Preached at Arbutus Park Care Home
“When it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” Luke 2:22
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. … She was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” Luke 2:36-37
So, Anna, at the time that Joseph and Mary took Jesus into the Temple would have been over 100 years old. This information comes out of Luke. Luke, we know, was a physician. The Holy Spirit, as He showed Luke what to write down, knew that the physician, Luke, would be amazed at how The Lord had preserved Anna for this moment.
And in the rest of the story we will see why.
One of you said to me a few weeks ago, “It is nice to be young, but I wouldn’t trade that for what I know and understand now. I wouldn’t go back and want to make all those mistakes again.
Unwise spiritual choices
Unwise job choices
You name it.
After losing her husband, Anna could have been bitter. Instead, she became better and blessed and a blesser. Rather than being resigned to becoming older and fatigued, she kept about herself a high degree of vitality and a growing spirit.
Anna inspired her prayers.
She looked for The Lord.
Anna would go to Temple daily and pray and fast.
I remember being in a New York City — Manhattan. There was a famous cathedral at its center. In went in. Lots of people went in. The first thing you notice, before you see the craftsmanship, you see a number of people kneeling down and praying. And I don’t mean that they got down, said something and then got right back up. These same people kneeling in prayer were there the whole time I was there.
Like Anna, these people were devoted to God.
Devoted to spend time with Him.
What we call worship.
What God calls worship.
Right there in downtown Manhattan — and Anna was right there in downtown Jerusalem.
I felt God there.
I was in His presence.
A church I served in a town called Foxburgh, in Clarion County, was a stone church on the Allegheny River. It has this window—stained glass— Of Jesus kneeling at a rock. It is a beautiful window with deep blues and reds with many smaller scenes of different colors. One day I noticed that there was a small hole in the window. The church was on the side of a Mountain, and a rock had rolled down the mountain and broken a hole in the window. We called a stained glass craftsman from Pittsburgh to come fix that hole. The window was very old and rare. When the craftsman came to fix that hole, his wife came with him.
All the while he was working on that window, his wife sat in a pew praying. She was worshiping while her husband worked on God’s house.
When her husband was finished with his work, it was perfect. There was no sign that there had ever been a hole in that window.
Anna completely devoted herself and her life to the Lord. She fasted and prayed at the Temple each day, for 84 years all day.
The Bible suggests that being single can be a great blessing form God and a great benefit for God. Paul says in the New Testament that those who are unmarried have great opportunity to focus their concerns on God’s purposes. To give their undivided attention to God alone.
I know a woman who is a shut in. He husband died many years ago. Every morning she awakens, and looks out the window to see if Jesus is coming. And every day she prays though her days about all the events in the news, in the world, our country, our town, her neighborhood, our church, for friends and family.
For all of us, we have a legacy.
We are living it now.
The question is, what am I going to leave?
What am I sowing?
There are a lot of things each of us are not.
So, what am I sowing?
What am I contributing for the Kingdom of God? How am I blessing the Lord?
Anna made it in the eternal scriptures because she was a contributor.
She prayed and fasted daily in the Temple for 84 years.
She talked with people for 84 years about Jesus.
Anna was a daily worshiper.
Our First Commandment is “Worship The Lord your God.” That is Number One!
Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” Paul worked on constant worship.
We all have a legacy.
Does mine count eternally?
Have I profited The Kingdom of God?
Do I continue to profit The Kingdom of God? Am I growing in The Kingdom of God or am I stagnant?
I remember visiting this woman years ago She was well up in years. She said, “Art I loved working for The Lord in the church all those years. I can’t get out any longer. But I don’t want to stop blessing The Lord. So, I was sitting here last year, and feeling bad for myself that I couldn’t do those things anymore. “
She continued her story by saying, “It came to me, I can still pray! And I heard God say, ‘Worship Me by praying for the people of your church daily and by the hour.’ So, that’s what I have been doing.”
She was leaving a legacy. And only God and she and I knew it. And she did that until the day she left this earth in the arms of Jesus. She was a blesser of The Kingdom. A worshiper.
There is something magnetic and powerful about a victorious believer. People are drawn to them.
I know another woman whose husband has physical problems. She doesn’t want to leave him by himself on Sunday morning, so she’s unable to come to worship with us like she used to do. But during our worship time every Sunday she takes the time to pray for all of us as we worship on Sunday morning. What she is doing is a powerful ministry. She is leaving a legacy.
Someone wants to be know nas a great Pittsburgh Pirate Fan.
Someone else wants to be known as a great cook.
God wants us to be know as great worshipers.
There are a lot of things I can’t do. And a lot more that I can’t do well. But of all the things I can do, I want to be known as a worshiper. I want that to be my legacy. I want be a fine husband, dad, pastor, teacher, faithful friend, but most of all I would be mighty grateful to be known as a worshiper, like Anna. Making a different for the Kingdom of God and not for the kingdom of self.
Jesus is Lord!