Even though our deacons have chosen to lead our church to re-mask according to recent CDC guidelines, what God’s word says is more important to me. This admonition of the Lord comes from the greatest sermon ever preached on this earth, The Sermon on the Mount. Clearly, Jesus is teaching his people how to live like the Children of God when the world wants us to be contentious and disagreeable. To me, living out the Sermon on the Mount is more important than what other people do or say. I want to be obedient to Jesus and faithful to everything His kingdom requires of me. In this case, wearing a mask meets the “turn-the-other-cheek”, “go-the-second-mile”, “give-more-than-expected” guidelines Jesus preached about. I gladly put my mask on today, because doing so meets the kingdom of God standard set forth by Jesus.
You have the misfortune of having a missionary as your pastor. I have done all kinds of unpleasant things over the years because God has led me to different countries, different language groups, different cultures and different politically challenging places to preach the gospel, build churches, and minister to people in the name of Jesus. I have had more vaccinations than I can count. I have eaten food that does not agree with my taste or my digestive system. I have delivered food, clothes, medical supplies—purchased tractors, surgical equipment, fertilizers, and educational tools—taught preachers, preached sermons, baptized new believers, and simply prayed with missionaries who needed encouragement. I have tried to do in my years what the apostle Paul said he did, “I have become all things to all men, that I by all means might save some.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
There is one country where I had to give up my identity in order to serve. This country requires you to hand over your purse or billfold, your driver’s license, your passport, and any other form of identification in your possession before you are allowed to enter. While in this country, you literally do not exist with any document that might identify you or prove that you were there. Your heart and soul may belong to Jesus, but your body belongs to them while you are with them.
When you’ve given up everything to serve Jesus, wearing a mask on Sunday is small potatoes. Of course, I will never say something like, “If you wear a mask or don’t wear one, you don’t belong at Grace and are forbidden to worship here.” I will never tell people with tattoos to leave, or those that voted one way or the other that they have no place at Grace. Notice that Jesus used the word “WHOSOEVER” while preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Mask wearing does not qualify you or disqualify you to worship. It simply shows others that you listen to God’s word and that you love others and want them to stay well and safe. It is not about ME; it is all about WE. So, put on your mask again this morning and let’s have a great time at Grace. Let’s practice together in one accord what Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount.