THE ANT, THE PRAYER, AND THE CONTACT LENS
A true story: Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens.
Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it.
When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.”
Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?” Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it!
Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it for You.”
We need to remember these words when we are asked to do something that we feel is too heavy for us to do and or carry. “God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will.”
Today I wish to address the subject of our best. We are in a sermon series focusing on lies that come our way and tear us down. These are lies that maybe we believe, but they cause us harm, they hurt us. They make us work harder than we need to. They break down our confidence. They overwhelm us. One of these such lies is that “our best is not good enough.” I am not going to address this lie separate from the Holy Spirit. In a way the lie is a lie regardless of whether or not one is a Christian or not. But is it a big lie for the Christian because the Christian is not alone. The Christian has the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor. 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Certainly, with the Holy Spirit there is a freedom and we are never alone. But just for a moment realize even a non-believer can only do their best. It has to be good enough. But for the Christian we can really be overwhelmed if we try things on our own.
My theme today: Our best is good enough because it is couple’s with God’s strength
My application: Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
- Let’s talk about the overwhelming weight the Christian faces and the overwhelming answer.
- I like what Pastor J.D. Greear writes as he talks about being overwhelmed:
And as I said, I used to be one of them myself. No matter what I gave, there was always more that was needed. One more child to free from the sex trade . . . one more unreached people group to target . . . one more person to tell about Jesus! How could I take my wife out to dinner with needs like that weighing on me? Or go on a vacation? In fact, how could I keep any money for my own enjoyment or pleasure when so many in the world die with nothing? If the price of a cup of coffee could really feed an Indian orphan for a week, was it right for me ever to have a cup of coffee? And why did I need a hot shower? Should I take only cold showers and free up another $ 20 a month in energy costs to house another refugee? John Wesley famously took down the pictures off of his wall, saying they were the “blood of the poor,” unnecessary indulgences while people starve. Was my indulgence of hot showers depriving some poor person of their next meal? My wife and I own a fairly modest house, but couldn’t we have a smaller one? After all, my next door neighbors in Indonesia lived in a 400-square-foot, non-non-air-conditioned, aluminum-roofed hovel, and they were a family of ten. I don’t know anyone in America who lives that way, but my Indonesian neighbors survived . . . so wouldn’t truly “radical” living require that I live that way, too, and give the excess money to missions? Was my insistence on living like a first-world American, with a nice home (even if modest), condemning many to starvation and hell?
If every person I see is headed either to heaven or to hell, then shouldn’t I spend every minute of every day interrupting them to make sure they know how to get to God? Don’t they all need to know, right now? If it depends on me, shouldn’t I interrupt them, immediately?
But, J.D. continues to share that God does not need us. If He needed us all that would be true but:
Thankfully, the weight of the mission sits upon the shoulders of a God who has no needs.
- He creates universes with words.
- He takes five loaves and two fish and feeds more people in five minutes than twelve men working full-time jobs could supply in eight months.
- He finds tax payments in a fish’s mouth.
- He knocks down mighty giants with creek pebbles.
- He summons rich, pagan, enemy kings to pay for his building programs.
- We serve a big God and we walk with the Lord. Our best is good enough because everything God calls us to do is about Him and not us.
- Think about the beginning of the book of Acts 1:4 Jesus is risen and He is with the disciples and He tells them not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. I find this funny. It is as if Jesus knew without the Holy Spirit their best is not good enough. With the Holy Spirit everything will work out. The book of Acts is all about the Holy Spirit.
- Peter was afraid and denied Jesus (John 18:25-27) but when the Holy Spirit comes upon them He preaches and people are saved, 3000 were saved.
- The Holy Spirit simply told Philip to witness to the Ethioppian and the man was saved (Acts 8:25ff).
- The Holy Spirit radically transforms our best.
- Jesus addresses this giving us the answer, simply seek God.
- Let’s read Matthew 7:25-33: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
- Our assignment is not to worry about our best.
- Our assignment is to work hard and let God supply the rest.
- Our assignment is to seek the Lord and follow what He calls us to do.
- Our assignment is to remember that He is in charge.
- Our assignment is to let God be God.
- God will multiple your hard work and make it better than you can imagine.
- God will multiple your integrity and make things work out His way.
- God will give you favor when you seek Him, when you let the Holy Spirit work in you.
- I am not only talking about church ministries. God will give you favor at work for seeking the Lord and telling the truth. Own up to mistakes and have integrity.
- God will give you favor when you don’t gossip on Facebook.
- God will give you favor in your family when you can be trusted not to spread rumors.
- Sometimes seeking the Lord is tough, but God will give you favor when you seek the Lord even when it means obeying the law and there is a cost. There is a cost to obeying the legal law and God’s way. Sometimes we think our giving does not make a difference, it is just pennies, but God will take care of you when you give what you can and stretch yourself a little but more.
- God will give you favor when you seek Him by restoring a relationship. Sometimes we are overwhelmed thinking a relationship can never be healed, but remember that God can do all things. It is not your best healing the relationship, but it is God doing that.
- Sometimes we think, I could never finish college or some training, but remember you have God’s strength within you. Sometimes we think, I cannot face another day at my work! But remember you don’t go there by yourself.
- Don’t worry, give it to God. Say, God I am overwhelmed and I just don’t know that I am making a difference. I need the Spirit to lead me. I am seeking you. I am giving this to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Write out your worries on paper and give them to God.
- Write out that you think you are doing your best and missing out, give them to God.
It is God who multiplies our work. Our job is to obey. Think about Joseph, he goes to Egypt as a slave and he maintained integrity and God multiplied that giving him a position second to the Pharaoh and saved all of the Israelites through Him (Genesis 37-50). All he did is what was right.
I met with the Vice-President of a Company. He told me that he started out as an accountant and did not want to be with the company that long. That was 17 years ago. He had previously served as a missionary, youth pastor and worship leader. He was from Mexico and then was transferred to Illinois as the President of the Company, the company merged and now he is the VP. But he never wanted to stay there. He wanted to be a missionary again. I thought of Joseph, God gave this man favor just like Joseph. God promoted him. Now he has had prayer meetings and Bible studies in that office. He has shared the Gospel in that office. He was seeking the Lord and the Lord used him. He did his best and the Lord used him. Praise God. It happens by the Holy Spirit within us.
Our job, seek the Lord and trust Him with the results.
Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
 Greear, J.D.; Greear, J.D. (2014-11-04). Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You (p. 77). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.