This is by far, one of my favorite passages of scripture! Why? because it gives us the mission of the church in a clearly defined, succinct fashion, that most of the time we manage to mess up! It’s interesting that this “Great Commission” text follows the resurrection story and the conversation story in and amongst the guards and the group of gathered Jews who were nearby. Then, rather abruptly we hear that the 11 disciples, notice minus one, head to Galilee where Jesus had instructed them to go. Yet when they saw him, “some of them doubted.” It is interesting that a great deal of the time when we look at this passage we glance quickly over that small yet important verse 17, “but some of them doubted.” Does that sound familiar to any of you in this room? If it doesn’t I want you to check your blood pressure and your respiration immediately. My friends, we are human, we are people of God who have been given the awesome gift of human life, therefore we will have questions, we will doubt some things in our life. I can only imagine how those 11 disciples felt when they saw the resurrected Jesus. Not something that you will see everyday in your walk down the road or to the store, even though they had been told they would see Him in His appearance to them.
There are certain people in life who make a “mark” no matter where they go! There are people who just exude the ability to work for good purposes, good intentions, and be used for very specific purposes in the life. Abraham was one of those people! Abraham is what you might call the “ultimate religious dude.” He is revered by Islam, Judaism, and Christianity alike! Not many people can say that! He is one who made a mark as used by God in many, many, fashions.
Robbie Parsons, a Baptist preacher, tells the story of going to the amusement park with his 4-year-old daughter. During the walk around the Midway, she begged him to win a Spongebob Squarepants toy at one of the side games where you knock over bottles with bean bags. As a good father would do, and probably an “inflated ego preacher” like most of us, he laid down his money and attempted the best throws a young man could make. He missed the bottles completely on all four throws! With some frustration and a smug look on his daughter’s face, and a little pride in the way, he laid down more money, only to miss by even a greater margin on the second round of throws. He says in his story that no matter how hard he tried, he missed the mark. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In Greek, literally the word for “sin” means “to miss the mark.” No matter how hard we may try, no matter how sincere we are, no matter how impressive we seem to those around us and the outside world, we are still going to miss the mark.
In a world full of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and starvation, eating has taken on a new spin in the world in so many different ways.
According to the Bloomberg Report, in March of this year, Americans spent more on dining out than they did on buying groceries. Americans spent more at bars and restaurants than they did in Harris Teeter, Lowe’s Foods, Publix, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s worldwide! Now, friends, that is a lot of eating out. Yet we don’t think twice about it as long as we are being fed.