“The plans of mice and men”
1 kings 19:1-15a & Galatians 3:23-29
Sometimes it feels like the saying, that “The best laid plans of mice and men, often go amiss” should read “The best laid plans of mice and men, always go amiss”. A bit like in our human nature that sometimes “when all else has failed we’ll turn to prayer”, or as I have experienced, after having come to a dead end after hours, days or weeks of churning over something-in desperation I ask my wife Cathy, who nonchalantly gives me the answer I just couldn’t seem to see on my own.
Sometimes our plans do go amiss but that does not mean we shouldn’t plan as I surely wouldn’t want to be heading into the blue yonder on a flying bomb, commonly called a spaceship without some planning having been put in place and the same for buying a house or running a business or most of the big ticket things in our lives. Planning’s a good thing to do, but no matter how intensely you’ve seemingly covered all the bases, we’ll find we haven’t and there’s nothing surer that sooner or later we’ll have to take a “leap of faith”, roll with the punches and see where it takes us.
For the past few weeks we have been talking about “salvation through faith in Christ alone” and in today’s epistle reading Paul gives us the confirming outcome:
Now that faith has come….(that) in Christ you are all sons and daughters of God through faith. For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise”.
I bet you didn’t see that one coming when you got baptised as an infant. And that’s the point, with the God stuff; we’ve just got to let God be God as even today here in worship, what have we ourselves really done. I would suggest to you the only thing we have done is turn up and be present. Yes, we have heard the word of God, and we will join in Holy Communion shortly-gifts that the Lord has assured us are good for us, good for bringing us to faith and strengthening our faith and whether today you leave feeling as though you’ve been taken to the mountain top or not-those gifts work in us. But in all honesty, what have we done today-we’ve turned up, that’s it and while it doesn’t seem quite like the lofty efforts of the Elijah’s and Moses’ and what they got up to in serving God, in just presenting ourselves before the Lord today and letting God be God is mighty in his eyes.
To believe and know the truth of “Salvation through faith in Christ alone” is not of our rationale or logic, it has come from outside of us when we knew him not. Yet here you are today, living breathing vessels of the truth. Living breathing miracles blessed by The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit who I know are, and will be a blessing to others.
I have no doubt that each of you will do great things for the Lord, the same way as you are today-by simply presenting yourself as you are before the lord, to let God be God-and as a living vessel of the truth, you will do great things by just presenting yourself to the world, simply as who you are and Let God be God.
Stand before the world as vessels of the truth and in letting God be God creates miracles.
Miracles like the countless and unplanned ones that come from the seemingly simple and random efforts of the Gideon’s in placing a vessel of the truth, a bible in a motel room.
Like the one that started when a friend of mine, bored and with nothing to do found a bible in the motel room cupboard and started reading it. A journey seemingly started by chance that continues this day.
God has all the tools at his disposal. All consuming power yet he seems to work in ways that we would not, as seen in our reading of Elijah.
There is Elijah, hiding away in a cave after having putting it all on the line, yet for seemingly no result. Despondent and living in fear for his life. But worst of all it all seems for nought. So God comes to him and after asking Elijah what’s going on, Elijah responds:
“I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your alters, and killed every one of your prophets. I am left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
Then there is a mighty windstorm that ripped rocks and boulders free from the mountain, but the Lord was not in it. Then a mighty earthquake followed by fire and still the Lord was not in them. But then there was the sound of a gentle whisper, and it was the Lord.
Adam and Eve failed the test, yet God with all power, chose to cloth them after failing him. And God with all power, to a broken humanity sends a small child to grow amongst His failed creation, and walk in humility to his own death on a cross, that those that have failed him, may be clothed in his righteousness.
God has total power, yet he often chooses to work in the quiet, the small and seemingly insignificant. Yet most astonishing of all, he works through sinners. Through people, the same people who though they may have moments of genuine intent, still fail him. People like the great Elijah, or the many “bottom of the rung in society” that Jesus touched on his walk to the cross and all those in between. People like us.
Failed human beings yet like a vessel of the truth placed in a motel room drawer, who as Paul says to Timothy “are entrusted with the mystery of Christ.”
The mystery of Christ we carry in our lives as parents, children, mechanics, business owners, employers and employees. The mystery of Christ we carry in our lives and while sometimes it may seem of no avail like a bible sitting away quietly in that motel room, we still carry it and present it by being present and let God be God and know that somehow, someway-someone will see a dusty old vessel of the truth that continues to fail, yet perseveres. See us hurting, yet living in hope. Broken, yet restored.
They see us for what we are, yet in all off that God will be God and by us being present in him, somehow they may just hear Christ for themselves, and they too be entrusted with the mystery of faith, life and salvation. Amen.