Julie Schwab in an “Our Daily Bread devotional” said, “I worked at a fast-food restaurant for over two years in high school.
Some aspects of the job were difficult.
Customers verbalized their anger while I apologized for the unwanted slice of cheese on the sandwich I didn’t make.
Soon after I left, I applied for a computer job at my university.
The employers were more interested in my fast-food experience than my computer skills.
They wanted to know that I knew how to deal with people.
My experience in unpleasant circumstances prepared me for a better job!
In our Scripture passage today young David persevered through an experience we might well call unpleasant.
When Israel was challenged to send someone to fight Goliath, no one was brave enough to step up to the task.
No one but David.
King Saul was reluctant to send him to fight, but David explained that as a shepherd he had fought and killed a lion and a bear for the sake of the sheep (1 Sam.
Confidently he stated, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and . . . the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam 17:37).
God was using David’s past experiences to help the people of Israel in a desperate time.
Do you think that David when he was fighting the lion or the bear said to himself, “Well isn’t this a great experience to have a lion and a bear attack me.
I think I will tuck this away in my experience suitcase and pull it out sometime when I have to fight someone?
Of course not, but when we experience something, it becomes part of who we are.
God used David’s past experiences to benefit him and Israel when the the need arose.
3. Nothing in our lives is a waste - God uses everything in our lives to grow us.
Nothing in our lives is a waste - God uses everything in our lives to grow us.
Now you have to hear this - God never wastes a life.
People may waste their own lives, but if we have allowed Jesus to be part of our lives, he does a miracle.
Think of a quilt.
On the communion table today, I have laid two quilts.
One is sown together.
The other is still in pieces.
Those pieces seem like random stacks of cloth, but when cut, strategically placed and sown together a beautiful quilt emerges.
This is what God does with our life experiences.
A life experience - good or bad is never wasted by God.
He gives meaning and purpose to all of our lives.
This is what God did with Abraham’s life and he became the father of nations.
This is what Moses did and he lead God’s people into freedom.
This is what Ruth and Esther did and they were used to change the course of Israel’s history.
David did it and God used him to save his people and become one of the great kings of Israel.
This is what Peter and Paul and the other apostles did and hundreds of people learned to live life to the full.
Down through the centuries this is what faithful people have done.
They have given their life experiences, their life pieces to God and he has produced miracles in their lives.
None of them perfect people.
but they were willing to let God knit their life experiences together to grow them and use them to touch lives with God’s mercy, grace and love.
4. God does not want us to retire and use our age as an excuse to back away from being used by him.
God does not want us to retire and use our age as an excuse to back away from being used by him.
Now many here today do not want to hear this and many may tune this out as I say it.
God has not finished sowing your life quilt and using it to touch and change lives.
It is never finished until you come face to face with him after death and he welcomes you home.
if we truly believe what God has done for us by coming into human history as Jesus the Christ.
if we truly seek to understand his truth, live his way and be filled with the new life only he can give.
If we truly have given our lives to him.
Then he is constantly adding our “life experience pieces” into our life’s quilt.
What this means is that there is no such thing as faith retirement for the Christian.
You may retire from your job, you may retire from social service organizations, you may retire from church committees, you may retire from every other activity you can think of, but you never retire from God’s army.
You might say that our retirement benefits come when we enter into eternal life - they are literally out of this world.
I remember a 90 year old woman lying on her death bed.
I had the privilege of being at the bedside with the family.
We thought her death was imminent and they asked me to stay and give a final blessing to her.
This beautiful woman had professed her faith in Jesus in her teens and had allowed Jesus to use her life to bring others to him.
She had never stopped telling others about how he had shaped the events of her life in a beautiful life quilt.
I could name a few of our elderly people in our congregation who are still allowing him to work in them.
As I stepped forward to offer a blessing, this dear lady asked her family to come close to the bedside.
Once we were close by her she looked around at us and said in a faint voice, “Jesus has given me a great life.
There have been some rough part, but that’s when he carried me.
He has loved me all my life.
Listen to me carefully, you can have him in your life too, right now all you need to do is ask him into your life.
This would be my greatest joy to know you will be filled with his love.”
I gave her a final blessing and two days later she died.
Right to the end she continued to tell people about God’s mercy, grace and love.
You may be in your 50’s, 70’s, or 90’s, it doesn’t matter God still wants to sow your life experiences into you life quilt that will touch the lives of others.
5. Model for others how you have handled lives experiences to motivate them
Model for others how God has used your life experiences to motivate them to allow God to do the same in their lives.
Friends this is the battle plan of God’s army.
To our dying breath - tell people of God’s mercy, grace and love, invite them walk with him, share how God has sown you life experiences into a beautiful life quilt.
When I lived in Toronto I used to attend the Full Gospel Business Men’s Breakfasts.
At these breakfasts there would be speakers who would share how God had changed their lives and used their life experiences to help others.
Many of the speakers shared how they had lived and how Jesus had touched their lives and changed them.
They had lived horrendous lives, but had been lifted out of those lives by the touch of the hand of God.
They talked about being in street gangs, about being murderers, about being drug addicts.
And then they would tell about how God changed them.
But here is why I am telling you this.
They always mentioned that God used someone to help them out of their old live into a new one.
Jesus shows how this is done in his meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well.
God used him to reveal to her her past and the new life available to her.
She was changed and went and told others.
(John 4:1-38) This was the point of the speakers at these breakfasts, to show that God can change anybody, that God could take the horrendous pieces of someone’s life and sow them into a beautiful life quilt that can touch the lives of others.
I used to leave those breakfasts amazed what God had done in the lives of those people, but saying to myself, “I am not as bad as that.”
Until one day I realized that my life was not as horrendous as theirs, but it was no where close to the way God created it to be.
I am thankful that God brought a friend into my life that helped me to turn to God and God turned me around.
I stand here today as a Pastor because of people like him.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in his first letter to the Corinthians.
Listen to these verses of Scripture...
There are people who may want to write us off.
There are people who think that our lives have had no meaning.
There are people who may think that we have wasted our lives.
You may even think they are right.
But God doesn’t.
God says, “Let me take the pieces of your life that you may think are worthless and that others may think are worthless and let me sow them into a beautiful life quilt that will touch the lives of others with my mercy, grace and love.
Let me grow you into the beautiful person I created you to be so that others will see you and come to me.
Nothing in our lives is a waste - God uses everything in our lives to grow us in faith so that through us others will come to know his mercy, grace and love, and know that their life experiences are not a waste, but simply pieces that have not yet been sown together into a beautiful life quilt by the hand of God.