Plans Are Worthless…

IMG_1319for Sunday, August 11, 2013
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
12th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 14
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 12:32-40
props: hymn “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” by Ina Duley Ogdon
first note: This summer I’ve been carrying in my heart a quote from President Eisenhower: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”* While it certainly fits here, I think including it would make the sermon too clunky. I share it to help you. Peace.
*full quote found at at the Eisenhower Archives under “Anecdotes,” Remarks at the National Defense Executive Reserve Conference, 11/14/1957
second note: The first line of Miss Ina’s song (“Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,”) reminds me to sing the praises of Jill Stewart. Jill is my editor, researcher, inspiration, friend. Her name is not on each of my posts, but her fingerprints are. She is not that famous, but has quietly rocked the world of many, and made my corner much brighter.

Good morning!

One hundred years ago, a woman named Ina Duley Ogdon, who dreamed of becoming a preacher, was invited to speak at a big church rally. Unfortunately, her father was injured in a accident. Miss Ina decided to stay at home, giving up her preaching dream, to care for her father. The next year, she wrote a poem, “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,” to make the point that you don’t have to be an official preacher to preach God’s love. The words in her poem, which is now a hymn that we will sing with Miss Amanda in a few minutes, say: “Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, Do not wait to shed your light afar.” We don’t have to be famous to make a difference. We don’t need to wait for a special job or a special moment to share God’s love. Wherever we are, if we are shining with God’s love, then others far away in troubled places will be able to get through their tough times, much like a lighthouse at the beach guides ships to safe waters. When Miss Ina’s plans changed, she brightened the corner where she was, still making herself a blessing to others.

In our Bible story today, Jesus calls us to keep our lamps lit. Even when we make plans, we must be open to the unexpected…and be prepared to brighten the corner where we end up. Jesus tells us “Do not be afraid.” Instead, we should be curious about what the day will bring and prepared for the possibilities that will come our way. We don’t have to wait to be great. It is good to have dreams and plans and think about what to do in the future, but wherever God puts us, we can shine and share and be a blessing to others. And then we ourselves are blessed.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dearest Lord,
Thank You
for being my treasure.
Help me
to brighten the corner where I am
that I may shine and share
Your love
with others.

And now Miss Amanda will lead us all in singing Miss Ina’s hymn.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

3 responses to “Plans Are Worthless…

  1. This is great! I have worn out my usual lamp lighting message and am excited to use this one! Off topic (literally): do you have any thoughts on Jonah? It’s my text for this week and ALL I’m finding is “listen to God and make better choices.” Oy!

    Happy August!

    • How about you compare Jonah to the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7)? No matter that Jonah tried to run away and hide, God sought him and found him. I once saw a drawing of a shepherd patiently waiting by a big boulder while a lone sheep “hid” behind the rock. We can try to wander off, but I think when God has a mission for us, He will keep calling us over and over. Does this help?
      And off topic back at you: are you moving? like far away? or just for fun?

      • Thank you! This does help. I never would have thought of the comparison! Thank you!!

        Yes! We are moving…up the street! We’re staying in Baltimore city but saying “Adios!” to our little apartment.

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