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    What are your thoughts or questions about this part of a sermon:


    -Paris Reidhead.

    Would I be out of line in order if I were to talk to you for a little

    while about utilitarian religion and expedient Christianity? And a

    useful God? I would like to call attention to the fact that our day is

    a day which the ruling philosophy is pragmatism. You understand

    what I mean by pragmatism? Pragmatism means if it works it's

    true. If it succeeds it's good. And the test of all practices, all

    principles, all truth, so called all teaching, is do they work? Do they work?

    Now - according to pragmatism, the greatest failures of the ages

    have been some of the men God has honored most. For instance,

    whereas Noah was a mighty good ship builder, his main

    occupation wasn't shipbuilding, it was preaching. He was a terrible

    failure as a preacher. His wife and three children and their wives

    were all he had. Seven converts in 120 years, you wouldn't call

    that particularly effective. Most mission boards would have asked

    the missionaries to withdraw long before this. I say as a ship

    builder he did quite well, but as a preacher he was a failure.

    And then we come down across the years to another man by the

    name of Jeremiah. He was a mighty effective preacher, but

    ineffective as far as results were concerned. If you were to

    measure statistically how successful Jeremiah was, he would

    probably get a large cipher. For we find that he lost out with the

    people, he lost out with royalty, even the ministerial association

    voted against him and wouldn't have anything to do with him. He

    had everything fail. The only one he seemed able to please was....

    God, but otherwise he was a distinct failure.

    And then we come to another well known person, the Lord Jesus

    Christ, who was a failure according to all the standards. He never

    succeeded in organizing a church or denomination. He wasn't able

    to build a school. He didn't succeed in getting a mission board

    established. He never had a book printed. He never was able to get

    any of the various criteria or instruments that we find are so useful

    (I'm not being sarcastic at all, they are useful). And our Lord

    preached for three years, healed thousands of people, fed

    thousands of people, and yet when it was all over there were 120...,

    500 to whom he could have revealed Himself after His resurrection.

    And the day that He was taken, one man said, "If all the others

    forsake you, I'm willing to die for you." He looked at this one and

    said "Peter you don't know your own heart. You're going to deny

    me three times before the cock crows this morning." So all men

    forsook Him and fled. By every standard of our generation or any

    generation, our Lord was a single failure.

    The question comes then to this, what is the standard of success

    and by what are we going to judge our lives and our ministry? And

    the question that you are going to ask yourself, "Is God an end or

    is He a means?" Our generation is prepared to honor successful

    choices. As long as a person can get things done or get the job

    done then our generation is prepared to say well done.

    And so we've got to ask ourselves at the very outset of our ministry,

    and our pilgrimage, and our walk, "Are we going to be Levites who

    serve God for ten shekels and a shirt?", serve men perhaps in the

    name of God, rather than God. For though he was a Levite and

    performed religious activities, he was looking for a place, which

    would give him recognition, a place which would give him

    acceptance, a place which would give him security, a place where

    he could shine in terms of those values which were important to

    him. His whole business was serving in religious activities, so it

    had to be a religious job. He was very happy when he found that

    Micah had an opening. But he had decided that he was worth ten

    shekels and a shirt, and he was prepared to sell himself to anyone

    that would give that much. If somebody came along and gave more,

    he would sell himself to them. But he put a value upon himself and

    he figured then his religious service and his activities were just a

    means to an end, and by the same token, God was a means to an end.

    ~[From Paris Reidhead's sermon - "Ten Shekels and

    a Shirt"]