#80 You Are Called By God To Be A Show Off (08/06/03)

The Message

By Robert H. Schuller

My sermon titled this morning is "You Are Called By God To Be A Show Off." The words are from Jesus.

"You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine that people may see your good works and glorify the Father in heaven."

Earlier He said you have the light within you. Don't hide it under a bushel. Put it on a bushel that all may see it.

We all tend by nature, for a variety of reasons, to closet ourselves in our testimonies, and we're shy about speaking out. Partly because of a fear that we might offend those who do not embrace the faith. Well the word today is Jesus Christ is counting on you to show off His light within you. Desperately needed for sure.

Mrs. Schuller and I took a little vacation for a few days and we went to Hawaii. And as we were checking in to the airport in Honolulu, and here was this security and there were two men together, both happened to be black, could just as well have been Oriental. But the one young black guy looked at me and said, "Dr. Schuller! Oh, am I glad to meet you. I am a Christian too. And" he said, "you know, it's a wonderful life, isn't it? You really preach the truth. You tell if they want to live, boy, follow Jesus." And he says, "Here's my buddy. He became a Christian two months ago, just saved." And his buddy was saying, "Yeah, I'm a Christian too. It's fantastic. I should have become a Christian long ago."

Now they're talking out loud, in public, in the security area where there's a line up behind us and a few other lines waiting to get through. And they're holding up everything. And everybody's listening. And I thought by George, he is doing what I'm preaching about this coming Sunday, when I'm saying you are called to be a show off! Yeah. Jesus said, "You're the light of the world." Let people know. Don't be ashamed. Never hide a light under a bushel. Put it on a candlestick that all may see it. We're living in a day and age when it's easier to do that than ever before because now we're living in a time when people are not afraid to express their opinions. They may be very controversial even bad opinions but they will verbalize it, tune your t.v. on and you'll be shocked at what you hear people express. And people with questionable behavior, admit to smoking drugs, admit to having what's obviously dangerous, promiscuous and sinful sexual habits. And they're not ashamed. So you can be proud and not ashamed to publicly express your faith and if something is going on in your community or in your board of directors or in your school or where you work in your company. And it's not honorable or moral, don't be ashamed to say I'm sorry I can't go along with that. I'm a Christian. Be respectful of others to have their opinion, but don't be rude. Don't be sarcastic. Don't be holier than thou. Be humble. Wow.

"You are the light of the world," Jesus said. Oh. "Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the Father who is in heaven."

Don't be ashamed to say I'm a Christian. And people won't be upset with you. They won't agree with you, they may not believe you but you can get by with it today and fulfill your holy calling.
So we went to breakfast one morning and waiting there for the waitress to come or maitre d' to offer me a seat and another couple came and waited and that gentleman looked at me and he said, "Dr. Schuller, I last saw you at Karen Carpenter's wedding." Oh yeah. I married them; it was a beautiful wedding. I said it was a beautiful wedding, wasn't it? He said, yes. I said, "A tragedy how her life ended too soon." He said, yes. So we got talking about Karen and Richard, whose now married and has five kids, which is wonderful. And he told me of his connection with them and think I should keep his name private because it would be known to practically everybody in America. And his relationship with them. But, we sat down, he said, "Join us," so I joined them. I think one of the first things he said was; "Boy it's a pretty dark world out there today, isn't it?" I don't know what that had to do with Karen Carpenter. I don't know what it had to do with anything. I don't know what he meant. I didn't pick up on it because probably he was for the war, against the war, maybe he had political problems, I don't know. But he lives in a part of Hollywood where anything goes. You don't need to be ashamed of anything you do anything you believe, no. I don't know what he meant. But he asked me some spiritual questions and his wife was very spiritual and very interesting questions.

He said, "Now where do you go to dinner?" I said, "Well, we sometimes eat here," he said, "so do we." He said, "What's your second favorite restaurant?" and I named the one and he said, "Oh, we're going there tonight. What time are your reservations?" I said, "6:30. Yours?" "Six." So when we came to the restaurant that night, they were sitting in a corner and they waved quietly to me. We had our dinner, they finished theirs, they came and the two seats on the other side of the table please sit down. They sat down, and we had more wonderful conversation and a real intelligent, spiritual level about the importance of marriage and the family, etc.
Then out of the clear blue, he asked me a question I have never been asked in my earthly life.

And I have given thousands of interviews the past 45 years and television, radio, newspapers, magazines, never asked this question. He looked at me, locked eyes and in a stronger voice said, "Well Dr. Schuller, what's your dark place?" I don't know. What do you mean? What's your dark place? Everybody's got their dark place. I said, they do? Oh yeah. What's yours? I said I don't know what it is. I really don't. I maybe have one but maybe the people can tell but I don't know.

Then he looked at me and he said, "You know what I mean." "Well if you're thinking sex," I said, "I can tell you that's not a dark place. Not for me." I was raised you see, in a little denomination, very conservative. And they believed in the Ten Commandments. It's the state church of Holland, the Dutch Reformed Church. Queen belongs to it. And we were told to live by the Ten Commandments. We were told the Bible says you shouldn't have sex till marriage so I didn't. Never tempted. And I said, "I hear about these ministers that get propositioned. I've never been propositioned." And I'm not complaining, I'm really.. But I said "I got married and we've had a wonderful marriage. Fifty-two years. Never had sex with anybody until marriage; never had sex with anybody since that's wonderful." He looked at me, he said, "I have never in my life met a man like you." Then he stuck out his hand, all the way across the table, almost knocking over the soup and he said, "Shake hands." Wow. Well what was that all about? I don't know. He lives in a different world than we do. Married to a beautiful and wonderful woman.

It's a pretty dark world out there. That was his opening line in the morning. Few hours later at dinner, what's your dark spot? He sees a lot of darkness in the world and I think he may see more out there than I do in the kind of life I live with the kind of people I work with. But it's a dark world out there. There's the darkness of immorality; there's the darkness of dishonesty in relationships, in business. It's a dark world out there. And so think of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago saying, "You are the light of the world. Follow Me and people will walk in light out of darkness." Boy that's two thousand years old and is it up to date today because you get out of here in a few hours or.. thought I'd make sure you weren't sleeping. When you get out of here and you go to work tomorrow morning, you'll know what I'm talking about. Wow.

What we need today are people who will become Christians and live it. Now that's significant. We need Christians, who will be a shining light in a dark world. First, what the world needs is a moral light, with moral standards. And I'm proud to see top level people in the government of the United States where morality is at a surprisingly high level, it's a dark world out there.

We need to say there are standards that we can freely choose or we have the freedom in America to break 'em and violate them and abuse them. What we need are people with the freedom of conscience and the freedom of this country to say these are my standards. You can't break them. We need to be moral lights of the world. We need to be motivational lights of the world. The world is despondent, discouraged, easily depressed, without a relationship to Jesus Christ. They don't have a God that's saying to them, you can do it. You can be anything you want to be. You can make it happen. Pay the price. Listen to me: you're the light of the world. Let people know that if you commit your life to Jesus Christ and make a commitment to Him, and you're honest and you're sincere, that anything is possible. May take you 50 years. But you can make it happen.

Light, moral light. Light, motivational light. Light, a missionary light. The light of a movement. A movement that's telling the world that we've got to have a Lord. And it's got to be from God. And it's got to be Jesus Christ. So here's where I'm at: I want you to embrace Jesus Christ as the light of the world for you. Then let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. You're called, not just to embrace it, but to show it off. And people will see you. They'll be impacted. The world will finally only be changed by Christians who show it off, who live it, with their words, their language, their behavior.

I'm thinking of Mother Teresa, reminded of her because our guest this morning fitted her with hearing aids. And we got talking about her. And I remember the last time I was with her alive in Tijuana and she says, "Dr. Schuller, I want a copy of that blessing that you wrote for the Crystal Cathedral." I wrote a prayer, it was, since this glass from the outside, it's a mirror. From the inside, it's a window. So I wrote,

"Lord, make my life a window for Your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect Your love to everybody I meet."

Oh, she said, "I've loved it. I've heard it before, write it down. I want it in your own handwriting," and I did. Then I said, "Okay Mother Teresa, here you are. You owe me one." So she wrote on a piece of paper in her own handwriting. I have it framed in my office. It'll become a part of the museum. It must never be lost.

She said, "Be all and only for Jesus. Let Him use you without consulting you first."

Isn't that great? I ask you to become a follower of Jesus Christ. I ask you then to let the light shine. Don't hide it under a bushel. And God will use you. Let's pray: Lord, good things are happening. Miracles are on the way. And You see them five, ten, fifteen, fifty, a hundred, hundreds of years down the road. And we are a part of it in time and history to keep that movement going and growing and glowing. Help us to show it off with a smile and a word of encouragement. Amen.

Now before the benediction, I'm looking at my notes; it was a pretty good sermon, wasn't it? I'm very insecure. I never think I did a good job until I go downstairs, Arvella will say to me, well done Bob. Well done. So I'm hoping she'll say it this morning. Oh, I forgot one of my illustrations. I'm looking at my notes. I have 18 grandchildren and a few of them are going to become ministers and one is Chris Coleman, and he preached, he's studying for the ministry now. He preached to the Academy the other day and he came up with a good line, he said to his mother, "Don't tell grandpa or he'll use it before I do." Isn't that great? And I probably would have. It fits in today's sermon. Wraps it all up. He said, "We are meant as Christians to stand out, not fit in." Isn't that great?

The Lord bless you, have a good week, God loves you, so do I. Thank you.


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