The Journey -sermon
Once there was a man, a woman, and a child. They were husband wife and daughter. They were not poor but they were not rich either. They were the Averages. One day they decided to go on a holiday, they figured that a nice trip would be a good way to spend some quality time together. So the next day they packed up and left. Their average little car was packed full. You see Mrs. Average always took everything she thought she might need, and seldom took that which she really needed. Mr. Average backed the car up and hit the curb puncturing his tire (You see, he couldn’t see with all the luggage in the way). He got out of the car saying a few choice words rather loudly (Words that we ourselves have never used) but fortunately for Mrs. Average a big green 18 wheeler happened to speed on buy drowning out Mr. Average’s words. Mr. Average then proceeded to empty the trunk to get to the spare tire, changed the tire and reloaded the trunk. Finally, an hour later, the Averages were on their way.
Mr. Average, now an hour behind his schedule decided to make up for lost time. He pushed gently down on his accelerator and had his little average car going about 85 miles per hour. Mrs. Average however, said nothing as she didn’t want to get Mr. Average mad at her again because lets face it. It was her fault they were running so late. But not to worry, all of sudden Mr. Average had hit his brakes and had to slow down to a crawl. You see there was an accident up ahead and all the traffic was merging to get around it. Finally, about half and hour later they got past the accident. And the Averages like many other people took some time to offer to people in the crash their heartfelt gawking. All of a sudden a small voice cried out! From the mounds of luggage in the backseat you heard “Hey! Mom! Isn’t that the same big green 18-wheeler that went speeding by our house just after dad ran over the curb and got a flat tire?” “Why, yes, Miss Average it is”(They’re a very formal family by the way). Seeing the accident Mr. Average decided to slow down to the speed limit.
While they were driving along they decided that they would go to the beach for a week. Well around suppertime they got there and started looking for a place to stay. All the hotels were booked. For some reason a lot of people went to the beach in the beginning of September. So discouraged, they stopped at a restaurant to eat and oh what a meal the Averages had-Steak, potatoes, mixed veggies and for dessert they each had a piece of triple layered chocolate cake, oh it was so good. The waiter brought the bill it was nearly $60.00! Well, Mr. Average always carried all the money, so he reached in his back pocket for his wallet. It wasn’t there! He didn’t know what to do. He begged and pleaded with the manager, trying to work out something. Finally, after begging and pleading for what seemed like hours, Mrs. Average thought about something in her pocketbook-a coupon for half off at this very same restaurant. The bill was now $30.00! Mrs. Average seemed to have redeemed herself from this morning. Well the manager took the coupon and looked it over. “Wait a minute” he said, “do you see this code at the bottom of the coupon? Well this code means that instead of paying half your entire meal is free! Congratulations, your debt has been paid in full!”
Well needless to say, Mr. Average was a nervous wreck. Speaking for his family he decided that they would just have to go home. With all the bad things happening so far why tempt fate. So home they went. And you know they had no problems whatsoever, as a matter of fact they seemed to glide into their driveway on fumes because their tank read E for over an hour. Mr. Average got out of the car and looked down to see his wallet sitting their unspoiled well at least that was still in tact. It must have fallen out when he changed the tire. So they dug out their daughter from the mounds of luggage and went in and went to sleep. They thought that they would just head out again tomorrow. When they awoke the next day they heard on the radio that just hours before a hurricane had hit the coastline and completely destroyed the beach where they had wanted to stay. Thank God they couldn’t get a room. Yes, truly, thank God.
You see our lives are much like the journey that the Averages take. Because we rush around at the last minute, uninformed and unprepared. We seem to go through life with too much baggage. It is written in Matthew 6:19- Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. You see all that extra baggage piles up blocking out the view of where we are going. If it weren’t for all that baggage then Mr. Average would have been able to see where he was going. How often in life do we take all our possessions with us and truly can’t see where we are going? They create a major blind spot so that we cannot see. And in taking all these possessions did you notice that the child Miss Average was buried and forgotten? Not only do our possessions make us blind but also they make us forgetful of those who are supposed to be important in our lives.
Throughout this story you see the invisible hand of God placed on this family. He protects them and tries to keep them home. But mankind is stubborn and many times our free will makes us go against what God has planned in our lives. When God works in our lives he can choose to do something big or he can choose to do many little somethings, which by themselves may seem meaningless, but when combined over time show us his greatness. You see God didn’t want the Averages to go to the beach. First the Averages get a flat tire saving them from getting hit by the big green 18-wheeler. Next as the Averages travel down the road trying to make up for lost time they are delayed in an accident on the highway that happens to have the same truck that almost hit them before. The Averages finally get to the beach late only to discover that there are no rooms available. They eat only to discover that they have no money. So discouraged they go home without enough gas but by the grace of God they make it home. You see God didn’t want them to go because He knew the hurricane was coming so he put obstacles in their way to persuade them to go back home. Each event by itself wouldn’t be enough to make someone turn around but together they make for a powerful view of God’s hand in their lives. But, you might say, why would God put them through all that. And in reply I would have to say that the Averages never asked God what his will was. They never prayed about this vacation. And prayer is the fuel that fills our tank with the energy to go forward. If the Averages had lived a life of prayer then they would have known God’s will. They would have known not to go to the beach that week. There is a saying, I’m not sure of its origin, but it goes like this--”Let go and let God”, well I have added to it -Let go and let God, Get God and get going. You see without God in your life you’re going nowhere. And in order to put God in your life you need to accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for our sins. You see we live our lives much like the Averages do. We rack up the bills without ever checking to see if we have enough to pay our debts. Finally, as we dine on the niceties of life we discover that our wallets are empty. And as we sit in the restaurant begging for relief or forgiveness we realize that nothing we say or do can change that debt. You still have to pay that bill. But fortunately, those who know Jesus know that there is a way out of the debt. Mrs. Average presents a coupon for half off. Jesus is our coupon. Some of us, like Mrs. Average, carry him around with us, but forget that he is there. But if we read and pay closer attention to our coupon, then we can redeem it so that all of our debt is paid. The coupon is there; we just need to use it. When we use a coupon we save. Jesus as a coupon saves us from the debt of our sins. Without the redemption of the coupon we cannot save. Without putting Jesus in our lives we cannot be saved. I’ve cashed in my coupon how about you?
In 1 John 2:15 it is written: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Paragraph 2 Need for Speed-Slow me Down
In Isaiah chapter40 it is written. “Have you not known, have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, the shall walk and not faint.”
For when we slow down and rest in his name then what is important in our lives will change. The need to be busy will end and the peace of God Almighty will rest upon us.