SERMON TITLE: “Developing Physical Strength for Life’s Challenges”
SERMON TEXT: Daniel 1:3-5, 8-17
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: January 5, 2020, at Ogden First UMC
Do you ever read the comic strip Pickles? Pickles is about an elderly couple named Earl and Opal. In one of my favorite Pickles strips, Opal was at the beauty shop sitting under a hair dryer. She was having a conversation with the lady next to her. In the first frame Opal confided, “I used to have a dream where I’d lose so much weight that my skirt would fall down.” In the second frame, she continued, “Then it actually happened.” “Really?” questioned the wide-eyed woman beside her. “Yes,” Opal replied in the third frame. “Only it wasn’t because of weight loss.” The fourth frame held the punch line: “The elastic waistband gave out, and my skirt fell down as I was walking into church.”1
I couldn’t resist sharing that bit of humor with you because, at this time of year, many of us have dreams of losing weight. On New Year’s Day, I, for one, woke up determined to do something about my physical health. Over the latter half of 2019, I’d added several pounds, so that my clothes have been feeling uncomfortably tight. Summer ice cream, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s Eve munchies were fun while it lasted, but now it’s time to start some healthier habits and get my body back on track.
I know I’m not alone in this desire and need to shape up and gain some physical strength. Many of you have been thinking similar thoughts and taking similar actions over the past few days. As we look forward to this new year ahead of us, we don’t know exactly what opportunities and troubles we’ll face. But we’re smart enough to know that everything we do in life is easier if we’re healthy and strong, and everything we want to do becomes a lot more complicated if our bodies are sickly and weak. That’s why, on this first Sunday of 2020, I invite you to consider the biblical story from Daniel chapter one and think with me about developing physical strength for life’s challenges.