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God’s Unique Plan for Us

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God’s Unique Plan for Us

Sermon by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

I got to this this morning in a funny way; through Ephesians 2:10 and if you’ll look at the verse it will remind you of it though you hardly will need the reminder. It was something that somebody said to me that brought it back to my mind. “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

What brought that back to my mind is a man called Stanley Mcquaid that my wife and I know. He is a professor of law at Campbell University in North Carolina and he and I went to the same seminary. He was actually still on the faculty and I was a student at that time and we played together on the hockey team and all that sort of thing. He’s one of those brilliant fellows that did a law degree at our Queen’s University in Belfast (Northern Ireland), and then was called to the Methodist ministry. He did a complex doctorate in (Hugo) Grotius, one of the old scholars, and ended up teaching in our seminary.

When my wife and I came to America, he went back to university and did a medical degree and became a doctor. He then came to America and did an anesthesiology degree. Now he’s back in this law school which is quite well known and he is a professor of law who is a medical expert who deals with all these complex million dollar cases of injury. He shows the attorneys how to understand this piece of the medical puzzle and so forth. Stanley had settled in North Carolina and when we came here I looked him up to see him in his office. I remember he had a heart model sitting on his desk even though he was a law professor and he said to me, “Well, Ernest, I think the Lord has a wee work for us here.” I had never heard that expression and I tied it up with the Evangelicalism in Northern Ireland.

Then as I got to know Ephesians 2:10 I saw what he said and I began to realize that in a way that’s what we’re all about, all of us: has God a “wee work” for us? Then my mind went to the amazing truth that there is only of each and every one of us sitting in this room today. I have thought about that ever since I mentioned it to you some years ago and it’s just remarkable. I’m sure as you have thought about it you’ve thought that it is amazing because we’ve all know identical twins and we know fine well that they were very different from each other; even those who looked outwardly the same were very different in their relationships. Even Siamese twins are very different in their own personalities.

So it is remarkable that every human being seems to be unique. And we suspect that at no time ever has there been somebody like you. You don’t think about it too much, but when you do you think that that is remarkable and that’s how I got to this this morning. Now why do it? Does God do it just for the heck of it? Why does he make each one of us individually different from every other person that he has ever made? You must admit that it hardly matters how cynical you try to be about it, you can’t get away from it. All you can do is walk away from it and pretend that it isn’t so, but yet you can’t convince yourself that you are the only person like you. Shakespeare’s line is something like “Be happy because you are you.” Because there is nobody else like you.

Then I saw this: “works that God has prepared beforehand that you should walk in them.” And it was, to me, I think a revelation from God because I hadn’t seen it before and I’ll precede it with this – why do you think God has made us all different? Why would he bother? Why would he make us all

different from each other? And I did manage to get that far before this morning. I did manage to get to the point that it must be because there’s something of himself that is expressed in each of us that is not expressed in the others. And I think I’ve mentioned that at times to you before.

That’s about the only reason you can think of for him making each one of us different from the other, that there’s something that he wants to express of himself: through this person that he has made he longs for the work of his hands. You remember that verse “God longs for the work that his hands have made.” So he makes us each different from the other because it’s a way of expressing part of himself. I often look at the little Yorkshire dog and think what a dear, darling person must make a little animal like that! Who would go to the trouble? Or you see a little baby’s fingers and you think imagine the tenderness of the person who made this little baby’s fingers.

So I can see that could be why he’s made us all differently because it shows something of himself that nobody else shows and that helped me somewhat. But then I saw this “works” and I saw the reason we each one are here is so that Jesus can live in us. And Jesus lives in us so that he can bring the world in order under his Father by doing works that complete the creation.

You can probably see the next step: that each of us is here for Christ to do a work through us that he can’t do through anybody else. It’s ridiculous, but I don’t see how you can avoid it. I do not see how you can avoid that conclusion. That each one of us has been made in Jesus, as the Bible says there, for a work that he can do only through us. Before when I’d say to you that there’s nobody else like you, and there must be a reason for that and we even talked about God expressing something of a sense of it, but that you and I have been made in Jesus, God’s only Son, for a work which he can only do through each of us because the work is different. And the job I thought I could never do and that I would hate and was sorry for the dear hearts – the place next to hell would have been a gentleman’s public toilet or a lady’s public toilet in London, so smelly and so dirty, so retched. I looked at the poor soul that cleaned it and thought I could never do that and that’s why it seemed so wonderful to me that that work was specially planned for Christ to do through somebody.

My wife and I often talk about how we got the train early in Paris one day years ago when we were catching a plane. And of course who travels on the early train in Paris at 5am or 6am? The street sweepers – they’re the only people who have to get up that early. The train would stop, and a street sweeper would get on, and each of the other street sweepers would shake his hand, showing great dignity and respect. So I think of the person who cleans the toilets and who does all the other things; all the nurses who clean up after somebody has been sick, all the poor ladies who have done all kinds of things in retched conditions for their children. All the nobodies that nobody even notices – the little old gardener in Thailand – he was created for a work that Christ could do only through him. That’s what takes you out of the realm of Christian Corps and of thinking “I’m in Christian Corps and I must do my bit” and all that kind of thing. It takes it right out of that.

You’re here for a nobler thing than that. You’re here for Christ to do the work through you that he has planned and your job is to find out that work. Maybe it is just setting up the napkins for lunch. Maybe it is some little thing that hardly you notice, but each of us is here for Christ to do a work through us that he can do only through us. He can’t do it through your dad, he can’t do it through my mother, it has to be done through you.

So I’d encourage you to look at why you’re here on this earth and to talk to the dear person who has this work in mind for you. The importance of you selling is not what I say, that doesn’t matter at

all. The importance to you is what Jesus is saying to you and wants to do through you and you’ll only know that if you have time with him, if you talk with him, if you listen. If you go out of here and say “oh that was nice” nothing has been achieved. But if you go out of here really serious and believing “that’s true that the Lord is looking upon me now and he has things that he wants to do through me and I’d better find out what those are and do them each day, that’s why I’m here.” That’s why you’re here.

Let us pray.