Sermons - Scout Master's Conference

Sermons - Scout Master's Conference

Jesus' Scout Master Conference

By Tom Therault
A Sermon on November 7, 2007: Final Court of Honor for Nigel Clarke
Solana Beach Prebyserian Church - PCUSA, Solana Beach, CA, USA

Of course Jesus Christ was not a boy scout, never attended a court of honor, never earned a merit badge, lived 2000 years before scouting started, but I think the twelve character traits that all scouts aspire to are really stepping-stones to a quality life that God lays down for all of us. This path of life, I think and I think Nigel agrees, was most beautifully and fully displayed to the world in the life and death of Jesus Christ.

We all love and admire Nigel because Nigel strove towards those twelve qualities of a quality life. I believe that Cindy and Doug's beloved son Nigel points us to God's beloved son Jesus Christ. We've shared a few moments tonight admiring Nigel's life, and Nigel's family wants us to share a few moments tonight admiring Jesus' life as that is expressed through the twelve qualities that scouts aspire to.

Just a few quick thoughts:

Jesus Christ, if you think about it, was, more than anybody else in all the world, trustworthy. He always came through. He always followed through. One day he was out in the countryside teaching with crowds of people around him. It was late; they were getting hungry. Jesus said to his disciples, "We've got to feed these folks." His disciples said, "You're crazy; we've only got a little bit of food." Jesus said, "Have them sit down, trust me I've got a plan," and he followed through. He took what little they had, blessed it and fed thousands of people with food left over. Jesus always came through and always follows through; he's trustworthy.

Jesus was loyal, loyal to his community, loyal to his family. Jesus was a true blue Jew from the first day to the last day of his life. The second to the last day of his life he celebrated the great Jewish feast of Passover. And then in the last day of his life, when he was hanging in excruciating pain on a cross, he saw his widowed mother off to the side and his best friend John, and he said to John, "See that woman, now she's your mother. Mother, see that man, now he's your son." He cared about his mom, loyal to her to the very end.

Jesus was helpful. Now when I was young, scouts had this image of being strong husky guys helping little old ladies across the street. Jesus Christ was helpful, that is what his life was all about. One day he was teaching and a big crowd was gathered around. All of a sudden there were these hushed, sorts of gasps of horror, and the crowd parted. A man with leprosy stumbled through the crowd. People were making room for him; they didn't want to be near him. But Jesus, his heart full of helpfulness, stretched his hand out to that man and touched the infected, oozing, gross skin and the skin became baby soft and pink. This man had his life back. Jesus was helpful.

Jesus was friendly. Wherever he went he was at home. I love the story about this rich, rejected guy; rejected because he ripped everybody off to get rich. His name was Zacchaeus. He wanted to see Jesus so he climbed up a tree. Jesus, as he went through the village, looked at this guy and said, "Zacchaeus come on down, I want to eat with you tonight." And because of that mealtime with Jesus, this guy's heart was changed and he said, "I'm going to pay everybody back four times over what I ripped them off." Jesus was at home with all kinds of people.

Jesus was courteous. Jesus was a big man. I mean he had authority. When there was a big storm on the lake he spoke up and spoke a word and that storm came into great calm. He was a big man. But he always had time for little people; and he treated people with dignity and respect and was courteous, no mater who they were.

Jesus was kind; in fact one of my favorite video clips of Jesus' life was the way he treated children. One day, again teaching with a big crowd, a mother was hustling her two little kids through the crowd because she wanted those kids to get blessed by Jesus. The adults in the crowd said, "Get them away. We're too busy for kids." And you remember what Jesus said? He stopped the whole crowd; he stopped the whole show and said, "Let those kids come to me, because they belong to my kingdom." And he took those little kids on his knee and hugged them and blessed them. A kind man was he.

Jesus Christ was obedient. We don't know too much about Jesus' childhood, only one story remains of his teenage years. That was when his family, celebrating with their relatives and neighbors, went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They were heading home. A day on the road, his mom said to his dad, "Do you know where Jesus is?" And his dad says, "I thought he was with you." And his mom says, "No I thought he was with you." It was kind of a ‘Home Alone' experience. And so they rush back to Jerusalem and there they find Jesus calmly teaching and being taught in the temple. His mom says, "What are you doing to us, we were worried sick." And the Bible says that Jesus, obedient, went home with his parents. The Bible says his mother treasured this in his heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and in reputation before God and before his neighbors. Jesus was obedient.

Jesus was cheerful. Did you know that Jesus was known as the life of the party? His first great miracle was at a wedding feast where they ran out of refreshments. People turned to Jesus and with his great word of power he turned the water into wine to keep the party going. He was the life of the party.

Now boy scouts like to think of themselves as thrifty, and we're told that Nigel had some problems with thriftiness, I actually think Jesus did too, because Jesus was never in a hurry, like Nigel. Jesus always had time for people of all types and all stripes. He would lavish his love on folks. He was a man of great generosity. In fact he summed up his life this way, he said, "I didn't come to be server but to serve and give my life away for many." Jesus was thrifty in a generous way.

He was also brave, I love this about Jesus. He knew who God had made him to be and he wasn't going to let anyone pull him down. Even when people beat him down and nailed him up on a cross, you know what he said about those people? He said, "Father forgive them." Such courage, such raw bravery was in the heart of this man Jesus.

Jesus was clean. Now it sounds like Nigel loved long hot showers, funny thing is the only time we hear about Jesus getting near water was when he was baptized at age thirty. And I suppose he must have taken a bath some time before age thirty and a few times after he was thirty. But we do know that Jesus got into hot water when he wasn't really fastidious about the rules and regulations of his culture about washing your hands before dinner. And Jesus said to those religious authorities, "You know you guys really should worry not about clean hands so much as about clean hearts." It is what is on the inside that counts - its envy and jealously and putting people down and greed and sexual immorality. Those things come from within and that is what makes you unclean. It's not hands; it's about the heart.

Jesus was reverent. He was impressed; he was awed by the right things. I know some people who go ga-ga over pop stars and sports celebrities. They go ga-ga over big houses and big cars and with being with the cool kids on campus. Not so with Jesus, he was awed by the right things. He was in the temple once and some really rich people were putting money in the offering plate, and Jesus said, "Look over there. Did you notice that old woman in rags? She put in two coins. But I'm here to tell you she gave more than they did." Jesus was impressed by the right things.