Sermon for Pentecost 6/8/14
Text: Acts 2:1-21
Theme: You Have the Holy Spirit, Now God and Make Disciples!
Have you ever volunteered for something and later came to regret it?
It happens all the time, doesn’t it? You volunteers for some task and it ends up sucking up way more of your time than you originally thought it would. Or you volunteer for one little obligation and soon have a much larger obligation thrown on your lap.
I have to imagine that there was many a night in William Carey’s life when he felt the exact same thing. I have to imagine that at times he regretted that he had ever opened his mouth to volunteer.
You see, William Carey was a Christian pastor in England in the late 1700’s. In 1793 he looked over at the people of India and his heart broke. He saw in India millions of people on the path to hell because they knew nothing about the Bible – they knew nothing about Jesus. So William Carey spoke up, and as often happens, the one who points out a good idea is asked to pursue that good idea. And so, William Carey left the life he knew in England to tell the people of India about Jesus.
I have to imagine that as William’s boat docked in India his stomach was in knots. I have to imagine that right then, when he stepped onto that dock surrounded by people whose skin was darker than his, dressed in clothes very different from his, babbling in languages he didn’t understand, with customs he knew nothing about, there had to have been a least a little regret. What had he gotten himself into?…
Regardless of what he may have been feeling when he stepped off that boat, William Carey was resolute. He knew what he had come here for – he had volunteered for it. He knew that there were millions of people here that needed to know about Jesus. So he set about learning the languages and customs of India, and most importantly he started telling the people of India about Jesus.
But things didn’t go the way, I’m sure, William had hoped they would. I have to imagine that William often regretted his decision to travel to India when after 6 full years of preaching about Jesus not one single Indian had come to faith. Six years of preaching… and not one convert to Christianity!
I have to imagine that there were many nights during those six years when William Carey felt like he had failed – failed as a missionary, failed as a pastor, failed to share the good news of Jesus.
Have you ever felt that way?
God has called each of us to be missionaries, right? When Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended into heaven that they were to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” we know that that command was for us too. We are Jesus disciples and we have been called to make disciples.
And I know you try, but does it ever feel like an exercise of frustration to you? Continue reading