***2019 Motto = Abide & Abound ***
“In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, although perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
1 Peter 1:6-7
Rev. Dr. E. Dewey Smith Jr., Pastor of the Greater Traveler’s Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia was invited to deliver the Baccalaureate Sermon to the Class of 2019 at Morehouse College. During his sermon, Dr. Smith used the following illustration of a conversation between a traveling salesman and the shirt he was ironing.
A businessman arrived at his hotel room and began unpacking his clothes. He took out his favorite dress shirt and placed it on the ironing board in preparation for an important business meeting. As he began to iron his shirt, the shirt began to talk back to the businessman. When the heat of the iron touched the shirt, it yelled out, “Man, are you trying to burn me?” The man replied, “No shirt, you have some wrinkles on you and I need to apply this heat so that I can remove your wrinkles in order for you to look your best.” “I’m applying this heat and this pressure in order to make you better.” The shirt once again protested, “That iron is HOT! Be careful that you don’t burn me!” The man gently replied, “Shirt, I had to sacrifice in order to buy you. You have been bought with an expensive price. Anything that I have bought, I’m going to take good care of. I’m trying to make you better, because I know how much you’re worth!” One last time the shirt objected, “This heat is too much! You’re going to burn a hole right through me.” To which the man replied, “Before I started to iron you, I looked at your tag. I know what you’re made of. And I specifically set the temperature of this iron to match the material you’re made of. What you’re experiencing in this heat and this pressure is not meant to harm you. I promise, it is not more than you can bear. I’m trying to make you better because I know what you’re made of! I won’t put more on you than is absolutely necessary to make you look your best. Now shirt, I love you—you are my favorite shirt. But I won’t wear you with wrinkles. I will only show you off, when you look your best!”
For each of you feeling the “heat and pressure” of this life, don’t grow weary—God is only trying to make you better. God knows what your best looks like. God knows the price he paid for you. God knows what you’re made of. And God will never put more on you than you can bear. God will take you just as you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. Like gold refined in the fire is free from all impurities, God wants you to be a stunning reflection of Jesus!