Do we radiate or drain love?
Sermon by Rev Brian McConkey
A letter went out recently inviting people to all souls service and all saints service.
But what is the difference?
This makes us ask the question; what is a saint?
A definition tells us that a saint is a person who is virtuous and who does good. It is easy to say that someone is a saint when things are going well, but the real test is when things are not going well. Could we be a saint in suffering and in bad times. There is much suffering in the world today and there are many saints out there who are shining in the hard times, these are the real saints.
It was a difficult reading today from Matthew;
Matthew 24:1-14New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
24 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
There is a fascinating line within this passage; 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Today we see many couples splitting up, their love growing cold. We need to keep our love warm. How do we do this.
By surrounding ourselves with people who radiate love.
Russell Hearty once said “there are two types of people, those that are radiators, and those that are drains”
Meaning there are people whose love pours out of them to others and there are those who seem to drain away your love.
In this passage Matt 24:12 Jesus talks about the love of God growing cold, and we see this today. But there are many saints that we see in our daily lives whose love radiates warmth and their love of God continues.
The second half talks about those that will endure to the end. It is finishing the race that is important.
Last year a training event was entitled “Resilience training”! Why should we need a course about resilience? It was a sad thing that many on that course were there because they felt drained. But what drains at them?
Do Clergy have a tough job? - Here is an article that highlights the problems.
Pastor's have a tough job.
They get more kicks than kisses.
If a pastor is young he lacks experience.
If he's grey-haired he's too old.
If has has five kids he has too many.
If he has none he's setting a bad example.
If his wife sings in the choir she's being forward;
if not she's not dedicated enough.
If he preaches from notes he's dry;
if he's extemporaneous he's too shallow.
If he spends too much time in his study he's neglecting his people;
if he makes home visits he's not a good manager.
If he's attentive to the poor he's grandstanding;
if he attends to the wealthy he's ingratiating.
If he suggests improves he's a dictator;
if he doesn't he has no vision.
If he uses too many illustrations he neglects the Bible;
if he doesn't use enough stories, he's unclear.
If he speaks against wrong he's legalistic;
if he doesn't he's a compromiser.
If he preaches for an hour he's windy; less than that, he has nothing to say.
If he preaches truth he's offensive; if he doesn't he's wishy-washy.
If he fails to please everybody he's hurting the church;
if he tries to please everybody he has no convictions.
If he preaches tithing he's a money-grabber;
if not, he's failing to develop his people.
If he receives a large salary he's mercenary;
if he doesn't it proves he's not worth much.
If he preaches on a regular basis, people get tired of hearing the same person;
If he invites guest preachers he's shirking his responsibility.
Wow! And you thought your pastor had an easy life. How'd you like to changes places? Bottom line: love your pastor.
Resilience is shown in the challenges. The real saints of this world are warm hearted people who endure to the end, keep loving, keep going, warm heart resilience. The real saints do all these things and are unseen in their community.
A prayer by John Birch
A Prayer for All saints day
Thank you for the invisible people,
who live their Christian lives,
in quiet and unassuming ways,
who have a heart for people,
care for the needy,
befriend the lonely,
have time to listen,
and time to pray.
Thank you for the invisible people,
without whom your kingdom
would be incomplete.
From “the Act of Prayer” by John Birch