Matthew B. Harper
A Sermon for Epiphany 4B
1st Corinthians 8:1-13
Sometimes I think that perhaps life is simply safer and easier in prison than out. Life in here can be difficult, painful, and violent, but there is a clarity and honesty to it. The outside world, one I’ve only seen on TV and in glossy magazines for 20 years now, seems to be consumed with acrimony and judgment. Rather than bringing us closer together, new technology is just documenting how we are splitting ourselves into tribes, and casting our anger at others. We are a world in need of a savior.
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by Matthew B. Harper
Exodus 4:10-11 – But Moses said to the Lord “O my Lord, I have never spoken eloquently”… Then the Lord said to him “Who gives speech to mortals… Is it not I, the Lord?”
Moses had the same reservations that many of us have when we are called out of our comfort zone to serve the Lord. We are fearful and nervous. Our fear and our calling seem to be at war with each other. But, as one of our chaplains in here constantly reminds us “The Lord does not call the equipped, he equips the called.”
All to often we underestimate the gifts that we have been given, and we are afraid to step out in faith when we feel called. One of the greatest joys I have been a part of is when the leaders of the church can gather and discuss how to raise up new leaders, new teachers, and new readers. Many men feel called by God, but until we have a chance to call them forward, they remain silent. We underestimate the comfort and strength of the Lord that can speak through us.
And we underestimate how bad things can get. As a people we underestimate our ability to suffer, and we underestimate our ability to endure suffering. We do not realize what great strength we have to rely upon in the Lord.
God’s power isn’t coercive in our lives. God will call us, we must answer. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus tells us he is at the door knocking, but it is still we who must open the door and invite him in.
So when God calls you out of your comfort zone, trust and rely upon the Lord. When God calls you, God equips you.
“That it may please thee to have mercy upon all mankind, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord” BCP 152