I know not everybody grew up on a farm so I will give you a quick lesson on farming. When you eat an apple, that apple was not born at the local grocery store. It was grown on a tree. That tree didn’t just show up either. That tree grew from a seed. An apple seed to be more precise. It took years and years for it to go from a seed to a sapling, to a full grown tree. If I gave an apple to you and you ate it down to its core and you gave me the seeds and I planted them and something started growing from that seed, you would not come up to me and say, your grapefruit tree is growing. Right? Why not? Because there is a law of nature. You don’t plant a peach pit and get strawberries. There is a consistency between what is planted, what is grown and what is harvested. An apple seed will grow an apple tree from which you will be able to harvest apples from.
I grew up on the farm that my great-grandfather farmed. The white barn on the property is over hundred years old and is still a working barn. I remember as a boy walking into the tack room and seeing pictures of his teams of draft horses placed among the actual yokes and harnesses that those horses were hitched up to plow and pull the farm equipment to take care of his 80-acre farm.
I grew up on a farm and one of the things I hated the most was during the summer was when my mom would make a list of chores for me to finish before I could do anything else. The thing that I wanted to do more than anything else was to go fishing but I knew I had to do chores first. Of all the chores that my mom could write down, the worst ones were cleaning. This wasn’t vacuuming or dusting, no it was cleaning up after animals. You see we had a fair number of chickens and horses and they would spend their nights in the coop or stall and they would make their mess inside. Someone, usually me, had to keep these buildings clean. It was a hot, dirty, smelly job. In the 1500’s, people would look at someone who did those kinds of jobs and think, only people who work in the church are really doing the work of God. Today I am going to talk briefly about an idea that Martin Luther brought forward during the reformation that was completely revolutionary for its time. It was the idea of calling. He insisted that the farmer shoveling manure and the maid milking her cow could please God as much as the minister preaching or praying.
Who do you think talks to you the most? Your teacher? Your parents? Your annoying brother or sister who won’t be quiet? I think the answer may surprise you. The person who talks to you the most is you. No one talks to yourself more than you do. It is helpful if you keep the conversation in your head and not talk to yourself out loud because people may think you’re a bit weird. God created you and me to try to make sense out of life. We are constantly trying to figure out what in the world is going on and we do that by talking to ourselves.
The year was 1695. It was midnight. There were no street lights or electricity. It was pitch black in the house. A ten-year-old boy is tiptoeing down the stairs with only a candle to light his way. He shields the light with his hand to keep the light from spilling all over and waking up the adults. He slowly opens the door to the study, knowing if he pushes too fast, the hinges will squeak and his adventure will be found out. He has a burning passion for music but he has been told that the music used for the church is too valuable to be used by children. He squeezes his arm through an opening in the lattice and he rolls up a piece of organ music and pulls it out. He spends the rest of the night copying the music on another piece of paper, all by candlelight. He cannot wait to play this music the next day.
Let me ask you this question, what sets apart someone who is in favor with God and on the way to enjoy the blessings of heaven and someone who is turning away from God and on the path of destruction? The answer is, what makes you happy. I mean deep down, what you really want to satisfy your heart desire.
Last week we talked about how every thought, every word, and every deed is moving us in a direction. We are going somewhere. In Psalm 1, David says you will be blessed if you don’t go the way of the ungodly, the sinner, and the scornful. It starts with going for a walk, standing, and eventually sitting. It never happens all at once.
It is interesting to me that Psalm 1 starts off negatively. David writes, “blessed is the man who walks not”. You would think that a book that says a lot about praise and worship would start with a “Hallelujah” but if you remember, the first word is blessed. There are amazing blessings in Christ but the first blessing is something you should not do. If you don’t do this, you will be blessed. What is it? Listen to verse 1 again
I am going to let you all in on a parenting secret. The night before Christmas or a big birthday is not always all joy and happiness. It can be extremely stressful. In fact, the weeks leading up to a big celebration are very tense. For example, trying to get the perfect Christmas gift has meant fighting large crowds and driving all over the place to go to the right store that has the right gift. Or it has meant spending hours and hours on the internet searching for something that you end up overpaying for shipping and handling to make sure it gets here on time. When that big day arrives, we as parents are all thinking, it will be worth it to see the smile on our child’s face and as they throw themselves at our feet and wrap their arms around our knees and gush forth in humble gratitude. However, especially when a child is young, they open the gift and…meh. We rush down there and show them how it works and all the noises and buttons. The child begins to play with it and we run around the room giving ourselves high fives. But when we look over again, they are eating the wrapping paper and playing with the box it came in while the toy is lying by itself on the floor.
If you were to ask people around here two weeks ago, what would you be doing on Labor Day? What would the answer be? Hanging out by the beach perhaps. Mow the grass. Grilling out. Lounging around. What if you would have asked people in Houston, Rockport or Port Aransas or any of those surrounding areas two weeks ago, and ask them what would they be doing on Labor Day? Then asked them today, what they actually did this last weekend, you would have had totally different answers. I think this shows how we all get really comfortable with our lives, and the day to day routine of going to school, coming home, and relaxing on the weekends. We are pretty happy with how things are going. Then all of a sudden, everything we know is threatened.