If Not Me, Who?

Let me set the stage for today’s sermon with a few scripture verses.

*   (Deu 6:5-9 NIV)  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. {6} These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. {7} Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. {8} Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. {9} Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

*    (James 1:27 NIV)  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

*   (Mat 25:37-40 NIV)  "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? {38} When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? {39} When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' {40} "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

*    (Rom 12:16 NIV)  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

*   (Mat 5:13-16 NIV)  "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. {14} "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. {16} In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

*   (2 Cor 6:14-15 NIV)  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? {15} What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

*   (1 John 1:5-6 NIV)  This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. {6} If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

These verses require we be active and not passive in our walk with the Lord. Yet we often expect others to do what we don’t do. Yet we should ask these questions and give honest answers to ourselves. If not me, who? If not now, when? I don’t know where these questions originate but they make a very good point. Nothing happens unless someone steps forward to get the job done. All too often the tendency is to wait for another person or to wait for another time. I suppose a closely related question would be, “Why not me?” There are way too many excuses offered for each of these questions.

 

There are so many things we can do, and should do, that we frequently fail to do. Perhaps we could say we fail daily. I am not speaking of the big things. I am speaking of the little things that by accumulation become big things: A little kindness or a stern reprimand for instance given at the right time in the right way.

 

But you might say, my voice is insignificant. But what ever you do for God is not insignificant. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that what we do doesn’t matter unless it makes a dramatic change.

 

Let’s apply a little logic to this and take voting for example. Most issues and candidates win or lose by much more than one vote. So does that mean we shouldn’t vote? Or do we suppose that we should always cast the deciding vote?

 

Take a football game as another example. When ever a team scores, the hero of the moment is nearly always the one that carried the ball in the end zone. And, maybe also the one that threw the ball there. So, can we get rid of the other nine players?

 

Or, take the body as another example. The brain is the smart part. Should the rest of the body cease to function because the brain makes all the decisions? We are the body of Christ. We consist of many members so you might think that one of many members is not particularly important. You would be wrong! You are not relieved of your responsibilities to be a light to the world simply because you’re not the Pastor or an Elder or some other named part of the body. Everyone has a responsibility to play the role God gives them and to play it well. If they don’t then the body doesn’t function as well as it should.

 

If the right hand is injured the left hand has to work extra hard to pick up the slack. The same is true of all the parts of the body. The job God has given us needs to be done. Perhaps we all should constantly ask, “If not me, who?” If not now, when?”

 

When I was a child my father told me this, “Silence is consent.” When we see something going on that is wrong, and we fail to speak or act, we implicitly give our approval because silence is consent. That puts us on the wrong side. We have freely received and we need to freely give. That doesn’t apply only to food and clothing and shelter. It applies to everything God has given us including the knowledge of good and evil or right and wrong. We have received this knowledge freely and so we must give it freely. We do that by what we say and what we don’t say. We do that by what we do and by what we don’t do. We do it when we observe things that are negative but we must also do it when observe things that are positive. That is why we need to use both the carrot and the stick!

 

Pornography

Modest dress

Alcoholism

Sobriety

Homosexuality

Femininity/Manliness

Adultery/Fornication

Chastity and abstinence

Racism

Recognition of the one human race

Lying

Honesty

Stealing

Giving

Rudeness

Politeness

Concessions to evil

Taking a stand for righteousness

Blasphemy

Defending your Faith

Misplaced tolerance

Concern for integrity

 

I will end with this little proverb that dates back to 14th century England.

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

 

There are battles to be fought and won each day. Someone has to fight the battles. Ask yourself,

 

“If not me, who?” If not now, when?”