Rick Hoyt was born with severe disabilities. He was unable to talk, walk, or use his hands. Doctors told his parents that he would never be anything more than a vegetable and that they should just put him in an institution. Rick’s father, Dick, was unwilling to accept this. He could see in his son’s bright eyes that he was not a vegetable. He eventually fitted his son with a computer that he can use to communicate by tapping a button with the side of his head. Not only did this enable Rick to graduate High School, but he also went on to college and got a degree in special education.
When a classmate was injured and the school organized a charity run, Rick typed out to his dad, “Dad, I want to do that.” So Dick prepared to push his son in the wheelchair. When they started the five mile race, many of those watching thought he would push his son down to the corner and come back. But he didn’t. He ran the entire five miles. Afterward, Rick typed out, “Dad, when we were running, it feels like I’m not even handicapped!”
So began the first of many races which not only included marathons, but triathlons as well. Dick really got into shape, leading some to suggest he try racing without his son. But he will not. Rick cannot race without his dad, and his dad will not race without his son. They are called “Team Hoyt.” Dick has become his son’s arms and his legs in the races. Dick outputs an amazing amount of time, effort, and energy for his son. They literally do everything together!
This is the way it is with my Heavenly Father. My sins twisted my life and rendered me a powerless slave to them. He took those sins and bore them upon himself out of love for me. Without him, I would still be enslaved. It is my Father who is at work in me both to “will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). Truly, I can do nothing without him. I am still weak, but his power is demonstrated in my weakness. He carries me through life with his strength. When I sin, I remind myself that I can do no better without Him, and that I need to reconnect with Him. I cannot do it on my own. Without him, I would be stuck right where I was. The strength that I now have is really not my own. He gave and continues to give to me endlessly.
It appears that you could divide Christians into three broad classifications. First, there are the Minimum Christians. According to the dictionary, the minimum is “the least quantity assignable, admissible or possible.” This would include those who attend as few services as they think is necessary and do the absolute least work they think they are required to do.
Second, there are the Medium Christians. They are comfortable in being “in a middle position.” They are not the strongest Christians nor are they the weakest. They are satisfied with being average, not the best but not the worst. Maybe they could be among the “lukewarm” (Rev. 3:16).
Then there are the Maximum Christians. They would be those who are of the “highest, greatest, or utmost development.” They are present for every service, are constantly striving to build up the church and lead others to Christ and are “ready unto every good work” (Titus 3:1).
Which of these three types do you think pleases the Lord? This has nothing to do with your talents. A one-talent person could use that one talent to the maximum. A five-talent person could use those talents to the minimum. The one who pleases the Lord is one who uses his abilities “to the proportion” of his faith (Rom. 12:6)
Paul gave this exhortation on giving to the Corinthians, ” But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving”. (II Corinthians 8:7) The word “excel” means to “abound or super abound.” Let’s strive to be Maximum Christians by always excelling in the work of the Lord.
Richard Kerr once wrote: “The most creative job in the world involves fashion, decorating, recreation, education, transportation, psychology, romance, cuisine, literature, art, economics, government, pediatrics, geriatrics, entertainment, maintenance, purchasing, law, religion, energy and management. Anyone who can handle all those has to be somebody special. She is. She’s a homemaker.” It’s a sad thing that many in the last few decades have demeaned this important job and made comments like: “Oh, you just stay at home? You don’t have a real job?” There is no job more real; there is no job more important than that of mother. If an outside job causes them to neglect their most important job, women will find that they have cheated themselves and their children.
Surely it is right for us to honor those among us who faithfully live out the role of mother. Though often overlooked, what our mothers do for their children has a huge impact on the future of our church and our world. As we learn more and more about child development, we come to appreciate the importance of this task. Can a woman do anything more important than instill faith in her children and raise them in the knowledge of the Word of God?
There are heroes among us — those whose deeds go far beyond their strength, far beyond their wisdom, far beyond all reasonable expectations. These heroes are called: Mother. Mothers, we salute you not only on Mother’s Day, but each day as you perform this holy task. As you sacrifice your own worship time to handle an unruly child or as you spend prayerful nights over a child who is sick, yours is a high calling. Let no one tell you otherwise. Our church needs good mothers.
A family was watching The Greatest Story Ever Told, a film on the life of Christ. One of the children in the family was deeply moved. As Jesus journeyed to Calvary, tears rolled down her cheeks. She sat absolutely silent until Jesus had been taken down from the cross and put into the tomb. Then she suddenly grinned and shouted excitedly, “Now comes the good part!”
Now comes the good part! Indeed it does! The resurrection of our Lord is the basis of our faith. Without it, we would be lost! Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
The gospel would be meaningless.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Romans 10:9).
Forgiveness of sins would be hopeless.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Present life would be joyless.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:18-19).
Godly living would be fruitless.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).
Future life would be worthless.
Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:1-2).
Do you understand what is at stake? If there is no resurrection, there is no Gospel; if there is no Gospel, there is no forgiveness of sin; if there is no forgiveness of sin, there is no present joy; if there is no present joy, there is no future hope. Just remember that Christ is preparing a place for us in His Father’s house and then comes the good part!
Crucifixion was often referred to as the “most wretched of deaths.” It was so offensive, that many Romans did not like to even mention it. This form of death was repugnant and only reserved for the lowest classes, slaves, and political criminals. If someone in the family were a convicted criminal and were executed in this way, it would have been a source of shame and embarrassment.
Of all the deaths to die, why was this the way Jesus died: If Jesus died on the battlefield in a blaze of glory, would that not have been a better story to tell? Outsiders often scorned Christians for the scandal of serving one who had been executed on a cross. Yet neither the New Testament writers nor the early church tried to tone down the cross. They could have just said that Jesus died without telling how he died.
What does the fact that Jesus died the lowest, the most wretched of deaths say about him? Jesus poured himself out as a bond servant both in life and in death. He also redefined glory. Glory is found not in heroic tales of marvelous feats, but in the simple and faithful service rendered to others in the name of God. Whether it is washing feet, a cup of cold water, kindness to the outcast, glory is found with the least of these. To be crucified with Christ, to take up your cross, dying with him daily, means identifying with the “least of these” even in the face of severe persecution. It means becoming nobody so that you will be somebody before God. The Kingdom of God is so different than the kingdom of this world. The greatest are the least and the least are the greatest.