“HITTING THE FIRST HOME RUN” By Pastor YAU
Text: 1 Peter 4:7-10 June 13, 2010.
1) Missing one base: Sara Tucholsky, a softball player for Western Oregon University, hit the first home run of her life in a game against Central Washington. But she nearly didn’t get credit for it. As she rounded the first base in excitement, she failed to touch it! When she wheeled back to correct her mistake, she injured her knee. Crying, she crawled back to the base. By rule, she had to touch all four bases on her own for the home run to count. Her teammates could not assist her in any way.
2) Covering all bases: Then Mallory Holtman, the first baseman for the opposing team spoke up. “Would it be ok if we carry her around?” After conferring, the umpires agreed. So, Mallory and another teammate made a chair of their hands and carted Sara around the bases. By the time they were through carrying her, many were crying at this selfless act of compassion, and Sara was awarded the first home run of her life.
WHY DO WE FAIL AT TIMES?
1) Because we are human: “All have turned away, they all have become useless, there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12)Even though some may use this excuse to cover their failures and mistakes, it is very true that because we are human, we are born to fail and make mistakes, see I use a plural noun. Although everyone would love to see that he/she will never fail in all the things they do or they will make all the right decision and judgments, the fact is that we all will fail and will make mistakes, some make more than others.
2) Because we won’t listen: “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears and they have closed their eyes.” (Matthew 13:15)Jesus was talking about people in his time won’t pay attention to His teaching. Those who won’t listen to God’s word will never learn right from wrong, good from bad. They can’t find or see the right path for their life and certainly they will make mistakes and fail in what they pursue. Often times, we don’t just listen to God; we also don’t listen to people who love us so much to give us good advice either.
3) Because we are too proud: “Before his downfall, a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 18:12) If you just pay a little attention to the rise and fall of people, you can testify how true are the words of King Solomon spoken thousands of years ago. Pride may be the number one reason men fail and suffer setbacks in their pursuit of goals. People with much pride believe that they are invincible and they will never fall, but they will.
4) Because we live in sin: “An evil man is snared by his own sin.” (Proverbs 29:6) A snare is a net for catching animals or birds. If a man continues to live in sin, he will get caught and tingled in the net of trouble and sorrow sooner or later. There is no escape from fall but a matter of when and how bad. So, do not continue to live in sin or you will know what King David said, “For troubles without number surround me; and sins have overtaken me and I cannot see.” (Psalm 40:12) Sins will block your eyes and you cannot see that troubles are coming to you.
WRONG REACTION WHEN SOMEONE FALLS:
1) Gloating on their failures: “He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker, whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 17:5) Usually failure itself is not the worst sting on the one who falls. It is the gloating of his friends that hurts much more. Gloating or secret rejoicing on failure of others is not what Christians should feel or do.
2) Judging on their failures: “You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at what point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself because you who pass judgement do the same thing.” (Romans 2:1)When one of us fails and suffers, we, as members of the Body of Christ, should feel the pain and suffer with him. (1 Corinthians 12:26) To pass judgment on the failure of a brother is like judging ourselves because we are not any better than that brother.
3) Ignoring their failures: “Yet these men speak abusively whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals---these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain, they have rushed for profit into Balaan’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” (Jude 1:10-11) All the 3 names mentioned here were men of terrible failures in the Old Testament. Jude scolded the foolishness of the false teachers in the early Church time that they destroyed themselves because they didn’t learn from the wrongs in ancient time and they will suffer the terrible consequences as those 3 men. When we see a brother fails, we need to learn some lessons we will not repeat their same failure.
4) Shrugging off any failure: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)This confession of King David after his most serious offence and failure demonstrates a deep sorrow in his heart for his sins. No one should shrug off a sin or a failure in his life as nothing had happened. God demands His children to be light of the world and we must be serious in fulfilling His command. We all need to see sins, failures and mistakes as defects of our life and do our utmost to correct our failure so we may get back to God as He wants us to.
HELPING SOMEONE HIT A HOME RUN: (1 Peter 4:7-10)
1) First, conditioning yourself: “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” (4:7) Before we can help someone else to score a home run, we need to help ourselves learn the game, build the skills and do all the right things in the game. Peter encourages us to condition our spiritual life first so when time comes for us to help others, we may do something good for them.
2) Second, love is the center: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (4:8) No one may help someone else without loving that person, especially when that person is a failure. Sin is true and is not lovable. But love may cover all sins, all failure and mistake so we may help anyone who has failure to rise up and hit a home run again. People who have failed need love from their family, friends and the church. Christians should extend a helping hand with love to bring them up and run the course again. It is not about how and why they have failed. It is about what and how we can do to bring them up so they can continue the game until it is won.
3) Then, be compassionate to all: “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (4:9)Grumbling includes complaining, criticizing and bad-mouthing. It is easy to do the above 3 things when someone fails in a sin, a job, a marriage or other personal or spiritual matters. But Peter wants us to be compassionate, to offer acceptance and friendship to those who have failed so they may stand up and get going again.
4) Finally, it is all God’s grace: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (4:10)Whatever we may do to help someone get on life again after they have failed is not from us but all from God’s grace. It is God’s grace to give us gifts so we may do something to help others score points for their life. If we don’t use God’s gifts to help someone, especially those who have failed, we are not being faithful to God’s trust then we have to face God and explain to him.
1) We all have a fair share: If we are all honest enough, we will admit that failure is not a problem for others but for all of us. We all have failed in some ways and some times. Being honest to admit our own failure will make us more humble to sympathetic to others who also have failed.
2) We are here for each other: God places us in a certain place at a certain time for a certain purpose: so we may extend our helping hand for someone who needs some help. Being compassionate with God’s love in using His gifts to help someone to get up and get going is all we need to do. We are in one body of Christ and should support each other for the good of the body.
3) We want you join the team: If you are not in God’s team not a believer yet, I want to invite you to join us. You can ask God to forgive your sins, to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and to join us in His church so we can work together to bring all the failures to stand up and get going on their lives. In doing this, we are fulfilling the command of God.