The Good Work - Week Four: Move.
Today we are continuing our sermon series that will take us all the way to the season of Lent---a series entitled "The Good Work."
We hear a lot about spiritual disciplines in Christian circles—things like prayer, Bible study, and the like. But there are other disciplines—obvious ones that we tend to neglect. And when we learn to practice them well, they have the potential to change our world.
That's what have been focused on for the past several weeks---developing these behind the scenes, foundational disciplines that have to be in place for us to move forward into spiritual maturity.
If these disciplines aren't in place--it's difficult to develop others.
So we're going to be talking about what it means to develop the spiritual disciplines of service, discernment, speech and movement---all of which are foundations for a full and vibrant spiritual life.
Today we're going to be talking about developing the discipline of movement.
Pintrest vs. Reality
What does this tell us about our expectations? The fact that this is a known and recognized meme tells us a great deal. You can't make it look like Pintrest. You're not good enough.
Where else do we see this happening in our lives? At work? In relationships? In our faith?
When you begin to believe that you'll never live up to your expectations, what do you do? You stop moving. You stop believing.
I read a poem not too long ago and I wrote it down on the little white board by my desk. It read: "Buried alive under my own expectations." - r.h.sin
When the expectations within us and without us are seemingly unattainable so many of us just give up trying, and we plop down on the couch determined to stay there.
And this is where the spiritual discipline of movement comes into play.
If you say that you are a follower of Jesus what does that imply?
Do followers remain on the couch while Jesus journeys on? Right? How can you be a follower if you don't get off the couch?
And this brings me to our big idea for today's sermon--the one thing that I want to you remember even if you forget everything else I say:
You can't get where you need to go, if you stay where you are.
Our conversation partner for today comes to us from Matthew's Gospel. Matthew was a disciple of Jesus--a guy who was actually a tax collector, who collected taxes from fishermen. So you can imagine how hard it was for him to be accepted by the rest of the disciples who were almost all fishermen.
Say more about his calling/conversion.
In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus is finishing up the Sermon on the Mount with a pretty pointed exhortation.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Verbs are in active voice, present tense, imperative - broadband present, continuous present---which means "keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking..."
There's also a call back here to the exhortations to seek wisdom from the Hebrew Scriptures----exhortations to chase after Wisdom, call out to Wisdom in the streets, get Wisdom by any means necessary...
So what is all this about? What is Jesus trying to say? Is this all about effort? If you just work hard enough, you'll figure things out? If you give enough effort you will find the way to heaven?
Not exactly. There is some effort that is required, but it's not what you might think.
Here's what Jesus is trying to convey to his followers:
When you are willing to move to where God is at work around you--you will find all that you are looking for, and then some.
So how do we make this a reality in our own lives? How do we become the kinds of people who are not afraid to move when we are led by God to move? How do we let go of the weight of our own expectations and the expectations of others.
Ask - Questions are not things to be feared---they are the first steps.
Story about the church member who was angry because I led people to doubt.
Seek - There's nothing wrong with searching--Jesus encouraged it.
Story of young atheist who came to "witness" to me.
Knock - We have to grow bold in our prayer life--open up the communication lines more fully.
Story of guy who opened prayers with "What's up?" and ended them with "later." And the way the self-righteous guy questioned his spiritual maturity.
We have to let go of our expectations... We have to let go of the expectations of others. We have to be willing to move...
You can't get where you need to go if you stay where you are.