Sermon: “What Is Set Before Us?”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from August 14, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
I had a seminary professor that said the interesting thing about Paul's epistle to the Hebrews is that it's not written by Paul, it's not an epistle and it wasn't written to the Hebrews.
Scholars still can't agree when, and to whom this book and the Bible were written. But what it is, is a very good outline of what it means to live out faith as a follower of Christ. And so, we have to take it in that respect. And in this chapter today, these verses the writer is talking about how people throughout history have lived lives of faith, not knowing really what was in the future for them.
And that is so much where we are. We are called to live out lives of faith without knowing what the future holds. We've never known what the future holds in spite of all the prognosticators and the tabloid magazines on the checkout counter around the end of the year, that tell us what Nostradamus said was going to happen or the Mayan calendar or whatever it was.
But we don't know what the future holds. All we have is this promise that we've received from God through Christ. And so, we are really trying to live out our lives in such a way that we're hoping to see that promise come to fruition. The prophets did it. Moses did it, the people following Moses, you know, in spite of all the cartoons of Moses wandering in the desert with the people following and, you know, uh, his wife is over knocking on a door and asking for directions. Or some other, such variety of that cartoon. Yeah, we could just see, I think the most recent cartoon I saw was Moses walking through the desert with everybody trailing behind him and all their cell phones keeps saying recalculating, recalculating.
Anybody that's ever used a GPS can understand that. So, in any case, Moses was doing what God asked him to do. And when we look at Moses, one of the things that is interesting about this is that God told him that he was going to lead his people to the promised land, out of captivity in Egypt. It in spite of all their complaining, in spite of all the things where they tried to go back and yes, the people tried to go back to the way it was if you remember.
And so, there was always that struggle and Moses had to lead them through that. And then, in the long run, Moses didn't even get to go into the promised land.
Ah, somebody else had to complete it. Somebody else had to complete it. And that too is the reality for the way our lives work. You know, we work hard, we try to do what we can do to do what God is calling us to do. And sometimes we don't get to see the fruits of that. You know, we might work really hard to bring up a youth to be the best that they can be, and we may not get to see the fruits of that labor.
We might work for all kinds of things, and we aren't the ones that get to see the results. You know, I know this congregation has several people that have either been elementary school teachers or well, public school teachers or teach Sunday school or whatever. And you work hard to teach and to share your knowledge of faith or the knowledge that is required in their education.
And you don't get to see how that turns out 18, 20 years, 30 years down the road, and it just doesn't seem fair. It just doesn't seem fair. You don't get to see it. On the rare occasion, one of those students might come back and say something that let you know you made a difference in their life. But unfortunately, that's a rare occasion.
If we take that as our faith and we are trying to live out our faith day in and day out so we can make a difference to our neighbors in the world. How often do you think they're going to come back and thank you for it?
It's going to be a rare occasion. It's going to be. Now, what you don't know is they may be doing something in other ways to show their gratitude. You know, it's like the things that have happened over the last few years where someone will get in the line at the drive at McDonald's or Starbucks or whatever, and pay for the person behind him who then turns around and pays for the person behind him, who then turns around and pays for the person behind him.
You don't get to see the reward of what you did for someone else, but the person behind them does.
And, you know, that's kind of the way we are called to be with our faith too. We are called to make disciples, not with the idea that we're going to be able to say, look, see, I made a disciple!
But we're called to make disciples with the idea that they are also going to make disciples and grow the faith. And under grow in understanding as they continue on throughout their lives.
We are about to lose a very important part of a skillset in this world. And it's basically because it's too easy to go to the grocery store.
Raise your hand if you know how to make a really good pie crust. Yeah. I hope you're teaching someone else if you do because a really good pie crust is a whole lot better than what you buy in the grocery store. And it's going to be a lost art in less than a generation.
And there are so many other things like that. We all have favorite family recipes, I’m sure. I mean, I know my mother's recipe card box is basically at our house and those recipes were her grandmother's. And we have a whole generation now that doesn't know what a pinch or a dash or a handful means.
we have this treasure of our faith that we are called to not only believe but to live out and to live out in such a way that we are affecting the future. And all of these people that the writer of Hebrews listed off, lived out their lives in faith, in such a way that it affected the future of many others. Every one of them.
So, if that's what we're supposed to be doing as people of faith, then it becomes a whole lot easier to think about what is set before us. Because instead of worrying about this end goal that is nebulous, and we'll never be able to reach it on our own. What is set before us becomes simply living out our faith, not worrying about the outcome, not worrying about the eventual reward, but simply living out our faith.
And that is something we are called to do day in and day out. And it doesn't really matter who is getting the credit. Matter of fact, there's only one that should be getting the credit and it's God. We should be giving God credit for everything we do.
We're back to NFL season, right? And I will guarantee you that within the first week of the NFL games if it hasn't happened in pre-season games, someone's going to score a touchdown and immediately go (points to the sky). I can guarantee it, at least once that will happen in the first week of football. Well, my question is, why aren't the rest of them doing the same thing, you know, because, in the same weekend, you're also going to get somebody that is going to score a touchdown and go (pounds chest), or some other such version. I'd rather see him all (points to the sky) and thank God because they wouldn't be able to run far enough to score a touchdown if it wasn't for the gifts, God has given them.
And we are called to run with all the gifts that God has given us. Running into the future, not worrying about the past. All of these folks that are listed up in Hebrew also had people that were telling them, let's just go back to the way it was. Moses certainly did. They all wanted to go back to Egypt where they didn't have to worry about where the water was coming out of the rock, or whether the manna was going to be there in the morning.
They wanted to go back to a life of slavery because they knew what the next day was going to be. It was just like today. It was just like today or just like yesterday and the day before. But that's not the life that God calls us to be, and to live. God calls us to live lives of faith, living into the promise of the future.
Let us all live into that promise. Amen.