Of all the people in the congregation Sunday, participating in a worship service that centered on commitment and gratitude, the one person who publicly responded is very likely the last one that any of us would feel needed to respond: Brother Richard Kelly.
Richard came forward asking for the church to pray for him, saying that he feels like he’s just not doing enough for the Lord, and that he should be doing more than he is. Though not sure how it could happen with his health the way it is, he felt that his commitment was lacking and he wanted to do more. With tears in his eyes, Dick said, “I need to bring someone to the Lord.”
You probably felt the same way I did when we realized this was his purpose in coming. “It should be me confessing these things, not brother Kelly.”
I appreciated our shepherd Glen Cannon’s prayer, as he so beautifully asked for forgiveness and strength to be given to Richard, but also confessed for all of us that we could be saying the exact same things. And perhaps should have. It’s a difficult line to walk, feeling secure with our lives—as imperfect as they are—because of the love and grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, while at the same time requiring of ourselves the high standard of pleasing God in all our thoughts and in all our actions. Which brings me back to Richard Kelly.
He is at the time in life when many of us feel like our work is done, that God has blessed us and worked through us and on us and now it’s time to relax and let others do His work and accomplish His will. And that’s not a feeling that is limited to our older, retired members.
At every stage and situation of our lives we are expected to love and serve God, and to love and serve others. Yet at every stage we can find excuses to offer as to why we’re not doing what we know in our hearts we should be doing.
- I’m not old enough.
- I’m too old.
- My kids demand too much of my time right now.
- I’m not skilled enough.
- My job requires so much of me.
- I need to let some others have a turn.
- Other people can do it so much better than I could.
- I’m too involved in other things.
- My kids are too involved in other things.
- Etc etc etc.
Exactly which of these—or any others you might think of—would you be willing to share with your Lord, who gave everything, when He asks, “Why didn’t you…?”
I doubt seriously that you will remember much of my sermon thoughts on Sunday. Perhaps you might remember one or two of the songs and how they went along with their section of the sermon. Or not. But you will remember an older man, former preacher (but not really former), who came forward with a cane, asking that the church pray for him because he felt that he was not doing enough for God. And I hope you will always remember his statement, “I need to bring someone to the Lord.”