Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

          Have you ever considered that many of us are born into this world behind the eight ball? Behind the eight ball is a phrase that is derived from the game of billiards.

          When the cue ball which is normally white is positioned, usually accidentally in close proximity to the eight ball, the player up next is presented with a very difficult shot. For some, a successful completion is  next to impossible.

          In human life parlance, we notice that lots of people fall into that behind the eight ball scenario. The Bible tells us of one such character by the name of Nehemiah.

          Nehemiah was in a real jam.  His job was that of a cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes.  The cup bearer’s duty was to bring liquid refreshment such as wine to the king.

          It was customary for the cup bearer to also sample the wine beforehand, just in case someone was trying to kill the king by poison.  In Nehemiah’s case, he would drop dead before the king could taste the wine!

          This was risky business! So, you might say that Nehemiah’s whole life was behind the eight ball because his chances of mere survival were minimal.

          But…and it was a big one…Nehemiah was born for a purpose. And, that purpose was nothing short of taking the lead in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  Who but God could pull off such a feat?

          (Jerusalem had been virtually destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and almost a century passed before Nehemiah was to return and help rebuild.)

          Nehemiah would fulfill God’s calling and vision for his life and eventually he would go on to become governor of Jerusalem. So, what does this have to do with anything?

          Well, all of us came into the world in the usual way.   Some of us came into the world with little chance of success…but thrived and achieved anyway.

          And, maybe you feel that you were someone who came into the world right behind the eight ball and maybe life did not begin with a great start. Even so, God has a plan for every life!

          The Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).”

           Even so, Jeremiah was not moved by this conversation with God. He replied, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.   I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy (Jeremiah 1:6 MSG)!”

           It sort of tickles me how we witness numerous times in the Bible that when God speaks to call someone into action, the first response is a) “I am not worthy” and b) “Go find somebody else!”

          In the end, old Moses and Jeremiah both stepped up their game; and,  were obedient to the Lord’s calling. Both lives were behind the eight ball at the time, with no chance of success.

          But, God had a plan for their lives! And, I am the kind of person who believes that God has a plan for every life!

          God created every life for a purpose.   Nehemiah proves that no one has to remain behind the eight ball.

          There is no way for us to know everyone’s story, the circumstances of one’s birth or the challenges of their upbringing. But, we do know these issues are overruled by one very important factor: God knew each of us before we were born!

           God destined every human being with purpose. All that any of these biblical characters had in common was in not refusing God’s calling upon their lives.

          When we boil things down, none of us has any excuses for remaining behind the eight ball. The creator of the Universe has a job for everybody.

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