God’s grace is by merit, then the qualified not only wouldn’t need Jesus, they’d boast in their own works. (which was what Saul did in chapter 15, against God’s wishes).

• God is above human understanding yet is trustworthy and praiseworthy. God desires obedience.

• Obedience to what? God’s Word. To let Jesus Christ be Lord, #1 in life, thy will be done. & God gives Spirit to the Church to help discern through the ages. Importance of education & community (as congregation, as connection, as annual conference). Relationship.

• Hymn 399 Take My Life and Let It Be

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 64 in worship.


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