My Newspaper Sermon
Yesterday, I got an e-mail from the Religion Editor at the Tennessean (our local newspaper). He told me that each Saturday they print a message from a local religious leader, a sort of 500 word sermon. It seems that their planned message for this week fell through, and he needed something in a few hours. He asked me if I could write the message.
I have known Bob for a while now, and I really like him and respect his work. I told him I would be happy to do it. After praying, I decided to write a short version of a sermon I preached a couple of weeks ago.
So, here is a link to the message on the Tennessean's website: http://tinyurl.com/l6fgkf
And here is the text I wrote.
Message of the Week
Misusing power for personal satisfaction is among the most odious things a leader can do. We are rightly disgusted when we hear the stories. The executive who uses company funds to cheat on his wife or the minister who drives a church-bought luxury car for "ministry reasons" or the politician who gives lucrative government contracts to friends and family members.
Such stories are not new.
In the Bible, in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12, we find God's chosen King David misusing his power to please himself. When it comes time to make war, David sends someone else to do his dirty work (11:1). Then one day he sees a beautiful married woman named Bathsheba and has her brought to him. He objectifies and then sleeps with another man's wife (11:4). David then murders the woman's husband, Uriah (11:15). Even when David is confronted and repents, his sorrow lasts only long enough to see if he can get God to do something for him (12:22-23).
David is a terrible example of humanity. However, if we are honest, we can see ourselves in him. We sometimes use our power to get what we want from people instead of looking after their interests.
We take advantage of others; we manipulate family members and friends and co-workers. We objectify people; we send others to do our dirty work.
I had a professor who once told us that if he hadn't committed a sin it was because he hadn't had the opportunity. I wonder how we would fare with King David's kind of power.
What can God do with a terrible person like David? In Matthew's Gospel, we find a list of Jesus' ancestors. In that list we find these words: "David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been Uriah's wife." (1:6)
David had acquired Bathsheba and murdered Uriah through a despicable misuse of power. And God used the coming together of David and Bathsheba to bring forth the Savior of the world. Centuries after David died, Jesus Christ would be called by the honorary title "Son of David." (Matthew 9:7, etc.) Even though David and Bathsheba deeply sinned, God redeemed their union to offer salvation to us all.
Consider the ways you have misused your power. Consider your sins, your regrets, your misdeeds. The things you are ashamed of, the things you would like to forget. If God can bring salvation out of David's sins, what can he do with your sins?
The Good News is that through Jesus' death and resurrection, you can be forgiven of all your sins.
And there is more. Christ is the Redeemer as well as the Forgiver. He can bring forth great good, healing and wholeness even from your darkest moments.
Call out to him and ask him to do this. Then find a church community where you can know him and his great love for you even better.