Psalm 81:11-16; Matthew 7:24-29
A Mom was out walking with her 4-year-old daughter. The child picked up something off the ground and started to put it into her mouth. The mother took it away and said, “Don’t do that!” “Why not?” asked the child. “Because it’s on the ground,” said her Mom. “You don’t know where it’s been. It’s dirty, and it’s probably loaded with germs that could make you sick.”
The child looked at her mother with total admiration and said, “Mommy, how do you know all this stuff? You’re so smart.” The mother said, “All Moms know this stuff. It’s on the Mom’s Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mom.” There was silence for a minute or so as the child thought this through. “Oh, I get it,” she said at last. “And if you don’t pass the test, you have to be the Daddy?”
Happy Father’s Day to all the fine Dads in our midst and to everyone who has provided a father’s love and care. Today, I have a short message to honor all the Dads and Dad figures in our lives. I also want to acknowledge all single parents and grandparents who patiently play the role of a Mom or a Dad when a Mom or a Dad is not present.
I have been thinking about what is the best thing we can offer to our children as Dads and Moms. As members of a family, whether a blood-related family or church family, what is the best thing we can offer to those around us? A few weeks back I came across a recent study that showed that human’s greatest problem in the 21st century is loneliness. The study suggested that the solution for such problem is simple, easy, affordable, yet, profound, transformative, and amazing. The answer is listening. It is paying attention and being there for each other.
Listening is never easy, is it? All of us are so easily distracted -- even in church! Do you know what are the top 10 things people think about while signing a hymn? 1. How many more verses? 2. Are there donuts at coffee hour? 3. I wish someone could tell that new visitor not to sit in my seat. 4. How many people have lost more hair than I have? 5. What is the likelihood of the ceiling light or fan falling and hitting me on the head? 6. Did I turn off the curling iron? 7. Ninety minutes till kickoff. 8. Will the person behind me ever hit the right note? 9. Hope the sermon is not too long today. 10. What is for dinner tonight? Friends, the truth of the matter is that we are a very distracted people live in a very distracted culture!
First: We Won’t Know Others Unless We Listen to Them
We wont’s know others unless we get to spend some time with them and listen to them. Throughout the gospels, Jesus expresses frustration at being misheard and misunderstood. Frequently the people who should be the ones who are most attuned to His message ~ His disciples ~ are the ones who just don’t get it. For example, in Matthew 15:16 Jesus said to the disciples, “Are you still without understanding?” In Mark 7:18, He speaks to His disciples in parables, but they do not understand what Jesus is saying. “Don’t you understand either?” Jesus asked. The disciples couldn’t grasp what Jesus was saying. Psalm 81:11 states, “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.” No wonder that often times Jesus invited and challenged His audience to listen, understand, and discern. “Whoever has ears, let them hear,” said Jesus in Matthew 13:9.
Paying attention and listening will continue to be the best gift ever we can give to each other. Let’s never forget this profound truth. We pass on our values to our children when we listen to them and wrestle with them. We instill the faith in the younger generations when we get to spend some time with them.
And for those of us who want a better walk with Jesus, may we also strive to listen to His Word, allow it to search our heart and examine our mind. God still speaks to us. Are we listening? Day after day after day, God is trying to make a room for His presence in our lives. Week after week after week, God is trying to interrupt our busy lives and bring us back to Him. Sometimes God whispers, other times He screams. But the truth is, as a faithful Father, God will never give up.
Second: Someday, You will Need that Foundation
Someday, our children will fly away on their own, and they will need that solid foundation we have built with them over the years. someday, our own faith will be tested, and we will need a solid foundation. Yes, someday, the rain will fall, floods will come, and winds will blow and beat against your house.
That’s what basically Jesus is saying in Matthew 7: 24-27. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
Is your house safe? Is your boat secure? Have you placed your anchor in the right place? May we value today the gift of listening to someone and over all, may we value the gift of listening to God’s Word. Here is what God says through the Prophet Isaiah in chapter 48:18-19, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.” Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Amen!
First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Father’s Day ~ Sunday June 16th, 2019)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor