Dan Sherick - Giving Our All - Saginaw, Oregon - August 29, 2010

I have a favorite story and I try to tell this story every place I go. So, I have a choice of telling the story either here or next week. Anyway, we don't want to put it off until next week. The story is about my father during the second world war. He was on a submarine in the South Pacific and this day they were on the surface of the sea and an accident took place and the submarine began to dive unexpectedly, very suddenly going down. The hatches were opened and there were men on the deck. There was a scramble to get inside. My father was inside safely. There were 88 men on the ship. At the last moment there was still one hatch that was open and one young officer, Lieut. Blenn, was outside of that hatch and the water was beginning to rush in. He had only a couple of seconds to decide what to do. Try to enter and save himself and in that way maybe everyone would die or shut the hatch from the outside and make sure that he saved everyone else. This young man shut the hatch from the outside and saved everyone on the inside. He was then washed out to sea in a whirlpool of water. They never found his body. My father told me later that Lieut. Blenn had been home on leave just before this and had his wedding. His young bride was waiting for him at home. But he never came home because he had given his life for his friends. There is no greater love than this, that a man would give his life for his friends. When I think about that young man, Lieut. Blenn, if he had not done that I would not be here because that happened in 1944 and I was born a few years later. So if he had not done that I would not be here at convention. You know we always want to stop and think about the other one. The one on the outside who gave his life to save others and that was Jesus. If He had not done that, no one would be here. You would not be here and I would not be here. We would not have a convention. That is Jesus and we want to remember Him.

I heard a story about a young family - father, mother, and son - and they were in a little boat. The boat capsized. The father was a very good swimmer but the mother and son did not know how to swim. The father was trying to save them both, but the mother began to plead with him, "Save our son. You can't save us both." So he saved their son, but his wife perished. She had given her life for her son.

We have a young man over there in Romania and, in 1979, he offered for the work. He had to wait a long time. There was a law in Romania at that time under communism that you had to have a job or go to jail. There would be a lot of people in jail in the states right now, wouldn't there? Anyway, that was the rule. So he had to wait 14 years to start out in the work. One time we were in a little summer camp up there, before he went into work and he said, "I have a favorite verse and I am going to keep this verse in my heart. It is going to be my verse. It was that same verse: 'There is no greater love than this that a man will give his life for his friend.'" He said, "I want to do that." He is a very useful brother worker now but he had to wait 14 years to start out.

I was thinking a little bit about Jesus giving His life. It's kind of a picture of pure gold. I think all of you know that when you purify gold in the fire, the impurities come to the surface. The purpose of that is to take the impurities away. We have things that happen in our life, you are under a little bit of pressure, in the fire a little bit and you said something that you should not have said or you did something that you shouldn't have done or maybe you showed a spirit that wasn't exactly perfect. Has that ever happened to you? When you're in the fire and something comes to the surface, the purpose is so that it can be taken away. That is good because it is going to be taken away. That is me, but you look at someone else and you say, "Whoa, look at the way he reacted." You see something on the surface that is not too good and you can criticize and say, "What a person they are," and you forget that there is pure gold down underneath. Here Jesus was on the cross and there was nothing that came to the surface, it was just pure gold. He was in the fire but there were no impurities. He was the only one that was just like that. He was not just that way at the finish, but it was all of the way.

I was thinking about Abraham when he was going up the mountain. He was prepared to offer up his son, Isaac. In his hands, he had two things:  the fire and the knife. To sacrifice, we need the fire and we also need the knife. We might say that this matter of self-denial and cutting things off is suffering and we don't want to do that. We have the love of God and the fire. There were the Pharisees, and they were very strict. They had the knife all right, but Jesus said, "I know you, you have not the love of God in you." To bring an acceptable sacrifice, you have to have the fire and the knife. In Mark 9, Jesus said that if your right hand offend you, cut it off. You're going to have to have a knife to do that. I noticed that it doesn't say there that if your brother's right hand offends him, cut off his right hand. The knife is for you to use on your self. Self denial means cutting of the things that shouldn't be there. It will be painful but do it. That is part of sacrifice.

Back in the Old Testament in first Kings 18, there was Elijah the prophet and 450 prophets of the Baal. The test was to see who had the true God, Elijah or these prophets of Baal. So they put it to the test. They each prepared their alter and their sacrifice. The one whose God answered by fire from heaven would be the true God. The prophets of Baal prepared their sacrifice and began to cry with loud voices up to their God. They cut themselves with knives but there was no answer. They had the knife but they didn't have the fire. Then there was Elijah who quietly had his sacrifice on the altar and poured water on it three times and filled a ditch around with water. He then quietly prayed to his God and fire came down from heaven showing that the sacrifice was accepted. Maybe you feel like that yourself sometimes, you put your life before God, then comes this fire from heaven, the love of God from heaven into your heart. This is showing that He is accepting your sacrifice. You used the knife and now He was giving you the fire, you might say, "He is accepting your sacrifice, the fire and the knife."

In Romania, there was one very religious man. He was very strict with his children. They were not allowed to go to the movies, no sir. One little 12-year-old girl went to the movies. He was so upset with her that he shaved her head bald. He had the knife but where was the love and the wisdom? That was kind of like the Pharisees, they had the knife but they did not have the fire. We need both the fire and the knife. In II Corinthians 6:2, the other day, I was telling you how I made my choice and that I had read a verse that really woke me up. Just a day or two before that last meeting, I finally did make my choice. I opened up my Bible again to this passage where it says, "Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation." Boy, that day was a tough one for me, a terrible day for me and a wonderful day for me, terrible and wonderful. The day of salvation is a terrible day and it is a wonderful day.

When the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, they came to the Red Sea and the army of Pharaoh was behind them and the Red Sea was before them. There was no way through and there was no way back and there was no way out. What could they do? It was a terrible day. But God opened up the Red Sea and they could go through. What seem to be impossible was possible and it was a wonderful day. It was a terrible day and it was a wonderful. The jailer in Acts 16, when he saw that the earthquake had come, and all of the doors of the prison where open, he thought the prisoners had fled and he was going to kill himself. A terrible day, then he heard the words, believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ, and "Thou shalt be saved." A terrible day and a wonderful day. The day that Jesus was on the cross was a terrible day, a terrible day but there had never been a more wonderful day. It was a day of salvation. The day of salvation is a terrible day and a wonderful day and we want to appreciate that. What God wanted to do with that was to win our hearts so that our hearts would belong to Him.

We have already heard about the parable of parables, when the Gospel goes forth, about the sower and the seed. If you had a nice big garden and you had a bag of seed that would cover all of your big garden, you might wonder how those little seeds are going to completely cover that big garden or you might say, "Conquer the garden, so that the garden would be covered by that seed." The little seed begins growing and spreading out and the fruit appears. Even though it is small and weak it covers the land. First Corinthians 1:25 says the weakness of God is stronger than man, and that is very true. Now, what is the weakness of God? If you want to see the weakness of God, just look at Jesus on the cross. A human body suffering, not fighting for His own will, not asking for help from His Father to escape. The weakness of God is stronger than men because the weakness of God can conquer thousands of hearts and we see that often in this work. We've heard of some young sisters preaching the gospel and they had been in the work may be a half a year, and many hearts were won. It's good that, when we are weak, He can make us strong.

In Luke 15, it tells us about the prodigal son. When he came back to his father's house, he was pleasantly surprised because of the love that his father showed to him.We could say very definitely that his father had conquered his heart by his goodness and his mercy. He had conquered his son's heart.

In Exodus 21, we read about the Hebrew servant that served for six years but then in the seventh year he could say, "I love my master and my master's house and I will not go free." He had that choice. When he said that, it was a very good testimony about his master. It means that he was convinced that his master was very good and that this was the best place for him to be and he wanted nothing else instead. A very clear testimony:  I love my master and I will not go free. The other evening when some of you were listening and I was telling about our young brother worker who was put to a very difficult test. Probably the most difficult test of his life up to this point, which was a few years ago. It was his seventh year in the work. There was an opportunity to have what he had always wanted by nature. He could have chosen differently. I still remember his words that he wrote on a little slip of paper and left for me. He said, "I want to be a servant forever." He was making the choice, "I love my master and I love my place and I'm going to stay in my master's house no matter what the cost might be. I want to be a servant forever." That is a wonderful testimony.

I'm going to tell you a story and this goes back to the darker days of American history when there was slavery in America. Maybe you have never heard this story. There was an auction where they were selling the slaves. There was a young black man up for auction - young, strong, and handsome. The price was going up for who was going to buy this black slave. There was one man there who kept raising the price. He kept bidding higher and higher. That slave saw him and in no uncertain terms and in not very nice words, he let him know that he was never going to serve him. He was never going to be a slave no matter how much he paid. In the end, that man bought him. The slave was crying out in not a very good spirit, "I am not going to serve you. You may have bought me but I am not going to serve you."

So the one who bought him, the new master, said, "You know, I was looking at you - young, strong, and handsome.  I felt so sorry for you, so I bought you to set you free. Now you are free, you can go wherever you want to live the way you want to, you are free to go." So this young slave fell down before his new master and said, "I will be your servant, your slave, forever." He did not have to do that. It was his choice and that is what he chose to be, a servant forever.

There was a family over there in the Ukraine with seven children and the second to the last was a little boy named Tema. He was a typical little boy, a little bit stubborn but he got plenty of pats on the back, kind of lower down, you know. He was doing better and better, nice little fellow. Actually he seemed to win the hearts of everybody in the family, everybody's favorite little boy. The favorite of his grandparents and workers. He was three years old. One day something happened and we would just have to say God took him. An accident took place and he was in eternity. Their favorite little boy was in eternity.

There is a woman over there in Ukraine, her name is Oksana. She and her husband had just one son, one child. This was before they had heard the Gospel. This little boy was eight or nine and he got sick and went into eternity before the age of 10. Then the gospel came later and Oksana heard about God giving His only Son willingly as a sacrifice. The Gospel won her heart and she could understand that, she loved her only son. God had given His only Son for her sake, gladly, and her heart was won. She made a lot of changes. Her husband, a policeman, was listening also. This summer she was baptized. Her heart was won and we would like to have our hearts won, also.

Hannah when she kept her vow, took her little son Samuel after he was weaned. I don't know how old he would have been because they fed them different than they do now. They didn't have all of these baby foods that we have now. Samuel was maybe a couple of years old. They took little Samuel, you might say to convention, once a year and left him behind. Sometimes you take something to convention and sometimes you leave something behind at convention. Samuel was the dearest thing to Hannah's heart and she left him behind as a sacrifice. There was one man in that meeting and his little daughter was going in to the work that year. Actually he was the owner of the convention grounds. He came up to me after the meeting and said to me, "You made me cry." He was leaving his little daughter behind at convention. Even though he was the man of the convention place, he was leaving something behind.

In the Old Testament when they had the Passover feast, on the 10th day of the first month when they were going to keep the Passover, they brought in a little lamb and he was there until the 14th day. There might have been some children in the home and they had this little lamb in the home for four days and he probably would have won their hearts. But he was going to have to die and it would not have been so easy. On that day when Jesus was on the cross, there were people standing around across and Jesus had won their hearts. Jesus was suffering and they were suffering, also. When the resurrection came, because He had won their hearts, the greatest sorrow that they had ever had now became the greatest joy that they would ever have.

We think about Jacob in the Old Testament losing his son, Joseph. The greatest sorrow that he ever had but when the time came that he saw his son Joseph again, almost like a resurrection, his greatest sorrow turned into his greatest joy. So it's not so bad to have sorrow if it is turned to joy. It is good when God can win our hearts. The question would be, what would be our response to all of these things? We would not want all of the things that have been done for us to all be in vain. It would be nice if Jesus could look down from heaven and look at you and He would just be happy. He could say, "You know what I did and it was not in vain." And He could just be happy knowing that it was not in vain.

One of our brother workers in Ukraine named Bill was learning the Ukrainian language, which is not a very easy task by the way. He was in his second year and had a new teacher. She was not too anxious to teach a foreigner but she had agreed to do it. She asked him why he wanted to learn Ukrainian. He said, "I am learning the language so that I can help Ukrainian people learn about the Bible." "Okay," she said. "I will be your teacher, but there are two conditions. First of all the text book will be the Bible and every day you will read me a chapter out of the Bible and explain it to me and I will correct your mistakes. The other condition is that I will not take one penny for the lessons." She was a rich lady, of course, and lived in a one room apartment which was the bedroom, living room and kitchen, with her husband and teenage son. After a couple of months of lessons, she asked him a question one day. "If you had come to the Ukraine knowing that you would only help one person, would you still have come?" Right away Bill answered, “I would have come just to help one person.” Then she said, “Well, you came to help me.” After that lesson he came home pretty happy. So, tough as it was, he had not come to the Ukraine in vain even though it was a real struggle. We would like to give that same feeling to Jesus as well.

We have heard a lot in this convention about "our best and our all." Now for the kids, I am going to tell a couple of stories about our best, give of our best to the master. There was this little boy in school and he liked his teacher so he thought that he would like to bring her an apple from their apple tree at home. That's kind of old-fashioned, but it was something that they used to do. So he picked the best apple from the tree that he could reach and brought it to his teacher. He came to her desk and there were a couple of other apples on her desk that were bigger and better than his, so he was very discouraged and decided not to leave his apple there at all. He started to walk away but then he thought, "This is my best," and he turned around and put his apple on the desk and went away very happy. He thought, "I just gave my best. Maybe it wasn't better than someone else's but it was my best."

Here is another little story for the children: it was another day at school and it was the teacher's birthday. Some of the children had a nice present for the teacher, all wrapped up with ribbons and all. There was one little boy from a very poor family and he has nothing to give, nothing. But after school he came up with a gift just as well. It was wrapped in brown paper. So after school teacher opened up his gift, also. It was dried bread wrapped in brown paper. The teacher knew that every day when this poor boy came to school his lunch was just dried bread wrapped in a brown paper bag. He had given her his lunch. That was all he had. The next day, the teacher thanked the children for the gifts that they had given but she said the best gift was given by this little boy. Nobody gave anything better than that.

In Iowa in 1932, there was a young brother worker and after the Gospel meeting one of our friends found him in the living room and he was crying. The friend asked him, "Why are you crying?" He said, "You know I did not give my best in the meeting." You would suppose that that young brother worker would just give up and go back home, but no, he continued the rest of his life trying to give his best until he was up in his 80s and went into eternity. He labored in China and in the Philippine Islands and he gave his best. Now we would also like to give our all. Not just our best, but our all.

Most of you know about the widow who gave two mites. She could have given just one, but she gave two. I don't know just what that means to everyone individually. For Jesus that might have meant the first mite was to live a perfect life, teach people the truth and be an example and the second mite was going to the cross. If He had just given the first mite and not the second mite, everything that He had done would have been in vain. Well, maybe for some of our friend’s children, the first mite is to learn to obey your mom and dad. Sometimes I read that verse that says children obey your parents in all things. But wouldn't it be kind of neat if we could just kind of erase that word, "all?" Just leave it, children obey your parents and cross out the words, in all things. Well you're not supposed to cross out things in the Bible. So you are to obey your parents in all things. With children, it might be obeying their parents is the first mite, but to give the second mite would be learning to obey God, otherwise giving the first mite would be in vain. To obey your parents. Maybe for some of the older people, you have gone through a lot of trials and tests and now in your old age maybe you have some illness and suffering ahead but you want to be faithful to the end. Well, if you are not faithful in giving that second mite, being faithful to the end, everything up till then would be in vain. We want to be willing to give the second mite. I spoke about this at a convention quite a while ago in Iowa. There was one young woman in that meeting and that really got her. After that meeting she offered for the work. She decided that she would give the second mite. That was her second mite, but that is not for everyone. We would just like to be willing to give our all.

There is a woman there in Mark 14 and she broke the alabaster box. She gave her all. You might say that she was doing in a natural sense what Jesus was doing in a spiritual sense. Jesus’ life was like a box that was filled with the most fragrant odors, fragrant ointment, a perfect spirit, but the box was going to be broken and the odor was not going to just fill the house but was going to fill the whole world. His spirit would go out into the whole world and would be a blessing to many people. That woman was willing to break the box naturally and Jesus did the same thing spiritually. You might say to take that second step and give the second mite.

I told a story at another convention a couple of weeks ago about a little girl and her name was Christie. She was a little girl with Down's syndrome and I am going to complete what I didn't tell a couple of weeks ago. She liked to read the Bible even though she couldn't read and she liked to write letters to the workers even though she couldn't write. She was very hearty but very limited. I will just say that the church where I went to when I was a boy, the preacher never spoke very long until he got off on financial matters which seem to be close to his heart. He got fervent on those things.

Now if you will excuse me I am going to get off on these financial matters and you will forgive me, okay? Here is little Christie with her mother one evening. I got a letter from Christie and her mother and a letter from my mother. Christie's mother explained what happened. Christie asked, "Where is Dan?" "Well, he is off in Romania." "Does he have enough to eat and a place to sleep?" She wasn't sure but said, "I think so." Christie went off to her room and brought back her piggy bank, which was her prized possession. It was nearly full. She took the money and said, "I want to send Dan some help so that he has enough to eat." She started shaking out the coins on the table until the piggy bank was empty. Her mother asked her, "How much?" They counted and she had $3.77. Her mother asked her, "Hhow much do you want to send to Dan?" She said, "Everything, of course." So little Christie gave everything she had and a month later she was in eternity. But she had that testimony that she had given her all. At her funeral it was said, “She had done what she could.” Quite a testimony for a little girl with Down's syndrome who died very young.

At a meeting several years ago, there was an old sister worker whose name was Hazel Hughes, a sister to Garrett Hughes. She was up in her 80s and speaking in a meeting about giving the last drops of our sacrifice. They were kind of weighty words because she was giving the last drops of her sacrifice.

I am going to tell you one thing that I won't forget from this convention. I might forget a lot of things but one thing that I will not forget is what Betty told us the other day about the last drops of your sacrifice, very precious pouring it out before God. I will remember that. I may forget even what I have said but I will remember that. That was the best thing at this convention so far already. Maybe someone can top that but I can't, I am not that far along. Maybe there is someone who has done a lot for you, maybe a friend. Someone that has done this and that for you, and they come over and ask you, "Can you come over and help me?" And you think, "I'm sorry, I am too busy, I have no time, but he has done so much for me so I am going to make the time to help. Whatever you ask me to do, I am going to do it because you have been such a good friend to me." That is the way that I feel about Jesus. He has done so much for me that if He comes around and asks me, "Will you please do this?" I cannot say, "No," because he has done so much for me. That is the only thing that I can reasonably do because He has done so much for me. I was in a convention at a kind of a distant place a year and a half ago and I was talking about this. I notice that there was one young woman in the middle of the crowd. She looked like she had been electrified. I don't know what happened to her but anyway her name is on the workers list now. Something happened to her and she decided, "Well, the Lord has asked me to do something," and she couldn't say, "No." We want to be willing to do whatever He asks us to do.

When I went over to Romania to labor, there was an old sister worker. Her name was Bernice Riser, a wise old sister worker. She said to me, "What looks like a sacrifice is usually a privilege." And she was right. We are glad that we have the privilege of sacrificing for His sake, because He sacrificed for our sake. Leviticus 1 tells us about the altar and the whole burnt offering. Jesus brought the whole burnt offering by giving His all. Really for Christians, believers, that is kind of the equivalent of Romans 12:1, present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God which is your reasonable service. Give your life to God. That is kind of the New Testament equivalent of the whole burnt offering. When a little baby is born, you say this little baby only belongs to the parents 75%. No, this baby is a gift from God and belongs to the parents 100%. He has been given to you to care for and he is yours 100%.

When you are born again, you belong to God 100%. You can no longer say that I belong to myself. We would like to bring this whole burnt offering. In the Old Testament there were three different sacrifices that we hear about quite a bit. Maybe before that I'll mention that salvation comes in three steps. The first step of salvation is: Jesus gave His life for us. The second step is that we respond to that and say, "I'm going to give my life to God." The third step is that God sees that and God gives us a new life which is eternal life, salvation.

That is a little bit like these three sacrifices that we read about in the Old Testament. Usually we read about these three and usually they're in the same order; the sin offering, the whole burnt offering, and the peace offering. The sin offering; that is Jesus; the whole burnt offering, we give our life to God; the peace offering is what God gives to us when we give Him our lives, He gives us peace. That is a great thing for us and for those around us when we have peace and joy. Everyone would like to be with people like that. There was Hannah in the Old Testament and she wasn't very happy. She didn't have any peace nor any joy. What was the problem? She was coming to the convention every year, coming to the feast, but she wasn't happy and she wasn't joyful. They brought their sacrifice, their peace offering, but she hadn't really brought the whole burnt offering. Then there was that day that she made a promise to God, "You give me a son and I will give him back to you. This will be from you, through you and to you, a sacrifice." So she gave a whole burnt offering and she got the peace offering. She was singing a new song which she had never sung before and she had this joy and peace that she had never had before because she finally had brought the whole burnt offering. She had finally given her all.

Let us go back to Exodus 24. We talked about the blood of Jesus and there was also a blood of the Old Testament. They sacrificed animals and they took the blood and Moses did something with it. Exodus 24:7 says that Moses had read them all of the law and the people answered, "All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient," and he sprinkled them with blood after they had said that. Now if we could do that with God and say, "All you have asked I will do and I will be obedient." The important word is "all." Then the blood comes into play. If we are not willing to do all that the Lord has said, then the blood of Christ does us no good at all. It's only after we have said that that we are sprinkled with the blood. When I was a boy, my mother was really a good mother but she had those things that she kind of wanted me to do. Every Saturday morning my mother made a list for every one of us kids, the things to do on Saturday morning. As soon as you're done with everything on the list you were free to go and play. I remember that the list was kind of long, maybe eight or 10 things. Some things I liked to do and would do them rather quickly but there were always one or two things that I really didn't want to do but I knew that I would not be free until I got them all done. I suffered quite a bit sometimes when I did what I didn't want to do but, when I did, I was free. I needed to be willing to do it all to gain the promise of being free to go and play.

I'll mention one other thing in the Old Testament. The leper, when he was cleansed, was supposed to bring a sacrifice to the priest to show that he had been cleansed. There were two birds that he was supposed to bring. One would be killed in an earthen vessel under running water and the second bird would be dipped in the blood of the first and would be set free to fly over the open field. When we read about that we might think that we don't understand that quite too well. I think that it is quite clear what that means. The first bird is Jesus. He is the heavenly creature, from heaven, living in the human body (the earthen vessel). He was killed in the earthen vessel over the running waters of this world. Not in the water but over the water, you might say. Not affected by this world. He is the first bird. The second bird was dipped in the blood of the first and set free to fly over the open field. A beautiful picture of being set free to fly over the open field. That is a picture of what we should be, dipped in the blood and set free. There is nothing more sad to me and to see a bird that cannot fly. Have you ever seen a little bird that is sick or injured? You almost want to take the little bird home and feed it or do something to make it well so that it can fly.

There was a little girl over there in Romania, she was 12 years old. She talked to her dad and said, "Daddy, I want to talk to you, just the two of us together." "Well, what do you want to talk about?" "Daddy, you know you have taught us to pray and every night I have been praying but I don't have words to express how I feel but the last little while I have been praying more and I have a lot of joy but I can't put it into words, Daddy." So here was this little girl, sometimes you say that kids are little angels but you wonder what kind, but here she was sprouting her wings and learning to fly spiritually. It is nice to see a little girl who has joy. She is all grown up now and lives in Washington state, by the way, you might figure out who she is. The effect of Jesus' sacrifice can be the right thing and the right thing is that if we are willing for all and give our best then we can have peace and we can have joy. The conditions for that is, that we have to give our all and be obedient when God asks us to give the second mite. There is much more that could be said, but let us sing a hymn, number 245.