#178 (24/04/05)
Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow Part XII

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

ART LINKLETTER
He is truly a television icon. For decades we have been watching him on TV. In fact, he received the Emmy for lifetime achievement award. He has created and starred in the world renowned TV Show, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things.” In 2002, he received the National Humanitarian Award from the President of the United States of America. He is truly a man of God and a man who cares about people.

Special Music

Hymn
" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Jesus Lived and He is Living! "
" Rise Up, O Church of God "

Anthem
" The Palms "

Solo
VIOLIN SOLO – DR. IN HONG CHA – “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
JOHN DEBNEY – “Music from the Passion of the Christ”

The Message

My son and I have been preaching for some weeks on my latest book entitled Don't Throw Away Tomorrow. In my lifetime I can't tell you how many people I've seen that throw their entire future away; good people, talented people, gifted people, successful people because they run into a problem, a frustration, or a personality relationship. Those are the obvious reasons, but there is a deeper reason. Many people throw away tomorrow because they haven't learned how to live with the contradictions in everyday living. This is one of the most significant chapters I've ever written in almost forty books in my lifetime and in this book, Don't Throw Away Tomorrow, I'm dealing with the subjects that I haven't really dealt with before, like contradictions and assumptions.

Life is filled with contradictions

So this morning I'm going to give you my thoughts about contradictions. I can't tell you how many people walk away from potentially good ideas because they see there are some contradictions in the dream and they don't want to be a part of it. Sometimes that can be wise, surely on moral or ethics principles. But all of life is full of contradictions, all the time. Look at our society, we are free in America, but we still have to live under law. We're not totally free. Or see the contradiction of people who are so wealthy, successful and honored, yet still feel something is missing and they're unfulfilled. How do you account for it?

Then think of the contradictory orders that confuse us. We're told to "take it easy" but also "get with it." To "be serious" but also "relax!" To "have fun" but also "be good!" To "take a chance" but also "take care!" We're asked, "When are you going to make up your mind?" as often as we're advised, "Don't rush into it."

Even our clichés are contradictory, "Strike while the iron is hot." "Haste makes waste" K or "the early bird gets the worm." And then, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

There are contradictions in the clashing colors of clothing; in music (minors and majors, point and counterpoint); in architecture (make it strong, don't make it heavy); in physics, there are the contradictions (for every motion an opposing motion). It is phenomenal. In religion, start with Christianity K the Bible is a contradiction (Old Testament, law K New Testament, grace). Justice and mercy, that is the ultimate contradiction philosophically. Jesus is a contradiction (truly man, truly divine).

Notice that international politics is all about resolving contradictions. Or see the contradictions in relationships between mates, between spouses, between parents and children.

Yes, life is filled with contradictions. You are a contradiction. So am I. We're made in the image of God. He is a holy trinity, three persons in one God. I am a trinity, three persons in one, Robert Schuller, the brain that masters my thinking, the heart with its feelings and emotions, and a nervous system. We are a trinity, but we're an unholy trinity with a natural sin that is reflected in the unresolved contradictions in the single human personality. So how do we deal with these many contradictions?

1) Recognize life's contradictions

First of all, recognize that you and I are contradictions. More often than we are aware of negative things happen when we don't recognize the contradictions that are in every situation. Then we get frustrated. We get upset. And we get angry with ourselves or with other people and become depressed. Well, if we analyzed it, it's because there are contradictions in our value system, or contradictions in scheduling our time or contradictions in our relationships. And there are some people who are very positive and other people who are very negative, so we have contradicting viewpoints. Don't become a negative reactionary, look for the positive answers.

2) Resolve your contradictions positively

Murray Spangler was a janitor. He had no education, but he could sweep floors. So it was his job to keep the floors clean in a huge building. When somebody made a mess, it was his job to pick up the papers and pencils, etc. But how do you pick up the little tiny scraps and the dust in the carpet? Some people were just too messy and Murray Spangler had had enough, he was going to quit. But he didn't qualify for any other jobs other than being a janitor. Then an idea hit him, "I wish I could suck up this dirt." So he invented the first vacuum cleaner and delivered it to a company called Hoover and we all know about the Hoover vacuum cleaner. Thank you, Murray Spangler.

One of the favorite men in my lifetime has been Albert Schweitzer whom I never met in person, but I'm proud to have an autographed copy of his autobiography. Albert Schweitzer is well known for his work in Africa where he built a hospital in the jungle and taught the natives. He was teaching them to read and one day Schweitzer said to one of his students, "Can you help me a minute? I'd like you to help carry some of this wood." And the student looked up and said, "Well I'd like to sir, but I'm a dignified person now. I'm an intellectual. I'm a scholar. I'm learning to read." And Schweitzer looked at him and said, "Congratulations. I always wanted to be an intellectual but I never quite made it. I'll carry the wood." And Schweitzer carried the wood.

This is the world we live in filled with contradictions. How do you handle them? First of all, recognize life's contradictions. You have them. So do I. Look at the deeper level of your intimate human behavior, more honestly than you've ever dared to look at before, and there you'll find contradictions. Recognize them, then think bigger, think more beautifully.

3) Let go of life's insignificant contradictions

We always have family Easter breakfast together. The kids and the grandkids come to our house and today if all can be there, we count thirty people. Our family gets bigger with the grandchildren now getting married. For many years, our Easter breakfast takes place on Saturday morning, because we are always at church very early for our Easter Services beginning at Sunrise and on through the day. So on the Saturday before Easter we always have fun. When the children and grandchildren were little, Mrs. Schuller would hide little Easter eggs around the house and then in the trees and the garden. One Easter a few years ago, when David was just a toddler we didn't let him go outdoors. Instead, we hid some Easter eggs inside. So little David was having fun looking all around the house. Suddenly, I noticed he had in his hands, a China pitcher, very small, that I bought in Germany and gave to Arvella for her birthday. He was holding it as he stood on the marble hearth of our fireplace. It looked like he would drop it at any minute. Then it would be shattered. 

So I quickly said, "Here, David, give Grandpa the pitcher." He said, "No." "Please. David," and I reached for it and tried to take it. He said, "No, it's mine." So I decided to pull rank and I pulled it. Guess what? I couldn't get it loose. His hand was stuck inside. I wondered how could his little hand be stuck inside? Then I could see that he was holding onto a candy Easter egg. I said, "David, let it go. Let your egg go and give it to me." "No!" He didn't want to let it go. He said, "My egg." Think K Think! Think fast! So I went and got a bigger Easter egg. I said to David, "Look at this big Easter egg. Do you want it?" He looked at mine and immediately he let the egg go and I quickly grabbed hold of the pitcher and saved the day. We all need to let go of our contradictions and think bigger, think more beautifully. Think more positively.

Do you have contradictions about God?

You know, I meet too many people throughout my life who don't want to believe in God because they say there are too many contradictions. They say, "Don't ask me to believe in something where I can see obvious contradictions." Now that is a foolish way of thinking. Because almost every time we make a decision we use assumptions that oftentimes deal with contradictions. Don't turn away a good idea because you see contradictions.

I am reminded of Czeslaw Milosz, the Nobel Prize winning poet born in Lithuania. He lived and suffered under Nazi occupation in World War II. Then the Soviets came and took over and he lived under the Soviet occupation. He was a great poet who saw great suffering and he faced a terrible contradiction. How could he believe in a good and just God, when there was so much suffering and horror and tragedy in this world? How could a just and good God have created a world filled even with a possibility of cruelty and torture? And then he was influenced by the famous French wartime philosopher, Simone Weil, who taught him this rationale, "The world is so full of horror and hell and evil, that there must be somewhere the opposite force of goodness and truth. That means somewhere God must be." That settled it for him. The contradiction was now behind him. He became a believer in the God of love and he saw how this God of love was helping people to reach out to help other hurting people in a community of love and goodness.

Years ago I wrote a line in one of the books, on this same issue I wrote, "There can be no shadows unless there is a sun." When you see evil, there has to be a positive God or you wouldn't see the evil. You wouldn't know what bad is 'til you saw goodness. "Yes" has no meaning without a "no." Integrity is always affirmed in a dialectic, that's the philosophical summary. There is a God of love, be sure of that!

The ultimate contradiction was resolved on the cross

So, when you face the contradictions in life, you recognize and resolve them. The ultimate contradiction comes on Good Friday, because you see the ultimate contradiction is when death contradicts life. Which is true? Which is the ultimate? Death or life? Jesus gave us the answer. He showed us how to resolve this contradiction.

Yes, the cross resolves the ultimate contradiction between justice and mercy, between punitive behavior and forgiveness, between law and grace, between death and life. The soldier looked at Jesus Christ hanging on the cross and declared this contradiction: "He saved others. He cannot save Himself." (Luke 23:35) And that's the truth. Jesus Christ could not save others because He chose to save Himself. Think about that! That is life!

Every end is a new beginning

What we learn at Easter is that every end always introduces a new beginning. It is true for you and me. At birth, it is the end of living in a womb. When we became toddlers we learned to walk. That is the end of toddling and the beginning of walking. Then comes adolescence, a tough time in life because adolescence is dealing with the contradictions between wanting to be a child, but yet wanting to be an adult. It is an emotional contradiction internally. You want to be independent, yet you need your dad and mom and you need the house. Which way do you go? Every end is a new beginning. And every new beginning is progress. In nature the blossoms fall and seeds multiply. And so Jesus died on a cross but He lives eternally. Wow. We say we live in the land of the living. That's not true. All of us live in the land of the dying. But, when we die, that's a new beginning and it's the beginning of the life of living eternally! And when we breathe our last breath, and our heart stops beating, something happens and it is real. The soul still lives and we experience Eternity. Death is a new beginning and it is the beginning of the life of living Eternally!

Jesus Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26) That's the Gospel! That's the Good News! That's Easter! Hallelujah!


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