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Mulligan  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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How many of us have heard this term?
I first heard this term with my father when we would go put put. Usually this was due to a wild eyed kid with a boom stick and ball. With a shot that required finesse bounced around the course like it was shot out of a cannon we would cry out mulligan. We would gleefully chase after our ball go back to the tee and start again.
Although it’s origin is widely unknown it’s meaning simply means to redo without penalty.
We expect that this is how God should work. When we mess up we should get a mulligan; but the truth is God rarely does the same thing the same way.
We see this with Moses:
Exodus 34:1–5 ESV
The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
Exodus 34
Imagine this for a second if you will. You just dropped the tablets. You walk back up the mountain to stand before God. Most Christians expect God to just give them another set of tablets.
We pray. Lord, I jacked up that one, MULLIGAN! I missed that opportunity because I was to fearful to take the step MULLIGAN! I squandered my blessing Lord bless me again.
I have had the pleasure of watching God strip people of their addictions, of their anger, of their financial issues. have seen God cure with a sweep of his hand. It’s beautiful and awe-inspiring. It puts the power of God into real perspective.
It parallel’s the joy I see in my kids eyes when they open a gift and it’s contents contain something they have been wanting for months. Immediately they jump in your arms declare you’re their bestest person ever. They love you, they love life, they love everything. Fully of joy they run off and play. Three hours later the emerge with tears in their eyes. My wife being an awesome mom comforts their tears and finds out why they are crying—the broke their new toy. They used it in a way that wasn’t what the toy was made for and it’s in pieces. Typically in my house these are the next words: Now you have to buy me a new one. My being the big mean monster states it’s gone. If you want another one I have ways you can earn the money to buy you a new one.
Moses is at this place. Daddy I need a new one. In my righteous anger I dropped the tablets and they shattered.
Let me draw your attention to Exodus 34:1
Cut for yourself…
But God you cut the first ones. They were do pretty. God you can do it, you did it the first time. God my debt was canceled. Remember I was out of money and BAM a check was in my mailbox. You remember—do that again. Remember when you healed all my pain from the poor life decisions I made. I screwed up again, just make it go away.
As I was researching this sermon I came across TD Jakes—he called this sweat equity. He told a story about a conversation he had with someone in the habitat for humanity project. The question came up why do those who get their houses remodeled have to participate in the remodel? The project manager stated that people appreciate things more when they are invested into it. Since the people we work with usually don’t have the funds to be financially vested in it— so they poor sweat equity into it. They found that when people help to build their homes they are more likely to take care of the home after it’s rebuilt. Often times human’s fail to see the value in something when it’s just given to them.
So God tells Moses YOU CUT THE STONES—I’ll write on them. Notice he didn’t ask Moses-are you a skilled mason? Do you enjoy cutting stones? He doesn’t promise that he wouldn’t need more than two stones incase he cracked one.
He states cut the stones---BTW make it look exactly like the first ones. In other-words—sweat it out. This isn’t work for a few hours. It’s I’ll come back in the morning.
It’s not going to easy because when it was easy your broke it. When Moses and God was done Moses didn’t drop these tablets. He held onto them all the way down the hill. What didn’t last until the foot of the mountain survived 40 years wondering the desert. Why? Because Moses was vested.
The world is full of quick and easy. Everyone wants things now. Microwave food. next day shipping. Botox. Liposuction. We want to lose wieght without exercise. We want to be rich without risk. We want a marriage without fighting to keep it alive. We want out of our problems, but we don’t want to give up the habits that got us into that issue.
Understand Christianity is a process.
When you leave your slavery you will bring some slave habits along in your free life.
I have talked to inmates who experienced freedom. It’s not uncommon for those inmates to wake up at the same time they did in jail, eat at the same time, make their beds the same way. Ask permission to use the bathroom.
It take time to get out of old habits and formulate new ones— it takes sweat equity.
When you work to be filled with joy you’re more likely not to let Satan steal your joy. When you work for freedom you’re less likely to allow any demon to take it from you.
So God said: I’ll do the writing but you do the carving.
Your break through, your blessing, your healing isn’t about doing it alone, but God just may be waiting for you to start.
Matthew 13:44 ESV
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
This parable is about the gloriousness of heaven. It simulates a man who wasn’t looking for anything, but during his travels found something (salvation) worth taking.
The world tells us to take the hidden treasure; despite it being on someone else’s property, but again we see the sweat needed. He covers this treasure up. Sells everything he has and then buys that field.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to sell something, but it usually takes time to sell things. For this man it probably wasn’t an overnight venture. This tells us several things
he had to stay motivated.
I have seen many new Christians give up because the path isn’t easy.
I have seen many mature Christians give up on blessings because it cost took much to take hold of.
Edison had 1,000 failed attempts at creating the light bulb.
He is quoted saying: I didn’t fail 1,000 times the light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.
You may have tried 1,000 times to break the chains of sin, but just because your brow is wet and your short of breath doesn’t mean you failed. It means your success has yet to come.
The hidden gem in this verse is this:
2. The things you sweat for in the world are the things you will sweat to get rid of in the Lord.
The world has us working hard for money, friends, significance—anything that can utilize your time and chain you up in sin.
Satan will keep your eyes on the cost instead of your focus on the reward.
Chances are he had to peddle his stuff. If you go through anyone’s belongings there will be things you sell easily and things that are hard. Somethings in your life will take work. Some road blocks in the path to your calling take longer to clear out.
While work isn’t your savior it tills the field allowing Jesus to plant the harvest. It makes ready the soil for the seed of God’s word.
I believe there is a reason Jesus isn’t our scape goat, but rather our sacrificial lamb.
Jesus, born of a virgin was given by God and carried by women.
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