Live One Day at a Time With Jesus Christ
April 13, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
1Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers."
6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning!
Our topic and our title for today is “Live One Day at a Time with Jesus Christ.” I’ve been talking with a whole bunch of folks in our church and folks I know in other connections, and I feel moved to talk with you this morning about this topic.
It seems that there is a lot of worry going on in people’s hearts. Folks are worried about tomorrow and what it will bring. Folks are worried about what happened yesterday, and the regrets they have. Folks are worried about the roller coaster called the stock market. Folks are worried about the political scene. Frankly, I think we preachers are getting much too much publicity in the news, don’t you think? Folks are legitimately worried, too, about loved ones and how they’re doing. And in worrying about loved ones who perhaps have health challenges, they worry about their own health, too.
Yes, indeed, folks have a lot of worries on their hearts. And I can relate, too. But I say this, my friend – I say to you and to me, our challenge is to live one day at a time with Jesus Christ. It is no sin to be responsible, and it is no sin to provide for the future, but if we spend all our time worrying, if we spend all our time regretting, then we’re going to miss the blessing that is today. Oh, friend, let’s not miss it. Let’s live one day at a time, with Jesus Christ. Here’s the truth – the truth is that, even with the responsibilities and the worries that we have, there are blessings included in today. And we must not miss them.
Picture for a moment the Lord, thinking about you, His beloved child, and He sees His beloved child spending the day just worrying or just regretting. Don’t you think He would say, “Oh, my dear beloved child, I understand your feelings. But look! There are blessings in today. Won’t you take a moment to take a look at that lily growing in the garden? Won’t you take a moment to look at the daffodils outside your door? Won’t you take a moment to look at the lovely faces of the people that surround you day by day and realize that in the midst of worry and responsibility, blessings are included in today?”
Oh, friend, my prayer for you this week is that in the midst of the things that you have to do, that you would take a moment to live fully in this day with Jesus Christ. Because, you see, knowing that Jesus is by your side, knowing that you have a friend in Jesus, gives you that island, that foundation, that lighthouse, and allows you to enjoy this day. Oh, my friend, in this day, blessings are included.
There is a story told about a man who came to America from another country. He didn’t understand everything about American ways, but he knew that he wanted to go on a cruise. So he saved up his money and finally had enough to purchase a ticket on a cruise ship. He bought his ticket, and he began to pack. Alongside his suitcase with his clothes and other necessities, he packed a great big suitcase of food. All he could afford were boxes of saltine crackers and jars of peanut butter.
He packed them away, and he took them with him on the boat. Every day at mealtime, he would go to his room and open up the suitcase with the food, and he’d have his saltine crackers and peanut butter and water from the faucet.
One day, the steward came in to straighten his room at breakfast time, and he saw the man eating the crackers and peanut butter. He said, “Oh, sir, if I’d known you wanted breakfast in your room, I would have brought it to you.”
The man said, “Oh, no! Don’t do that! I can’t afford it.”
The steward smiled and gently said, “Oh, but sir, on this cruise ship, meals are included.” And what freedom and blessing came to the man after that, knowing that he could march down with full dignity to the dining room along with everyone else and enjoy the beautiful food that was served there. Meals were included.
So it is today, my friend. If we spend all our time just worrying about what’s going to happen or what may happen tomorrow or regretting the past, we may pass up the blessing that is today. I pray that you would know that in today, in every day, blessings are included. So won’t you put some fences around the worries of tomorrow and the regrets of yesterday and know that this is the day which the Lord has made? Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
I invite you to think of your life as a backyard that is fenced in. The yard has a back gate and a front gate. Out the back gate is a downhill slope to the worries and regrets that freeze us up. And out the front gate is an upward path to opportunity and delight and joy and love. I invite you to picture at that back gate a gatekeeper that is Jesus Christ. Before you go through that gate, look at Him. Ask Him what He would want you to do and how He would want you to handle those issues.
And when you approach the front gate of opportunity, see Jesus Christ. See His smiling face. See Him opening the gate for you, the gate to prosperity and joy, to opportunity and love, and see Him blessing you as you go through.
The scripture says these beautiful words: “The One that knows that I am the keeper of the gate will go in and out in safety.” That means that you can have security and blessing as you go in and out, because you have Jesus Christ with you. Oh, my dear friend, that is my prayer for you and my hope for you this week, that in this week, in the midst of all that you must do, you will remember that this is the day that the Lord has made; blessings are included, and Jesus Christ is encouraging you to have those blessings every step of the way.
May you be strengthened and blessed and uplifted this week, because God loves you. I do, too. Have a wonderful week. Amen.
© 2008 Anthony J. Godlefski