Sermon: 20th October 2019

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On Healing

2 Timothy 2.8-15  &  Luke 17.11-19

Our subject is healing today

Have you ever bought a lottery ticket?

I was in Scotland to lead the funeral of a friend this week.

He was the only person I know who used his date of birth and his date of death as his lottery numbers? You heard me correctly he used his date of death as his lottery ticket number and did so for many years.  Half-way through his life, he became frustrated with himself and his ineffectiveness. He decided to utilise his greatest asset his relationship with God and he also selected his date of death when he would be double his then age and strove to improve his practice. He changed his ways. He actually fell short by 3 years but the thought really helped him and he was nearly 90. He had various very serious illnesses including to his heart through the years, but he was unperturbed as he saw himself living through the discomfort and it helped him relax and cope remarkably well with illness. Undoubtedly his new thinking helped his healing and his inner peace.

I witnessed him in pain, his chest pulsing with an aortic aneurysm and have to be taken from or house with Donna in an ambulance with the blue light flashing and he was calm.  He was never worried by such things.  He was very thankful to God for is life and he wanted more of it.  He became a minister, quite late in his life and served with compassion and creativity in Fife, where he was greatly loved. His old church was full for his funeral, he had been a loyal and faithful servant who was lived with courage and openness.

When he was a young Christian in Liverpool a nurse came from Scotland to undertake her infectious diseases course. She was an Indian woman, an orphan, brought up in Dr Graham’s Home at Kalimpong. He fell for her in his words, “hook, line and sinker” and what an effective, loving, hospitable team they became.  But marrying across cultures, continents and with different skin tones was not appreciated aby everyone even within his own family.  He was criticised at a time when he wanted family support, but  he showed undaunted courage and carried on.

We are thinking about healing today

Crucial question from Jesus is this one, “You want to be well? 

It is a crucial question for any one of us who are suffer long term afflictions and illnesses then and now. If you choose to wallow in your discomfort then not even Jesus can help.  

 In  Luke 17:11-19 we uncover a key attitude for those who are healed, because healing is more than freedom from symptoms. Some of us can be whole, wholesome and healed and still have a long term condition and one day I will tell some stories of such people.  

The good attitude is one of gratitude:

Don’t you love how generous Jesus is with His time, skills and energy towards people on the edges of society? Leprosy was (and still is in some parts of the world) a terrible alienating and isolating disease, but Jesus comes to reach the sick and lost, leaving the 99 safe sheep to find and restore the lost one. One reason for not getting alongside some people to share God’s love, health and hope could be their lack of appreciation. But these people’s healing from Jesus wasn’t dependent upon their gratitude, it was grace. Gratitude is surely the response one hopes for, indeed the ‘attitude of gratitude’ can deepen our quality of life and lift us out of dark holes that we find ourselves in.  Of these 10 Lepersin   Luke’s gospel only one reveals the best attitude – thankfulness.  Most of you will, I think, know the stories of Jesus teacher and healer extraordinary! The 10 lepers all receive the same healing but only one is thankful enough to return and show their appreciation.

You may or may not know the story of Tony Robbins.  Tony’s work with high performance athletes.  He was been asked to White House to give advice to Barack Obama, during his tenure as President. 

An American, this is his account of the key day in his life – Aged 11 years. He was witnessing his Father messing up his life. His Dad and the family had issues unemployment and lack of money. His Dad saw his predicament and stated, “No one cared about us!” However at Thanksgiving, which is a major event in American life and a food parcel arrived. Tony’s father responded to this. He decided this is charity and he couldn’t take it. He said, “I’m worthless and I’m leaving here!

It was the key day in Tony’s life  – because there are two possible responses to receiving a gift of food –  The Father’s and the Son’s

Father’s and Tony’s

This is food – great, Someone’s gift (strangers care) and I am also going to respond do something about it

Saved hard for years by 17 he had saved enough to anonymously feed 2  families. He was really proud of this achievement. When 18 – 4 families then 8, Hey now I need some help. friends involved. He had establish a model of using what he had and serving

Tony today is actually is responsible for feeding 2 million in 35 countries, that is an attitude of gratitude following a Thanksgiving dinner.

What makes the differences? (Tony work with high performance athletes, Teenagers contemplating suicide – people who needed real changes quickly– In 29 years he has not lost a teenager) 

What are you going to do with your attitude?

Can you be more grateful? Create an attitude of gratitude in yourself.
Be more purposeful in the second half of your life like the first man I mentioned.
Be ready to express your appreciation for the good things, like the leper.
Be willing to respond with generosity like Tony?

Do you want to be healed?

Let us pray

Compassionate Healer, you offer us new life in
the midst of despair and hopelessness. Beyond
our dreams, beyond our plans, beyond our
hopes, beyond our imaginings – you, loving
God, are there, eager to share your wonders
with us. May we be ready to receive and share them. Amen.

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