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Sermon of the week

When love is fuller than full

Because opportunities to attend services may be limited for several weeks, the newspaper has invited local clergy to submit sermons for publication here.

Pastor, First Baptist Church, Durham

When Debbie and I got married, we often surprised each other.

I surprised her with my ability to drink a half gallon of milk at one meal, eating more than she thought one human possibly could, and my inability to recognize that the jeans I was wearing were way beyond dirty — and probably smelled just awful. (Really? I’ve only worn them for 11 straight days!)

The ways she surprised me were much more pleasant. Without a doubt, one of my greatest discoveries was her ability to cook. That first meal was — well, let’s just say my taste buds had never been so happy.

Over these 40+ years her cooking still catches me off guard. She’ll adapt some recipe and create something absolutely delicious. Then she does it again. And again. It’s silly, I know, but I still get surprised by what she can come up with.

I’m often surprised by something God does. I know I shouldn’t be. You would think after all these years of God’s blessings in my life, I would come to “expect more than I expected.”

Yes, I know expecting more than the expected creates a philosophical dilemma. I’ll let the readers solve that issue. Good luck!

The truth is, when I’m considering how God might work — what He might do — my sights often are set way too low.

Scripture teaches us that God makes a practice of doing more, being more.

Hindsight testifies that He often does more than we pictured He might do.

Consider Ephesians 3:20-21.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

“Immeasurably more” I’ve always enjoyed the King James translation of this phase. The translators chose “exceedingly abundantly.”

Exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. Other translators chose phrases like “infinitely more,” “abundantly beyond,” “super abundantly.”

Their translating challenge is that in Greek, it’s only one word, a word for which we do not have a direct equivalent in English. So we string two or three words together in an attempt to make the meaning clear. It’s a word that suggests “full, but fuller than full, a whole bunch more than fuller than full.”

You get the idea.

Last modified June 25, 2020

 

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