Sermon in a nutshell: “Burdens in the heart” (Acts 20: 17-38)
When I see all of you, I recognize your sacrifices and sincerity. You have faithfully raised your children and grandchildren. You have sincerely served our church. You have loved God and your neighbors. You have not complained while doing so much for the church and for our community. You have accumulated your rewards in heaven, actually.
Why have you done that? I believe that you experienced God’s love first and you wanted to share it with others. Paul, also, said he did what he did because he first experienced God’s love and he wanted to share it with others. I just assume that you have the same heart as Paul.
Paul said that he served the Lord with “humility and with tears, enduring all the trials.” I know that many of you have served the Lord with humility and with tears, enduring the trials of the Great Depression, World War II, and the waves of changes in society.
During the last 60 years, our church has sent many missionaries to our country and to many others. We have served many non-profit agencies in our communities. We have done all these things to proclaim that Jesus is the Lord and Savior. We will continue this till the end of our life!
Paul uses the expression, “a captive to the Spirit.” He was caught and driven by the Spirit when he did his mission and ministry work. I believe that you, also, have done all these wonderful ministries because you have been guided and nurtured by the Spirit. None of you has done mission and ministry work for profit or benefit. This is the noblest thing that you can do in your lives: Sharing God’s life with others.
Paul said that he would keep going to Jerusalem even though he knew that “in every city, imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for” him. He said, “But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.”
I know that you do the same as Paul. Some of our church members are going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some of us have back pain or Alzheimer’s. Whatever pains and suffering we endure, we are determined to worship God and to bring people to the Lord. Since we know that our life does not end here on earth, we want to share this eternal life in Jesus with our loved ones.
Paul said that he did not want compensation because he believed that it was more blessed to give than to receive. He cared more about giving to people than receiving from them. I recognize many people in our church who are like Paul. They support CROP, SHARE, Heifer, Bike-A-Thon, Winter Nights, the Homeless project, and many others. I know that our church members keep giving and giving without being concerned about what they might receive.
When I officiate at the many memorial services and funeral services at our church, I have the privilege to honor the lives and celebrate well-lived lives of our church members. I wish I could experience the same memories that our church members have. I believe that Jesus will welcome all of our departed church members with open arms.
In the Bible, people wept when they saw Paul getting on board the ship to Jerusalem. We also weep when we see our brothers and sisters getting on board for eternal life. However, Paul, himself, would not have regrets nor would he weep. He would get on the ship with joy and great expectations. He was full of hope and a sense of calling.
Brothers and sisters! That is what we want to do. Even though our bodies are getting weaker and we are getting older, we want to keep going. We want to keep serving. We want to give our last penny for the glory of God. Then we will exchange all of our worries and anxieties of this world with the joy and hope of God’s Kingdom.
- Who are the ones who will weep for you and cry with you when you prepare to depart?
- What would give you the power and strength for you to continue your mission and ministry?