Greeneville-Greene County Ministerial Association Thanksgiving Service
Notre Dame Catholic Church
I learned three truths from my high school Sunday school teacher. Bill was not only my middle school baseball coach, but he played an influential part in my growth as a Christian. Bill nearly lost his life in an industrial accident involving a steel coil, a crane, and his standing in a safety zone. Bill survived many surgeries to overcome being slammed through a wood wall by the steel coil. His faith in God influenced my faith in Jesus Christ.
The first truth I learned from Bill is that chalk erasers can make cool designs on the Sunday School room wall. That’s right; we high school Sunday School students were given the freedom to throw those old-fashioned chalk erasers around the 12’x12’ Sunday School classroom! Hey, at least we were in the church. We also learned a bit about God, Jesus, and what it meant to be a Christian!
The second truth Bill taught us is that we can thank God for at least one thing each day. No matter what our day was like, we could tell God thanks for what we have. If it was only thanking God for the air we breathe, then tell God we appreciate the air! This season of giving thanks is about thanking God for what we have. This season of giving thanks is a good time to start thanking God for one thing each day. We may not all be able to make cool designs with chalk erasers on our Sunday School room walls, but we all can thank God for one thing each day of our lives.
The third truth that Bill, my Sunday School teacher, taught me was belief in Jesus is needed in this life. For me, this truth is equal to saying Jesus is “Believable Bread.” The crowds followed Jesus around the sea. Jesus told them they just wanted their fill of the barley loaves the boy had offered and Jesus had multiplied. This is not the only bread for which we can work.
A. What food endures for eternal life (6:25-29)
1. The barley bread was a sign of something more important
2. The Son of Man has food that will endure for eternal life
3. How do we get this food that Jesus has for us?
4. We believe in Jesus Christ
5. What a great truth for us, for Greeneville & Greene County, and the world! Yes, the food that we consume each day is only good for the day of consumption. There has to be more to this life than only working for the food which doesn’t last. Believing in him who God has sent looks more promising than food that doesn’t last. What more do we need in this life? We need bread that gives us life. Where can we find such believable bread?
B. Jesus is the bread of life (6:30-35)
1. The manna in the wilderness came from heaven
a. After the Israelites grumbled about not having any food or water, God provided both
b. Water came from a rock
c. Manna came 6 days a week for 40 years! (2x as much on each day before the Sabbath)
d. God also provided quail
2. Moses didn’t give this bread, God gave it
3. God has bread that can give life to the world
4. The crowd eagerly wanted this bread!
5. Jesus told them (and us): I am the bread of life!
a. Come to him – believe in him, and you won’t be hungry
b. Come to him – believe in him, and you won’t be thirsty
6. The bread we find today has so many additives and preservatives that it can last for months on a shelf. But, it is not these additives and preservatives that can add anything to our lives. It is believing in Jesus which gives us life. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like “believable bread.”
The two out of three truths my Sunday School teacher taught me may actually help me in life. The memory of throwing chalk erasers may bring a grin to mind. At least I was in church back then.
Thanking God for one thing each day does help me. For God has given me so much, it is even possible to thank Him for many more items than just one each day. This truth has helped me in my life. I am sure it will help you in your life.
Belief in Jesus is needed in this life. This is a truth that Bill taught me which can help each of us. It is through believing in Jesus that allows this Ministerial Association to provide food through the Food Bank. It is through believing in Jesus that allows this Ministerial Association to provide housing through the Opportunity House. I hope that belief in Jesus helps you receive what you need in life.
This sermon is dedicated to the memory of Bill Knox. Rest in peace, my teacher and Christian brother.