Shiloh SDA Church

Sabbath, July 4, 2020

Message by Jean Ricot Dormeus

What can I do today to advance my mission on Earth?

I salute you all in the sweet and glorious name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It is so refreshing to worship the Creator of the Universe in spirit and in truth. We feel revived and in awe in the presence of God. It is the time to detach ourselves from earthly things and cares and to focus on Heaven and its eternal Shekinah glory. It is the time when we get a glimpse of eternity and reach beyond the limitations of our mortal body. It is the time to praise, magnify and exalt the Almighty, the Omniscient and the Omnipresent.

Are you happy to worship God today? If you are happy and you know it, let me see your hands. Yes brethren, being in the presence of the Lord means peace, security and hope.

I would like to thank and congratulate Sister Yasmin for an effective management of the Shiloh Zoom platform and worship experience. I thank and congratulate Sister Simone for another creative and uplifting Sabbath School program. I enjoyed the cultural richness of the Caribbean expressed in their connection with Scriptures, on the occasion of CARICOM Day. I thank Sister Lurlyn for the special music item. I thank the leadership of Shiloh for this opportunity to proclaim the word of the Lord. And thank you brother Clement for your kind and generous introduction.

A couple of months ago, I read that the Portuguese billionaire, Antonio Piera, ex-President of the Santander Bank in Portugal, passed due to the coronavirus infection. His daughter wrote on social media: “We are a wealthy family, but my father passed away alone, suffocating, looking for something free, which is air… money stayed at home.” In their moment of mourning, Antonio Piera’s family and friends most likely didn’t focus their attention on the wealth he had amassed, but most likely on how many lives he had touched, how he had accomplished his mission on Earth.

As you can realize, the virus has infected royalty and mendicant, doctor and patient, jailor and prisoner, capitalist and worker, rich and poor, black and white, old and young.

Steve Jobs revolutionized technology in the world and died a billionaire from cancer. His money didn’t mean much, but what he did to improve mankind’s experience on Earth, the mission he achieved will never perish.

On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr delivered in Memphis a moving speech in which he said: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” Martin Luther King was satisfied to have accomplished his mission on Earth and felt ready for anything that could happen to him. Martin Luther King’s contribution to humanity, the mission he accomplished, will defy the patina of time and echo through the generations.

So this morning, I am asking you, “What can you do today to advance your mission on Earth?”. Everyone should have a mission and be conscious of it. There is something that fills you with satisfaction and joy, that triggers profound emotions in others and which you perform with excellence. That may be your mission on Earth, your pathway to contribute to humanity.

For example, Jesus’ mission was to rebuild God’s character in mankind and save the human race. He became flesh for that mission and suffered the cross for that mission. Nothing could distract Jesus from his mission.

Jesus never said, “What’s in it for me?”, but to the Devil in the wilderness he said, “Away from me, Satan. For it is written “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”

Jesus never said, “I am the best and the most powerful”, but he withdrew to a mountain by himself from the crowd who intended to make him king.

Jesus never said, “Me, myself and I”, but to the rich young ruler who called him Good Teacher he said, “Why do you call me good. No one is good, except God.”

Jesus never said, “What can I profit from helping you?”, but to Peter, one of his favorite disciples, who wanted to prevent him from suffering, he said, “Get thee behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me”. And he prayed for his torturers saying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.

Every single move of Jesus was connected to his mission and was guided by a single question, “What can I do for mankind today?”

Jesus sent us all on a mission, to love God and to love our fellow men. So the question you and I have to ask ourselves is, “What can we do today to advance our mission on Earth?”

In the book of Luke, chapter 12 and verses 34 and 35, we discover invaluable gems related to our mission on Earth. This passage displays jewels well kept in their protective and beauty enhancing case. Luke 12 contains 59 verses and we discover our text at the heart of the chapter. Now If you take a look at the book of Luke, you will notice that it contains 24 chapters meaning that chapter 12 sparkles at the heart of the book. A text in the middle of a chapter that is in the middle of a book must mean something special.

Jesus was warning a huge crowd against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, fear and worry, not to be afraid and was encouraging them to acknowledge him as the Son of Man. Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” This question marks an inflection point in the chapter. It diverts the flow of the teaching to a practical issue requiring Jesus to use his influence to rectify an apparently unfair situation.

To show the man who asked the question what is important in life, Jesus offered the parable of the rich fool the conclusion of which is repeated in verse 34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Then the answer hinges to another key teaching in verse 35, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning”. Verse 35 speaks to our mission and duties. In other words, our treasure should be at the service of our mission, we should put our money where our mouth is.

Tim, a Guyanese teacher, told me why he fell out with his best friend Narine. They were hanging out and gaffing one day and a man were passing on the road. Narine called him and said, “Claude, when are you going to give me my money?” Claude, obviously embarrassed, answered, “Things are tough my friend, give me some time, I’ll pay you back.” Then, Narine said, “You are my friend, my friend? Showing and shaking a bundle of cash, Narine went on, “this is my friend. My money is my friend and my wife, you’d better pay me or else.” From that day, Tim stopped seeing Narine because he wondered how he could be friends with someone who declared loud and clear that his money was his friend.

Perhaps you can think of some people who center their lives around money or material possessions and care nothing about others. Jesus warns us against the attitude of the rich fool who thought he had arrived. The rich fool could not see beyond his money. His thinking, in fact his world hinged about bigger barns and entertainment time. Too bad for the poor children who cannot go to school, not a thought about women victims of abuse or desperate people committing suicide, and who cares about the unemployed man with a family to feed? The rich fool commits his attention, his affection and his efforts to his money. People are just instruments at his disposal.

You may think, “What’s wrong with that?” Didn’t Solomon say that money responds to everything? True, money is extremely important, but Jesus said if you are consumed by your money, if your heart is on your money, you are in trouble. Why? Because of the transient nature of money. You have it today and tomorrow you are broke. It can be stolen, misplaced, invested in bad businesses. It can lose its value. Think about the great multitude of wealthy people who have become poor in Venezuela, in Zimbabwe, or even in the Western world, due to Covid-19.

As John Wesley said, “You should earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can.”

Jesus teaches us about genuine treasure. This kind of treasure lasts forever and stays in Heaven’s bank account. This kind of treasure is to achieve our mission on Earth through love and service. The irony is when you stick to your mission, you will always have money when you need it. When you love and serve God and people with all your heart, then you are not afraid and you don’t worry, because God keeps in perfect peace those whose hearts are set on Him.

Now in my country Haiti and all over the Caribbean I hear people say, I am not rich, but I have food on my table, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head. So I can take it easy for the rest of my life. Those people spend hours every day in front of their TV, they think of the next gadget to acquire, or the next cruise to enjoy. Many of those people engage in indifference and apathy, and do not seem to be bothered by the plight of others. They lost sight of their mission.

Luke 12: 35 urges us to be ready to serve. This verse means to monitor and pursue our mission. And verse 36 says, “Be like men watching for their lord, when he returns from the marriage feast; that, when he comes and knocks, they may immediately open to him”. Readiness spells life or death in many circumstances. Firefighters, emergency medical technicians, soldiers, physicians and disaster first respondents need to be ready, the right tools at hand, when the time for action arises. Every minute counts in a crisis. The firefighter who is delayed five minutes might find that the fire has spread out of control. The physician who is delayed five minutes might find that the patient has died. People in crisis-oriented professions train regularly so that they can respond effectively when the crisis comes. Being prepared for Christ’s coming has that same life-and-death urgency.

The question we must ask ourselves is “What can we do today to advance our mission on Earth? How can we alleviate the pain and suffering of our fellow men? How can we bring hope to our neighborhood and our city?

My friends, we are living in a perilous time. This is no time to cool off, relax and wait for our death. This is no time to exploit others or seek to accumulate an earthly treasure that is soon gone. Now is the time to give our lives a new meaning, in particular because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now is the time to love and serve like never before. Now is the time to hold on to our mission and nurture it day by day. When you reach your death bed, you will not mind about how much money you have accumulated, or how many houses or cars you have acquired. You will mind about how much lives you have touched.

In Luke 12: 32, Jesus spoke to his disciples saying, “Do not be afraid, little flock”. “Mikros poimnion”, the Greek for “little flock”, is a double diminutive, pointing to the extreme small number of disciples, and also the tenderness of the Master for them. Despite their smallness, the Father chose to give them the kingdom. They are exhorted to remember that they are the heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and that their treasures are there.

Many people think they are too small to make a difference in the world. Perhaps, they are conscious of their lack of education, or resources, or influence. Jesus knows about our weaknesses and limitations. He calls us little flock. He also says that we have the kingdom, which means regardless of our situation in life, we have all we need to love and serve, in other words to pursue our mission.

Jesus lived like a poor man, but he achieved his salvation mission so well that he has taken his seat at the right hand of God. The name of Jesus has become the source of salvation for the whole world.

John the Baptist accomplished his mission to be the precursor of Jesus. John’s cruel death reminds us that there is no such thing as a mission without risk.

Paul accomplished his mission of preaching the gospel to the heathen, so that you and I can have access to the tree of life through Jesus.

Nehemiah accomplished his mission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Joseph accomplished his mission to preserve his people from famine.

Martin Luther King Jr accomplished his mission to bring equality to America through love and non-violence.

Nelson Mandela accomplished his mission to restore the dignity of his South African people and unite his country.

What is your mission and what can you do today and every day to advance your mission? Your passage on Earth should not be vain. It should serve the purpose of God for mankind. We can enjoy a better life than our ancestors because many people accomplished their mission.

When I was a boy in Haiti, my parents used to take me to the Hospital Albert Schweizer in Deschapelles. That hospital was founded by the Mellon family and has saved the lives of millions of people since 1956. Thanks to the mission Larry Mellon and his family accomplished I have become who I am today. I could not become who I am without the mission that so many teachers, pastors, laypeople, judges, police officers and Government officials have accomplished. Actually millions of faithful men and women all over the world have contributed to give me a good life by accomplishing their mission.

The question I ask myself today, what can I do to accomplish my own mission to love and serve mankind?

Think of how many people have contributed to shape your life the way it is, because they accomplished the mission with which God had entrusted them. What can you do today to advance your mission on Earth?

Thank you God bless you.

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