Ecclesiastes 1-4, Psalm 9
I had been dating Laurene (my wife) for around one year when I remembered calling her on the phone telling her that I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to apply to Pharmacy school. She thought that was a great idea. Then I told her that I had to wait another year because I was less than one second from breaking the school record for the 200 I.M. (individual medley) on my college swim team and I wanted to get my name on the wall. I remember the silence on the other end as Laurene figured out how to politely tell me how immature my idea was. As Pastor Lloyd often states about his wife, Karen, she does a great job of humbling him. I listened to my wife and began Pharmacy school. She was absolutely right, I never even returned to Brooklyn College. No one else really would care and after a couple of years if the record still stood, no one would even recognize my name. Consider: how many past presidents of the U.S. can you name? How many Senators, Congressman, or Supreme Court Justices? How many Academy Award winners? How many past MVP's of your favorite sport? Yet, how many clamor for recognition on both a small or large scale?
We read Solomon's words in Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, "That which has been is what will be, That which is done will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, "See this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after." Those of us who seek earthly accolades will never be satisfied. If we want to make it to God's Hall of Faith, God has a different path for us. After reading of famous names in Scripture like Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc., we get to Hebrews 11:35-40, "...Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us."
We live in a complacent society and often find ourselves clamoring for earthly goals and recognition: the promotion, the title, etc. It was not long ago that we witnessed the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. All they had to do to avoid being killed was renounce their faith. They affirmed their faith in Jesus and suffered the earthly consequences. How many of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are going through similar trials and tribulations. These are the ones making it into God's Hall of Faith. This doesn't mean you have to be tortured or savagely killed to receive recognition, but we must all seriously ask ourselves whose recognition we seek. Do we strive to be recognized by others or by God? Do we boldly proclaim His name despite the consequences or do we play it safe, sort of middle of the road? Wherever we are we know the truth of eternity. We know that those who don't choose Jesus, are not staying neutral but are choosing against Him. We have been given the tools and the opportunities to help others out of their current situation. Are we going to remain safe and quiet, or are we going to step out in faith and accept the consequences?
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: