Our ministry team was together for a night of fellowship not too long ago and somehow we got to sharing memories about our childhood. Now Gayle, my Administrative Assistant, rewound the tape of her life all the way back to her first day of kindergarten. She survived the school part alright, it was that bus trip home that was the problem. She sat in the back and all the other kids got out at their stops and as the bus driver unknowingly drove right past her stop - in fact her stop was near the beginning of the road! But Gayle said she was so painfully shy then, she just didn't speak up. So finally there was just one little girl left on the bus and the driver looked in the rearview mirror and said, "Ah, little girl - where's your stop?" Well, it's a good thing he asked, she might still be on that bus! This is a time to speak up, not to be silent!
Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "Stopping the Bus in Time."
Here's a shy little girl riding the bus on her first day of school and inside she's saying, "This is going past where it is supposed to stop!" But she didn't say anything. Well, a lot of us who are all grown up make that same mistake. Abraham did.
Our word for today from the Word of God begins at Genesis 16:1, "Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children.'" Actually the Lord had promised them a son in their old age. She couldn't wait any longer. "'Go, sleep with my maidservant,'" she says, "'Perhaps I can build a family through her,'" - I want to put in there, duh!, this is not a good idea, but listen - "Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant she began to despise her mistress.'" Well, I tell you this is only the beginning of big-time trouble! I mean, not only was there a problem between Hagar and Sarai, but then between the two sons Ishmael and Isaac, and today those are the Arabs and the Jews in the Middle East! It goes right down to now. Next time you hear of some violence between the Jews and the Arabs in the Middle East you could just say 'way to go Abraham!' He should have stopped this thing! He had to know this was not God's will. In a sense the bus should have stopped right there, when the sinful detour was just an idea, like that shy little girl on that bus, he didn't speak up when things were going too far.
Now that kind of deadly silence is still going on today, maybe in your life. Something in you says this has got to stop right here, this is wrong! Well, actually that is Someone saying - that's the Holy Spirit. But you're afraid to speak up and the bus keeps rolling right into sin and its consequences. You know, maybe you need to say "this is far enough." I mean, it reaches into so many real life situations.
When those people are about to watch or listen to something that Jesus would never go along with or when the people at work are doing things dishonest or deceitful, or when you and your boyfriend or girlfriend are going too far physically, or when the conversation is getting dirty, or slanderous. The situations are many but our responsibility as the personal representatives of Jesus never change. If it's going too far, speak up!
In the words of Ephesians 6, "When the day of evil comes stand your ground and after you've done everything stand." If you know Jesus Christ personally the Holy Spirit of God lives in you and when He knows it's time to stop what's going on He makes you feel uncomfortable in your soul. It's actually God saying, "I don't want this to go any farther." But you're His voice. Unless you don't speak up.
Like that little girl's bus driver, the people around you may not know where the stopping point is, but you do and you just can't let things keep going. It's not a time to be silent, it's time to speak up!