[No audio this week…]

Sermon by Rev. Mark Covington, Pastor
First United Methodist Church
Quitman, Mississippi
May 13, 2012

Topic: Five Things They Didn’t Tell You (Matthew 15:21-28)

1 Timothy 4: 6-12 (New Living Translation)

6 If you explain this to the brothers and sisters, [Timothy,] you will be doing your duty as a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed.
7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.
8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.
9 This is true, and everyone should accept it.
10 We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of those who believe.
11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.
12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

Some famous pieces of advice given to graduates:

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told students at Catholic University this month to live life boldy, and develop off-line relationships. Ladies and gentlemen, you can not kiss a cursor.”

Hillary Clinton’s 2001 line to Yale law school grads, “Hair matters,” she said. “Your hair will send significant messages to those around you . . . . Pay attention to your hair.” Hair is important . . . but not as important [as] integrity.

“Life isn’t on the semester plan. You don’t get a fresh start every 12 weeks.” –Unknown

“Never wear flip-flops after the temperature drops below freezing.” –Unknown

“Your families are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money.” –Gary Bolding

“The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.” –Fred Dehner

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” –Art Linkletter

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” –Beverly Sills

Here are five things they DIDN’T tell you:

1) Listen more than you talk. There is lots more to learn.

2) If you find yourself wondering, “Should I be doing this?” You probably shouldn’t.

3) Give more than you take. In this world, there are givers and there are takers. Much of history has proven that there are more takers than givers. However, those who have made real and lasting impacts upon their societies have been the givers, those who cared, those who dared, to work for a better society rather than its detriment.

Unfortunately, the takers often get more publicity, more recognition, and more monetary gain than the givers. Jesus repeatedly told his disciples that the first shall be last and the last first and that the best are those that are servants to all. I believe that.

4) Being a Christian is more than just calling yourself one. A young man named Napoleon was charged with cowardice was called in before the more famous Napoleon. When asked: “What is your name?” the young man replied: “Napoleon, sir” to which Napoleon answered: “Either change your name or change your conduct.”

Calling yourself a Christian is more than just using it as a name. I can say, “I am a Baptist” all I want but that does not make me one. You can call yourself a Christian, but just calling yourself that does not make you one.

5) When all else fails . . . read the instructions.
[The Bible, ]you see, is not just a book, it is a guide to pattern life from. In those pages is the record of God’s dealing with humans and humans dealings with God. But if that is all it was then it would be just a history book. That book is more about the present and the future than the past. That book can guide throughout your life, from now until you are as old as your grand-daddy, and beyond.

Over the next few years you will come in contact with a lot of books. Some will be good, some not so good. None of them can do for you what that book [the Bible] can and will [do for you} if you will let it.

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

You’re on your own,

And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

–Dr. Seuss


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