Sermon: I'm Only Human

Posted on April 7th, 2012

Isaiah 61:10-62:3

We are created as children of God, in God’s own image. When we live our lives in Christ we become joint heirs of all God’s promises. Such truth gives us confidence and hope for the living of these days. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah quotes God: “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD.”

There are some things that really irritate me. One of these is people who make excuses for not doing what they could do if they had a different attitude. These are individuals, young and old, who use their unique situations to justify not doing something they should and can do.

You have heard such excuses. Perhaps you have used them yourself: “I’m too young”; or, “I’m just one person”; or, “I’m too busy”; or, “I’m too old.” The prophet Jeremiah said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy” (Jeremiah 1:6).

Excuse me! When did being human or too young or too old become an excuse for mediocrity or poor performance or substandard behavior? People use such excuses as “I’m only human” when they are exhausted or exasperated or they have royally fouled things up and are trying to justify their behavior. “Well, I’m only human.” We use excuses as a way of justifying something we have done or not done: We slept late and are late for school, we ate the last piece of chocolate cake, we have been immature. Come now and let us reason together about this business of being “only human.” After all, God said, “You shall be a crown of beauty in the the hand of the LORD.” To be human is one of God’s many blessings.

I know a man who travels all over the country teaching health care executives how to move their organizations toward excellence. As a child he had a hearing and speech defect and the outlook for his life was not good. Today, however, loaded down with hearing aids, he speaks at leadership conferences all over the world. My friend is only a human being in a defective body. I know people who live in perfect bodies who are living defective lives. It is amazing what my friend is doing, because he is “only human.”

The youth in our church encouraged support of the Heifer Project International. This money purchased reproductive cattle, sheep, and chickens that were shipped to third-world countries where they are having a significant effect. I thought the children would be lucky to raise $500, but they raised $7,500, and they are only youth!

An eighth grader in her school science project called into question an environmental soil testing study in our area. This prompted many new tests and brought to the community’s attention concerns about the land on which we live and the water that flows below it that we drink. To some, this student is only a kid!

No matter how young you are, or how old you are, when you are only human people have the ability to envision things and then make them happen. Dreams do come true. You are only human and you can make things happen. The church has historically taught us that we are tainted with what is called “original sin,” which is our fallen nature. It is true that our nature is basically selfish and bent toward evil. Thus we are called by the Christian faith to “a more excellent way,” “a better way,” “to God’s way.” But it takes a decision on our part to pursue the excellent way. We can make excuses for ourselves till the cows come home, but when we stand to the full height of our humanity we give evidence of God’s divine image. Perhaps the ultimate sin is to limit God.

Life is not easy, and often we are challenged beyond our abilities, but God has made us a little lower than the angels. We are “God’s masterpiece.” We are “a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of [our] God” (NIV). The Christian way of life leads to abundance in this life and eternal life in the next, but it is not easy. It takes effort and discipline, but anything worthwhile takes effort and is not easy.

Do you think marriage is easy? You must not be married. Do you think holding down a job is easy? You must not be working. Do you think tithing and being an active member of the church is easy? You must not be tithing or an active member of the church.

Listen, you are only human, which makes you “a little less than the angels,” which makes you “a royal diadem in the hand of God.” To be “only human” makes you God’s child. So you don’t want to say, “I’m only a youth” or “I’m only a student” or “I’m only a senior citizen” or “I’m only a housewife,” or “I’m only a human.” Say, instead: “I am human! I am human! I am God’s child! I am saved by Jesus Christ! I am not a victim! I am a victor! I am a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand.”

Today I ask you to stop using your humanness as an excuse for mediocrity. Instead, stand up to the full measure of your humanity. After all, you are only human!

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