This sermon was suggested by my good friend Kendra a couple of years ago. I promised her I would deliver the sermon.
The following invite was sent out:
You are cordially invited to a Hairy Sermon on the Wednesday (November 29, 2017) evening at the Midweek Service at the Highway Palo Alto Community in Christ campus. Food is served at 6:30 followed by the sermon and prayer.
This long-overdue, 2-years in the making sermon surpasses Samson’s troubles. Even the hair-raising between Jacob and Esau pales by comparison! Furthermore, this sermon features a cast of hundreds of millions.
Join me if you can. If you can’t, I will be posting the sermon sometime this weekend on the Worship Jam web site. Email me and I will send you the link.
(I made angel hair pasta with a butter, garlic and herb sauce to go with the sermon.)
Here is the sermon:
The Hairs on Your Head
Fred’s Hairy Story
It all started in the 6th grade. With an early puberty, one starts to notice some things – like hair.
One evening after my shower I noticed some hairs on the drain screen. There were quite a few of them. The next night, there were more hairs there. I was starting to worry since my father had a receding hairline in his 30s and was worried about becoming bald. I was worried too.
I wondered when I would become bald, so I set out to figure it out.
I took some graph paper and taped several sheets together, making sure they joined perfectly together. Next, I molded the paper over my head, sort of like creating a helmet of paper. I then bent up the edges to where my hairline was, being sure to outline my starting “widow’s peak” in the front.
Carefully removing this fragile helmet, I set it down and pondered how to count the squares. I had to know how many quarter-inch squares were on my head. I borrowed my mother’s makeup compact and her makeup brush. I liberally applied makeup to the brush, basically digging the brush into the makeup and then painting the inside of my carefully-crafted helmet.
I had no idea how my mom found out I had borrowed her makeup kit. After all, I smoothed out the makeup in the compact with my finger and washed her makeup brush with soap and hot water.
I was feeling no love from my mom after she made her discovery.
Anyway, I carefully unfolded the paper and proceeded to count the squares that had makeup on them, also counting the half squares. I don’t remember how many squares there were, but it was a BIG number, especially for a 6th-grader!
But I remembered there were a lot of hairs in the drain screen. So, the next evening, I spread a washcloth over the drain and slowly let the water out after my shower, making sure to catch all the hairs. I was totally surprised because I had over double the number of hairs from previous counts. A lot of hairs must have been going down the drain.
I was losing between 30 and 40 hairs every day!
I then figured how to count the hairs on a quarter-inch square on my head. I took my father’s razor and turned the bottom causing the Gillette Blue Blade to be freed. I then went through three-quarters of a pad of graph paper trying to get a perfect quarter-inch cutout. After a couple of hours of cutting, I finally cut a perfect square hole out of the paper that was satisfactory for my purpose.
By the way, my dad approached me the next day with his razor and several small gouges (with bits of toilet paper stuck to them) on his face caused by the worn razor blade corners.
I was feeling no love from my father at this point in my life.
Anyway, I took my perfect hole and positioned it on my head so I could clearly see it in the mirror. I traced the hole with a short, soft-tipped pencil I found on my mother’s dresser. I then combed the hair straight back and proceeded to separate the hairs one-by-one, counting the ones in the black square on my head. I did this with my mom’s tweezers – the ones with the very sharp point that made the job of counting the hairs easier.
My mom again discovered my use of her (expensive) makeup pencil and tweezers. I thought I had straightened out the tips that were slightly bent when I accidentally dropped them.
I was feeling no love from my mom – again.
I don’t remember the exact number of hairs, but I believe it was around 90,000. It looked like I would be bald by the time I was 18!
Matthew 10:30 says: “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Maybe I should have asked God how many hairs were on my head and saved myself a week’s worth of math calculations! After all, it would have made my life a lot easier!
What worried me the most was part of the verse right before this that caught my eye: “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”
OH MAN! God knew every time a single hair fell from my head!
God knew I would be bald by the time I was 18 – and not even the old age of 30 or so!
Let’s look at the facts:
- After every shower a lot of my hair was at on the drain strainer.
- God knew how many hairs I had and surely He knew how many I was losing each day.
- God was willing them to fall from my head.
I had a question:
- Was it God’s will that I become bald by the time I was in my senior year in high school?
I was not feeling the love from God either!
Let’s look into this hairy problem. Turn to Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV) and let’s read
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
They didn’t have pennies in Jesus’ time, but they did have an assarius also called an “as’ – a Roman coin which is one tenth of a denarius. The Greek word aisar, was a common idiom at that time used to express a thing of the lowest, or almost no value, about 1-1/2 cents. Those sparrows were just about worthless – just ¾ of a cent each and not much meat on those bones either!
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
Well, that’s a relief! God was talking about sparrows and not my hair falling to the ground.
This tells us more than sparrows falling. You see, God knows where everything is, including us. We cannot hide from Him, as much as we may sometimes try. Remember when Adam and Eve sinned by eating the apple? They covered their nakedness and hid from God.
Well, they thought they hid from God! Genesis 3:8-9 tells us of God’s rhetorical question:
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Adam and Eve didn’t feel much love from God for a while and they tried to hide.
The fact is we can’t hide from God, as much as we try.
Since He knows where each and every of the hundreds of millions of sparrows are and what happens to them, he knows where we are and what is happening in our lives.
Additionally, God’s will allows everything to happen to all His creatures including us, from the trials of Job to the daily problems in our lives.
And God pays attention to the details:
Matthew 10:30 says: And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
This has to show God’s great love for us. Our parents loved us. They probably stroked our hair, but did they ever attempt to count all the hairs on our head? Did they ever try to number them all, maybe with very little, Incy Wincy tags attached to each one?
I know my parents didn’t. Yes, they loved me, although there were times I didn’t feel much love; like the few days when I counted the hairs on my head. Or when I crawled over the top of the new family car – twice!
We continue in verse 31:
31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
We may not always feel it, but God shows his love for us all the time.
God loves us!
There are times, sometimes many times, when we don’t feel God’s love. We may even feel that we are not even worth even a penny to God.
Even in the worst times, God loves us.
Even in the worst of times, God is with us.
Just as God is with the sparrows as they fall to the ground, He was with Adam and Eve when they fell to the temptation of the snake.
After their fall they had to work for their living, but God loved them. Adam and Eve felt God’s love, even though it was tough love.
God was with Stephen when he was stoned to become the first Christian martyr. Stephen knew God was with him and asked that God forgive the people who were killing him. He asked God to receive his spirit and then fell asleep.
Stephen felt God’s love.
I have fallen many times. In the far past, I didn’t think or didn’t even care that God could be with me. In the recent years, I have come to the realization that God was always with me, even during the many times I fell.
Jeremiah tells us of God’s love for the Israelites in Jeremiah 31:3 “the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
God shows His love to us in many ways.
We don’t have to look very far to find it. Just a walk in the woods and hear the birds chirping among God’s greenery of the trees and plants, we can see and feel God’s love.
Feeling the warm sunlight or smelling the cold, crisp air provided by God and the fact we are alive to experience such love.
We have seen miracles among us. That is God’s love manifest.
Even when we are experiencing dark and trying times, God’s love is with us. Each time we get through such times, we are stronger, and God’s love got us through it.
Even when we are losing our hair, God loves us and is with us.
John tells us in John 13:15: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I have had classmates, Fred and Don, sacrifice their lives for my freedom.
I even had a newly-hired employee Tell me “Mr. Hoot, I die for you!” when I presented him with an acceptance letter. This had special meaning as he was from [redacted] and knew all too well what it was to sacrifice for his friends as his uncle had for his family’s freedom. He is still my friend to this day and is very much alive.
And then we have the ultimate display of God’s love for us. He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, by an unimaginable horrifying death on a cross – just so we could have the opportunity for everlasting life.
John sums it up very succinctly in John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God loves us.
Feel the love!