“GOD WILL NEVER FORGET”                     By pastor YAU

Text: Hebrews 6:9-12                                        October 31, 2010

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Forgotten by men: People around the world are familiar with Mount Rushmore, the South Dakota site where the heads of some former American presidents are carved in gigantic scale on a cliff wall. Yet, while millions know of Mount Rushmore, few know the man Doane Robinson, the South Dakota State historian who conceived the idea of the magnificent sculpture,  managed and supervised the project. The monument is admired and appreciated by millions but Robinson is the forgotten man behind the masterpiece. His name is largely unrecognized or was never known or remembered by most people.

2)   Not forgotten by God: In the early Christian time, being faithful to God could mean severe persecution or punishment by death. To be faithful in serving God and people is beyond most people ability. Those who had been faithful both in faith in God but also in showing love and service to men were weary and tired. Paul wrote to these people to strengthen their weaken knees and weary hands. While most of our services to God and men will be forgotten sooner or later, there is one good reason we should not worry about: our love and service to God and men will not be forgotten by God. “God is not unjust, He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10)

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNSUNG HEROES:

1)   Only God can do all by Himself: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) In this first sentence of the Bible, we see that God did all the creation by himself without the assistance, directly or indirectly, of anyone or anything. Besides God, no one in human history has ever done anything completely and independently all by himself without any assistance from others, directly or indirectly. If you look at all the things you have done, none is totally and independently all by yourself. Everything we may achieve is the sum of many factors contributed by many elements and people. Someone may get the credit, fame or honor, but there are many unsung heroes behind the scene who have contributed to the success.

2)   Others contributed to our life: Look at all the stories of success in the Bible, all of them are products of contributions of many. There won’t be a successful Moses if it were not his parents and sister and the Egyptian princess and his father-in-law, the Median priest. Joshua won’t be able to conquer Cannon without the godly mentoring of Moses and the support of Caleb and other elders. Samuel was raised by his godly mother, Hannah, and trained by his unselfish mentor Eli. Paul was sent to mission ministry by his church at Antioch and accompanied by mentor Barnabas. Timothy was raised by his godly grandmother and mother and mentored by Paul to be an effective pastor at the Ephesians church. Just look at your own life, count all those who have contributed to make you who you are today.

3)   They contributed to our success: Besides the biblical examples above, look again at your success in education, career, business, marriage and family, and count all those who have contributed to make all these possible. These include your parents, family, your teachers, mentors, classmates, friends and colleagues, employers and superiors, political, socio-economic conditions and the general environment we live and work. These and others all contributed to make it possible to our success. It takes much more than you or me or one alone to make it where we are.

4)   They contributed to our ministry: Anything you are involved in the ministry or service in God’s church, if there is any level of success or achievement, it is because there are many others who contributed to what we do week in and week out. These people provide support, convenience, encouragement and prayers to make it possible that we are able to get something done. We also receive spiritual nourishment from the pulpit, Bible classes and personal spiritual examples of others to keep us strong and faithful so we can continue to serve. There is no such thing of “single-handedly” making anything done just by one person. When you have achieved something, don’t forget the unsung heroes.

 

WHY ARE UNSUNG HEROES FORGOTTEN?

1)   It is our human nature: As part of the depraved nature of man, we were born to retain evil much longer than good. See how easy and long we remember our experience of pain and those who inflicted it than the good and those who contribute to us. Human nature tends to remember those who caused pain and suffering on us much deeper and longer than those who made our life better and happier. It is a natural tendency to forget those who have done good things to us, our unsung heroes.

2)   It is because of time: We heard that time heals wounds and that is somewhat correct. Time also dilutes the excitement, joy and gratitude we used to hold in our heart to our unsung heroes. Life is full of ever changing flow of events, feelings and experience and the new will naturally dilute or replace the old. Some of the old unsung heroes will either be forgotten or be replaced by new ones. The heroes who sacrificed their lives to rescue others in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 will be history to children who are born 20 or 30 years later.

3)   It is because of our pride: Pride is part of human nature and it is a double-edged sword depends on how we use it. Using pride improperly, we tend to claim or monopolize all the credits on things we have achieved and disregard the credit we suppose to give to the unsung heroes who contributed to our success. The more we focus on ourselves and pride, the less we will remember the unsung heroes who also deserve honor and credit.

4)   It is because emotions changed. We all understand that colors do fade. This is also true in the color of our unsung heroes. The importance, influence and values of old time heroes will fade in time, and some will be forgotten or erased from our memory. The changes of life bring in new heroes and the old ones fade out. We need to try our best to keep them in our heart and mind and pay tributes to them from time to time. But if you are being forgotten as an unsung hero, learn to accept the facts and don’t fall to despair or holding grudges against anyone.

 

BUT GOD WILL NEVER FORGET: (Hebrews 6:9-12)

1)    God didn’t miss good deeds: “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case, things that accompany salvation.” (6:9)From 6:4-8, Paul was rebuking some of the early Christians who have tasted the heavenly gifts but have fallen away from the truth, and he pronounced severe punishment. But from 6:9-12, Paul reassured those who were faithful in their labor of love and service that these won’t go without notice by God. Big or small, seen or unseen by men, all that we do for God and His church, God will see and know and we will be rewarded accordingly.

2)    God never forgets good work: “God is not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have served his people and continue to serve them.” (6:10) The key words in this verse are ‘God is not unjust’ to forget. We all have done many good works for many people and are being forgotten and all these are truly unjust. But all the good works we have done for God through serving his people will never be forgotten because He is a just God. Men may forget the unsung heroes but God will not. He will reward the good and the faithful.

3)    God wants to see persistence: “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.” (6:11)It is not too difficult to start loving God and serving people, but it will become more difficult to ‘continue to the end.’ These are the key words in this verse. Paul encouraged these faithful Christians “to show the same diligence to the very end.” This means no slowing down, no cutting corner and surely no quitting. We have seen some of God’s once faithful ones fallen away from loving God and serving God’s people. This is a phenomenon we see everywhere even in this church. Please be sure that God loves to see you be persistent, never fall behind.

4)    God promised inheritance: “We do not want you to become lazy but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (6:12)Becoming lazy and lacking faith and patience are the top reasons some have fallen behind in loving and serving God. After 40 years in serving God, I understand these reasons in a personal way: being lazy, lacking faith and patience. But that is exactly what God doesn’t want to see in all of us. We have to gear up, get going, overcome laziness and get back to being faithful and patient. God promised his heritage for all to remain faithful in loving him and serving people.

 

CONCLUSION: I write this sermon for this occasion.

1)   I am humbled: I am humbled to stand here before you to receive the honor of being your pastor for the past 18 years. In my 41 years of loving God and serving people, this is by far the most beloved group of people I have seen in all the churches I have known. I do not deserve any of this and I am truly humbled before God and you to pledge my every ounce of energy, love and dedication to continue the ministry God has called me to.

2)   I call on you: I can tell you that the election this year is very special to me. I have seen many new names nominated, many new faces are willing to join the team for this I am thankful to the Lord. But I also have some worry to see some of you may be falling behind, being lazy, losing the zeal and the spark of faith in serving God. I want you to know that God wants you to inherit his promised reward in serving him. Do not lacking behind. Ask God to rekindle your spiritual fire and get going.

3)   I have a request: Instead of showing your appreciation to your pastor today, may I request that we change today’s celebration to recognize and show my appreciation to all the unsung heroes of this church. These people have sacrificed, given worked and contributed so much in so many ways to make this church what we see today. To all of these people, we celebrate this today.