[Sermon I gave on Sunday]
Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord. These opening lines to the song “Trading My Sorrows” by Darrell Evans greeted me the other morning as I woke up. It was one of those times you wake up nine minutes before your alarm goes off and wish you could go back to sleep but you might as well get up because chances are it will take five minutes to fall asleep again, only to be jarred awake four minutes later. Maybe it had something to do with those lyrics. Odd that it would be that song – it was my “wake up call” from God. The remainder of the chorus goes something like this:
Chorus:And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes LordYes Lord yes Lord yes yes LordYes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen
Three simple words, “Yes Lord Amen.” I know when I ask Grace to pick up her room or do some other task, I get a “Yeeesssss, Mommmm.” But when I ask her if she wants to go to Adventureland, I get a “Yes, Mom, Yes, Mom, Yes, Yes Mom!” When God asks us to go through a trial or to give up something that’s worldly, we usually say, “Yeeeessss Loooorrrd.” When we are richly blessed and things are going really well for us, we say “Yes Lord!”
The Book of Ephesians should be subtitled, “Life’s Little Instruction Book.” Specifically in Chapter 4, Paul gives us some pretty clear instructions and inspiration on how we are to live:
Ephesians 4: 1. . .Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
7… to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Although Ephesians Chapter 4 is pretty explicit, Isaiah 6:8 summarizes it quite well: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah didn’t hesitate on his answer. He didn’t say, “um, where am I going, will I be fed & clothed, and cared for? What is my reward again?” He simply said “Yes Lord Amen!”
This past year has been a trying one for our family. Not just our immediate family, but also with our church family. The Big D’s: death, disease, depression, divorce, disagreements, dysfunction, and desperation. I don’t say this to bring you down, but to remind all of us of the need for and God’s command for us to “bear with one another in love.” As Pastor Sung pointed out last week, the line in our bulletin that reads “Ministers of the Gospel” includes “all members of the congregation.” When you invite the spirit of the Lord into your heart, you become a minister, a missionary with a harvest that is ripe with promise. To bear with one another in love doesn’t mean to solve each others problems, it means to listen to each other, to walk together along the sunlit mountain tops as well as the dark valleys, and to hold each other accountable.
This passage not only says to bear with one another in love, but also to, “speak the truth in love, and in all things we will grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” We could all use some wisdom in learning to “speak the truth in love.” I mentioned several of the “Big D’s” but the past year has also brought about some discontent among us - - I won’t pretend that there aren’t certain things that I would like to see enhanced and improved . . . changed, if you will. And we’ve had vision conferences and many conversations about how to accomplish those things. But I also respect the doctrine of the church as well as the long-standing traditions and values of other members of the congregation. I may not walk the same walk you do, I may not see things the same way you do, but I firmly believe there is a win-win to be found for all of us as Paul says, “4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Contrary to what math teachers may tell you, there’s power in one - - individually and collectively.
As individuals, we all have specific spiritual needs, a hunger to know God in an intimate and meaningful relationship. Some of us are fed by Pastor Park and his teachings and perspective. Some of us are fed through fellowship with each other. Others are fed by feeding others through missions and outreach opportunities. There are so many ways we grow, individually and collectively. 16From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. As some of you know, I’m taking an anatomy class and I’m amazed how each part of our body works for the collective good. Same with a car engine. So, too, should our efforts in this congregation.
God calls each one of us -- not in the same way, not to the same thing -- but He does call. 11It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Are we unified in all that we do in this church? It’s okay to say no, to speak the truth in love. A body cannot function fully without a heart and brains and nerves. A car cannot function fully without a carburetor and spark plugs and gasoline. How can we expect to function fully as a church if we don’t have communication and dedication and innovation?
We’ve all been called to carry out a specific task for God’s kingdom. Sometimes that call is a still, small voice deep down in our heart. Other times, it is a “wake up call” that screams, “Yes Lord Yes Lord Yes Yes Lord!”
When you hear or are reminded He is calling will you, can you say with me, “Yes Lord Amen?” Will you cry out to Him "Here am I. Send me!"? The harvest is ready and the laborers are few. God is calling each of us today to some task big or small to be done in His name. I’m still not sure what God’s question or call to me was the other morning, but I know the answer will be “Yes Lord Amen.” By answering His call, we will know the joy of walking with God in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord of love and life, you call each one of us each day to tasks for you. Speak so we may understand your will. Bless our faltering efforts when we strive for obedience and yet are afraid. For we will say, "Yes Lord, I will go. I will hold your people in my heart, if you will lead me and hold my hand in yours." In Jesus' name. Amen