This sermon was given by guest Keith Boucher.
"What Would Jesus Do"
I like to start my day reading a devotional. My loving wife Diane gave me such a
book called "
365 Daily Answers to What Would Jesus Do". I
enjoy this book very much for a number of reasons, first it starts out
with a biblical passage which gives me a grounding in God's word, and then
it provides a relative quote from a noted author or scholar (some that I'm
familiar with, others that I'm not, the ones I'm not familiar with I can
refer to brief bios in the back of the book) quote this often provides a
historical perspective of introduces me to a new author / philosopher /
theologian. After the quote I'm prompted with a "What would Jesus do
reflection". This helps me rationalize how I might want to think about
what is said or act in a similar situation.
One set of passages that
struck me from this book was the following
The Biblical passage from 1 Thessalonians
"We continually remember before our God and Father that
your labor be prompted by love."
In other words all our actions should
be prompted by love. The quote that goes along with this is from Henry
Drummond, a 19th century Scottish writer and evangelist. He writes, "You
will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you
really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of
Action and love working together. Action as a way of
illustrating love. Love motivating action. Living love. Pretty powerful
Reading this on February 5th, made me think of all the
things I do each day and how they should be or could be tied to love.
Maybe it's hard to do when you're at work, but think of it from a
perspective of "do unto others
as you would have done unto you"; this
too is a form of love. The other devotional I endeavor to read on a daily
basis is the Upper
Room. This is great because I can read it online on the
internet. Since I spend the better part of my day on a computer, it's very
In July I read something in the Upper Room that kind of
put things in perspective for me and made me think. Let me share this with
you. It's pretty simple, yet poignant.
"How many poor people would miss
you if you died today?
How many poor people would come to your funeral
to say good-bye?"
Today, maybe you don't care, but maybe you
The writer continues...
When my pastor asked that
question in a sermon a few years ago, I found myself thinking about it for
days afterward. Like many of us (I expect like most of us), I move within
a predictable circle of contacts in an average week. I come to work, go to
church, visit with friends, exercise, walk my dog, shop, go to the
library, speak to my neighbors. In all these
activities, I rarely have
conversations with persons very different from me. Most of the people I
interact with are pretty much like me -- middle-class, employed, educated,
dressed in clean clothes, eating regularly (and probably more than we
need). She goes on.....As I reflected on my pastor's words, I realized
that I seldom spent time with those who are truly poor.
the routine of my life is comfortable and familiar. Reaching out to those
in need usually requires that we step outside our "comfort zone," and most
of us hesitate to do that. But God has what one writer calls a
"preferential option for the poor." That is, those who are poor, alone, or
vulnerable have a special place in God's heart. They are not simply "the
poor"; they are God's poor. When we are close to them, we move closer to
God's heart. Many places in the Book of Psalms tell us that God befriends
people such as these. Jesus spoke of those whom he called "the least of
these" (as mentioned in our reading from Matthew), saying that when we
feed the hungry, visit those in prison, care for those who are ill, clothe
those in need, or offer hospitality to strangers, we are doing those
things to him. As we spend time with those in need, we
are spending time with Christ.
This makes reaching out not an
obligation, but a privilege, a spiritual discipline that moves us closer
to Christ. As 2
Corinthians 9:8 tells us, God gives to us in abundance so that
we "may share abundantly in every good work." Think about all that God has
given you, not just material things but intangibles like health, family,
and friends. With hearts overflowing with gratitude, we celebrate God's
generosity by stepping out of our comfort zone and sharing what God has
given us. And as we become friends to God's poor, we grow closer to
Christ. Being with them causes us to see ourselves differently and to feel
and express even deeper gratitude for what God has done for us
Covey in his outstanding book the "
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" talks
about creating mission statements for what we are, that provide a path to
get to what we want to become.
In creating this mission statement, one
of the things he asks you to do is to visualize your own funeral, a
sobering thought. Who would be there....... Or worse, who would not be
there.......what would they say...... or not say about you. Maybe you
scoff at this and say who cares, I'm gone, I'll never know...... But
think.... What is living all about..... Do you care about a legacy?......
When you leave this earth to be with the eternal father... Will it be like
you never existed on this earth?, that no one cared?, you made no
difference...or worse... Good riddance!!
Boy ..... We're glad that
Keith Boucher guy is gone.... He never did a damn thing for anyone, yeah
he lead a good life, he had it all, but he was so self-centered and didn't
give one hoot about anyone but himself!!
Maybe we're not there yet,
maybe we can't see outside ourselves as much as we would like .... But
that's OK......, we can get there......
Charles Du Bos, a French
author from the early part of the 20th century, said it well: "The
important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we
are, for what we could become".
.........to be able at any moment to
sacrifice what we are, for what we could become.
The question is what
do we WANT to become........
Maybe it's recognizing what God has given
What has God given you in abundance? Time? Education? Love? Skills
such as sewing, reading, carpentry, car repair, bookkeeping, computer
knowledge? How can you share your gifts from God as an illustration of
love and with the thought of doing what Jesus would do?
How will you
feel when you help the less fortunate?
A simple Hindu Proverb pretty
much sums it up for me: Help thy brother's boat across, and lo! Thine own
has reached the Shore.
By helping others you are helping
Toward what activity or outreach have you felt repeated
nudges or sparks of interest? Could these be God's call to become
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in
moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of
challenge and controversy." --
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thomas Jefferson, the great statesman and
president, said, "There is a debt of service due from every man to his
Country, proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have
measured to him."
Keith Boucher, the humble and ordinary person would
restate this passage as: "There is a debt of service due from every person
to his God proportioned to the bounties which God has granted her or him.
Because we are blessed, it is us who should joyfully give in
God is asking us to give so little, yet he offers us so
We as a church community are making strides toward manifesting
our love of God fulfilling his desire to help the poor. We have responded
to the call of Lazarus House to help clothe and feed the poor,
we have responded to the need of A Safe
Place for support, we have begun our support of the Racetrack
Ministry as a United North Salem / Hannah Tenney Church. We have sent
token support of earthquake relief to Turkey. Yes, we are answering the call.
these are small steps of love, small steps in the right direction.
can we do more? How can we multiply these few loaves and few fish to feed
the multitudes? How do we continue to work together and get larger
segments of our congregations involved?
I wish everyone could see the
humble faces of the people who receive our food and clothing at Lazarus House.
I wish everyone could see the
faces of battered families as they seek shelter at A Safe Place.
everyone could have seen the joy of a Tenney parishioner who works at the
Racetrack as HER church brought dinner in for the less fortunate as part
of the racetrack ministry. "This is MY church", she said jubilantly, "that
is feeding us today!
These are the faces of God which we are called to
Meister Eckhart, the great mystical German
theologian of the middle ages, once said something like this, "You can
call God Love, or you can call God Hope....but the best name for God is
Compassion. It's something basic to Christianity,
but seen less and less these days. Yet it is a basic tenet of "Doing what
Jesus would do".
Jesus showed compassion for Lazarus and his family, He
showed compassion for the multitudes as he fed so many with but a few
loaves and a few fish, Jesus showed compassion even for the women weeping
at his own tomb!
Mother Teresa of Calcutta talked of how we all
long for heaven where God is, saying we have it in our power to be in
heaven with Him right now -- to be happy with him at this very moment. But
being happy with him now means loving like he loves, helping like he
helps, giving as he gives, serving as he serves, rescuing as he rescues,
being with him 24 hours a day--- touching him in his distressing
Love, compassion, helping. Giving,.rescuing, serving, doing
what Jesus would do. It takes effort, it takes time, it may mean changing
the way we think.
The reward however is great. The ultimate gift,
available nowhere else. Eternal life!
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, we
gather together today in your name to celebrate the opportunity before us,
the opportunity to serve You and your humble people, the poor. Help us
move forward with words backed by actions, knowing that our efforts make a
difference to make this world a better place and letting us see your face
in the faces of the people we will serve.
We ask you this in Jesus'
4:1 Therefore, my brothers
and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the
Lord in this way, my beloved.
4:2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to
be of the same mind in the Lord.
4:3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal
companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work
of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose
names are in the book of life.
4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I
will say, Rejoice.
4:5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The
Lord is near.
4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known
4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there
is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about
4:9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and
received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
106:1 Praise the LORD! O give thanks to
the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or declare all his
106:3 Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness
at all times.
106:4 Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your
people; help me when
you deliver them;
106:5 that I may see the
prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your
nation, that I may glory in your heritage.
106:6 Both we and our
ancestors have sinned; we have committed iniquity, have done
106:19 They made a calf at Horeb and worshiped a cast
106:20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox
that eats grass.
106:21 They forgot God, their Savior, who had done
great things in Egypt,
106:22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and
awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
106:23 Therefore he said he would destroy
them-- had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to
turn away his wrath from destroying them.
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all
the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall
separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come,
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I
was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him,
saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and
gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or
naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and
came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I
say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these
my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41Then shall he say also unto
them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye
gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a
stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and
in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him,
saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or
naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it
not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.