Sermon illustrations can be dangerous especially when it comes to the application. Rather than providing an example of one way that a particular lesson can be applied, they can create an often unreachable example of how the lesson should be lived out.
As I closed my sermon with the story of Scott Harrison, a man who left the NYC nightclub scene to found charity: water. He has an inspiring story. But maybe too inspiring. If he's the standard, then we are all failures. Few of us will enjoy the success that he has enjoyed. And a few of us will have the opportunity. Most of us have God-given commitments that prevent us from liquidating our worldly possessions and starting our own charity.
So how are those of us who are past our active years, or caring for a spouse or children, or working in vocations we feel that God has directed us to supposed to live out this call of Jesus to deny self and take up our cross and follow him? (see Mark 8:34 NIV).
Is it possible to fulfill this calling without changing our vocations or abandoning our families? I think so. I think it is all about the focus of our work. You can be a self-serving director of a charity. And you can be a Christ-led schoolteacher or retiree.
In his book "So tell me a story" the Rev. Dr. Stephen Farris shares this vignette:
There is an old story about John Calvin preaching a sermon in Geneva about glorifying God, a key element in the Reformed tradition. The baker of Geneva was very much take back by the sermon and approached Calvin to ask a key question. “Master Calvin, how may I glorify God?” He expected a very spiritual or religious answer, but instead Calvin replied, “Bake good bread.”
Whatever our station in life, we can put Christ's service at the forefront. So what would it mean for you to follow Christ in your work and your play?