But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 1 Corinthians 1:23
Years ago, an executive from a soap company and a pastor were walking down the street. They were to attend a meeting where they would be honored by their city for their contributions. With a snide sort of smirk, the soap manufacturer said, “Reverend, you know when you get down to it, the Gospel hasn’t done that much good, has it? There is still a whole lot of wickedness in the world with a whole lot of wicked people doing that wickedness, too!”
The pastor was quiet—not because he had nothing to say, but because he wanted to say his piece in the right way. Soon they passed a child who was making mud pies. The boy’s hands were dirty; his face was dirty; his clothes were dirty. Realizing the opportunity, the pastor said, “You know, I see that soap hasn’t done much good in the world. There is still a whole lot of dirt and a whole lot of dirty people are still playing in it.” The executive rose up in defense and replied, “But soap is only useful when it’s used.” And the pastor said, “So it is with the Gospel of Jesus.”
I don’t know what stumbling blocks Satan has placed before you. I can, however, describe what is happening in your life. See if this doesn’t fit: Things haven’t turned out like you thought they would. Your happiness is scarred by stress and sorrow. Your dreams are darkened. You have tried as hard as possible to be a compassionate and concerned individual, a faithful family member, a loyal employee, a responsible and reliable citizen. You’ve tried, but it hasn’t worked out right. If that describes your life, then I have good news: Jesus Christ, came into this world to save sinners. He sends His Spirit to call us; He gives us Baptism to wash us; He shed His blood to save us.
It’s just that simple. God has a cure for what ails you. His is the cure that will change your life. Have you been lonely? There is nowhere you can go where you can ever be separated from the love of God, which comes to you in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Have people let you down? Jesus will always lift you up (James 4:10). Has your life been a fiasco of foolishness? Jesus has come so you might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). And that is not a stumbling block to trip you up. It’s God’s stepping-stone to lift you up.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on March 23, 2003
THE PRAYER: Dear God, You know about the stumbling blocks in my life. Please give me Your wisdom and strength, so that my stumbling blocks are simply stepping-stones. In Your Name, Amen.