|Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman. The Religion Network is an interfaith web site providing inspiration,
quotes and religious resources. Faith and religion are precious gifts that bless.
However you worship, I hope this
site enhances your journey. Let us meet regularly and build
a spiritual network. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.
The Other Miracle
A sermon by Dr. Jess Fletcher
First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Dr. Jess Fletcher is past President (1977-1991) of Hardin-Simmons University
in Abilene, Texas. Author and Baptist minister, currently he flies from his home
in Abilene to Richmond, Virginia on weekends to preach at the First Baptist
Church there. Many thanks both to Dr. Fletcher and to the church for permission
to reprint this sermon.
(Did you miss Part One?)
I believe in miracles. Within the last ten years, I made another trip to a hospital in
Dallas. Dorothy had been told that she had ovarian cancer and it had metastasized.
The numbers were pretty severe, suggesting widely metastasized. She went through
surgery, what they called 'stage surgery. ' It was supposed to make sure they could
get it all and when it was all over the doctor came back, looked at me, he said,
"I can't explain it, but we have no cancer. We couldn't find anything malignant."
I said, "What did those numbers mean?" He said, "I can't tell you, there was
just no malignancy." When she awoke and I told her, she said, simply,
"Thank you, Jesus." It was a miracle.
Sure, you can say it wasn't cancer. For me, it was a miracle! Folks, if you're not
open to miracles, you're not open to the fact that there is a God who is over, under
and in everything that we believe and that our faith starts with an ultimate miracle.
Now, having said all that, I’ve used up most of my time and that's not what I came
to talk about. I want to talk about the other miracle. You say, "Well, what
miracle?" I'm talking about the miracle that happened when Peter reached down and
lifted the man up. You see, that didn't happen. And I've watched enough of these
street scenes in enough parts of the world to know it doesn't happen. People will do
one of two things - they'll drop something in the man's little receptacle or the
woman's little receptacle or often (unfortunately) the child's little cup and move on,
thinking that they've taken care of their faith needs for the day. Or, more often, they
will look the other way, become involved in a conversation and just pass by.
When somebody stops and speaks, it already had this man's attention, that was different. Something different was taking place. Now when he said, "You're healed, rise up and walk," or "In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk," I wonder if the man thought Peter
was crazy, 'jerking his chain,' as the kids say. Sure, up like a bunny, right? But at
the same time Peter reached down, reached his strong right fisherman's hand down
and whether a reflex action, or what, the man took it and then the miracle happened -
according to the scripture. Then he felt the strength, then he felt the ability to walk.
The other miracle was Peter’s reaching out. This is a miracle that any one
of us can be a
Your morning worship response had you say, "Come, O Lord, and work a miracle in
me." What I'm asking you to do is say, "Come, O Lord, work a miracle through me." You're not the miracle worker, but you work for one. There is One who can work a
miracle, but He may be waiting on your hand, your voice, your word, your presence,
your awareness. When you become a part of what God's about, the miracle working
of what faith can do and mean in this world, you become those hands. And you can
be a part of that. That's the miracle I'm interested in. Do you realize that Jesus did all
kinds of miracles, but he didn't talk about any? What he did talk about, in ways that
we're still galvanized by it, is the man who didn't pass by on the other side, who
stopped and went to the man who had been robbed and severely hurt and thrown on
the side of the road and helped him. We call him the Good Samaritan.
You remember that man?
He reached out and did something about it. We all get this opportunity everyday,
if we have the eyes to see. Maybe we're not reaching down to someone whose ankles
and feet don't work. Maybe we are reaching out to somebody whose heart's broken.
We may be reaching out to somebody for whom life is just so flat they can't get
themselves up to do anything and you're giving them that word of encouragement -
that word of recognition. Maybe it's a child to whom no one is paying attention and
you stop and give that child recognition and encouragement.
In Abilene, there's a man named James Parker, who grew up poor as dirt in a
town called Sweetwater. There was a grocer there who hired him to be a sacker.
That man began to treat James like a father. Later he brought James into the business
and still later he sold the business to James and still later James took that business,
by then multiplied all over that area, and sold it for millions of dollars and became
one of the area's top philanthropists. I didn't know that original grocer, but he worked
a miracle in James. There's all kinds of miracles that can be worked this way in the
spirit of the great Samaritan. This is the other miracle.
There was an interesting little story on the internet of an African American woman
who was stranded on a California freeway one night during a rain storm. Her car had
broken down, she was well-dressed, she got out, soon she was soaked trying to wave somebody down because she was in a terrible hurry to get somewhere. But people just
kept whizzing on by. Finally, a young white man pulled over and asked if he could help
her. He took her somewhere where she could be dry and called a cab and he arranged
for her car to be taken care of. She said, "Give me your name and address." He said,
"No, you don't need to do that, this is just something I could do." She said, "Please!"
And he did. And a few days later a beautiful color television set was delivered to his
house and a note which said, "Thank you so much for stopping during my terrible
need. I was on the way to the hospital to see my husband who was dying. Had you
not stopped, had you not helped me, I would never have made it and I would not
have had those last few moments with him. Thank you again. Mrs. Nat King Cole."
I have a friend of mine who's just come through a very difficult illness and I asked
him how he felt about it and he said, "Well, I've made two resolves. One is, I'm going
to play golf every chance I get." I said, "What's the second one?" I really expected
something profound, and it was. He said, "And I'm going to eat dessert everyday."
Let me tell you about dessert. It won't do nearly as much for you as reaching out and
lifting somebody up. We're talking about doing yourself a favor. We're talking about
finding out who you really were meant to be. We're talking about having the eyes to
see people all around you in terms of the way your Lord and Savior sees them and
then reaching out however you can, to let him make whatever miracle needs to be
made in that situation. This is something we call all do. We can become ‘the other
miracle’ workers. You remember that movie they made so many years ago about
Anne Sullivan, who helped Helen Keller get in touch with the world.
They called her the Miracle Worker.
Any time we help somebody find their way, it can seem small to us but to them it can
be a real miracle. The other kind of miracle may be the one we see the most of and it
may be the one we need the most.
- Dr. Jess Fletcher
And now, the Last Word:
I prefer to make mistakes in kindness
than work miracles in unkindness.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
A beautiful thing never gives such pain as does
failing to see and hear it.
Dr. Jess Fletcher;