“Whatever He Tells You, Do It” January 20, 2019
“Whatever He Tells You, Do It”
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
I don’t like being told what to do; never have and probably never will. But in my defense, I would venture a guess that there isn’t a soul in this room who doesn’t have at least a little of that 2 year old mentality that loves to tell the world, “I don’t wanna – you can’t make me.” If you tell me, “Be careful, that’s hot,” I’m going to step up and get as close as I can to see just how hot that really is. Or if you say, “That paint is still wet,” why is it that my right index finger immediately reaches out to make a big old beautiful smudge on your freshly painted wall? Why? Because I don’t like being told what to do; never have and probably never will.
For the next few weeks, I would like to explore….well, our faith. Now I certainly don’t have the authority to lecture on all the dos and don’ts of Christian faith. It’s way too personal and changes constantly. But I am broken enough and I am curious enough that I can hopefully ask the right questions and maybe come up with a few observations. Because let’s face it, faith is a curious thing. Without it, we can get along OK in this world. We can get up in the morning, do the work we need to do so that we are able to feed ourselves and furnish some kind of shelter to sleep in so that we can get up the next day and do it again. And I’m not saying this a bad thing. It happens all the time. Along the way, we can have relationships, we can fall in love, we can rob banks, we can build empires, we can coach little league baseball – heck, we can do it all! We can do it all…without…faith. And then we’re done. And along the way we will hopefully learn from our mistakes and be able to take real joy in our successes; not a bad deal, all in all.
But like I said, faith is a curious thing. Those who live by faith – who live in faith – they aren’t a whole lot different. They can do it all, they can have it all. They collect stamps, knick knacks, old cars, and some, I imagine, even collect traffic tickets. But folks who live in Christian faith do it all a bit different. There seems to be real purpose to how they start their day. Words like “redemption” and “salvation” don’t make them uncomfortable. If anything, it gives them a sense of peace, a sense of joy. And speaking of joy – these people of faith take joy in the weirdest things: things like food banks and soup kitchens. They’re always snooping around trying to find folks who are maybe down on their luck and need a little help. People can’t afford to buy school supplies – we can help with that. Women and children get neglected and abused – let’s see what we can do. Hurricanes, floods, fires, the ravages of war – you get the idea. But I have to tell you, there are times when these acts of kindness and charity aren’t always done with a cheerful heart. There are times when it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the trouble; that there’s much better ways to spend our time and resources than by helping out folks who don’t deserve it and probably won’t appreciate it anyway. Yes, that’s going to happen.
But that’s the curious thing about faith. People of faith might get bogged down with the enormity of this world, but it doesn’t stop them because they understand. They understand that once Christ is in your heart there is no such thing as sacrifice. They have learned the meaning of unconditional love, the meaning of service, and the value of obedience to Christ. People of faith have learned that when they follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ things happen: understanding happens, justice happens, miracles happen.
It was a pastor named Boyd Evans that said, “Christianity was never about individual salvation. It is well past time for us to get over that notion. If you don’t believe that your salvation is bound up with your neighbor’s, you have entirely missed Jesus’ message.” That’s a curious thing to say, don’t you think? Where did he come up with such an idea? Well, you’re right, it came from the teachings of Christ. The wedding feast was on its 3rd day and Mary, mother of Jesus, mentioned that the wine was running out. Jesus snapped at her saying, “Why do you involve me? My time has not come.” But she knew. She knew not to question, she knew not to judge. And to the servants standing around wondering what to do next, she said, “Whatever he tells you, do it.” And the result was abundance where there had been scarcity. “Whatever he tells you, do it,” and the best was saved for last.
I don’t like being told what to do. Yes, I said that, but there is one exception and that is the word of Jesus Christ. Whatever he tells me, I do it. My faith informs me, my faith guides me to walk the path he lays before me. And I do it – I do it all – gladly and willingly for I know that he is saving the best for last.
Amen & Shalom