Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Scripture Lesson, Colossians 1: 9-12 (Working in His Orchard). 9-12Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. The Message Bible Translation
I hope I don’t offend anyone, but the truth is, the Dallas Cowboys have one of the worst records of all time. When they lost a few weeks ago, the commentators predicted that the coach would be fired. The next day, he was gone. An interim coach was hired, and at their next game, the Cowboys trampled their opponent. When the commentators asked the interim coach what he had said to the team, he said: “I told them to be great in practice every day, and then they would be great in the game on Sunday.”
In the scripture, there was a great deal of heresy among the Colossians. It was a small church in an insignificant town. Paul writes the church a letter to expose the false notions over doctrine within the church. He writes, asking that the Church in Colossae be filled with divine knowledge, praying that they will live and walk consistent with Christ. In verse 9 Paul writes: “Rest assured, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you a thorough understanding of the word. Live well for the Master, making him proud of you; eliminate all these distractions and destructions that are preventing you from focusing on him.” Similarly, the Dallas Cowboys coach said the same thing to the team: “You’ve lost your focus and direction, but if you come to practice every day, if you refocus, if you take your eyes off your destructions and distractions, you will do great in the game on Sunday!”
What does it take to be great – not just on Sunday – but every day? You might be down and out in this present moment. You might not have a clue as to God’s plan for you. But every day you open your eyes, you can choose to LIVE GREAT THAT DAY. Don’t worry about tomorrow, or next year, but live great today. The suggestion of the text is the ability of Christians to overcome what stands in the way of living great every day; we can’t do it by our own human skills, talents and abilities. There are brothers and sisters here this morning who are witnesses that, were it not for God at work in our lives, we would have been a total mess. But his glorious power at work in us enables us to live great lives every day, despite obstacles and setbacks.
1. Live great lives by working hard – not for yourself – but for the glory of God – every day. As we learn more about how great God is, we are inspired to work hard for Him. We learn that we are not on “our own”; we are working to please God. When we understand this, it inspires us to WORK HARDER. Reflecting on yesterday inspires us for tomorrow. Verse 10: “We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard.” When you do it for the Lord, the Lord will open doors for you!
2. When God is the source of the strength of your life, you’ll have the strength to endure. When you understand that you are working for God, it instills endurance and the will to stick it out. Verses 11 and 12 say: “We pray that you will have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth, but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”
Some years ago, my son was a Cub Scout; he entered a race and as he ran, I followed behind in the car. Many other Scouts quit before the race was over, but my son stuck it out and crossed the finish line. When I spoke with him after the race, he said: “Daddy, I didn’t quit because I knew that quitting was not an option for you, so it was not an option for me.” The source of his strength was a PROUD FATHER seeing him getting to the finish line, no matter how long it took. With God as the source of the strength in your life, run your race every day, as hard as you can!
3. When you run into a stumbling block, don’t stick out your lip; grin and bear it and try another way until God shows you the right way. When life does you dirty, get up in the morning, put on your best, and walk out with a smile, thankful for the moment. Brothers and Sisters, when you can’t find anything to smile about, don’t grit your teeth and stick out your lip in frustration. Your worst enemy is when all you can do is think about how bad it’s going to be when you get on your job; how much money you need to pay your bills. I don’t care how down you feel, get up, fix yourself up, comb your hair, put a smile on your face and walk out that door. You may have lost your job, you may not be able to do what you used to do, but “it is well.” Tell the Lord: “I’m gonna live for you and hang in there every day, until my change comes.”
- Sermon Notes: Living a Marked Life
- Sermon Notes: Living Above Transition and Change
- Sermon Notes: When God Goes to Work in a Life
- Sermon Notes: Hope for Weeping Eyes
- Sermon Notes: Shameless Persistence
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton