Chicago's Church of the Spirit


Sermon by Marrice Coverson: The Benches of Life


A Sermon by Marrice Coverson

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

By: Johnson Oatman, Jr

Thank you.  You’d better be glad I’m not giving out blessings.  Because the way you were singing ... have you counted your blessings here?  Anyway – I love you anyway. 

Good morning.  Welcome to the Church of the Spirit Sunday Morning Service. 

This morning I’m going to speak on the “benches of life.”  So many of us are so busy with life and running through life – and so we pass up a lot of things in life.  We don’t pay attention to the small things in life because we are so busy with something that bit us, we don’t pay attention to it.  It has to run us over and knock us over and then we have a life lesson.  That’s the only way we get our lessons, is that we are run over by a train.  We can’t just pay attention to the little things because our lives are so busy and that’s not because it is by design – it’s because we made it that way. 

We put forth all of our energy into staying busy and not paying attention to the little things in life. So I’m going to talk to you about the benches of life.

I have a friend who lives in upper Massachusetts.  I was at the convention and she talked about how she always takes a walk in the park – going back and forth in the park – back and forth in the park – back and forth in the park.  And so she noticed that there was writing on the benches.  And I guess it is different from here.  We have benches but we see graffiti on the benches.  But the first time she went around she noticed that there was a bench that said “honor and endless love.”  So she stopped – she was astounded because she had been in that park many times and had never noticed that bench had that saying on it.  And so for us – what does it mean?

That love is for – whatever it is that is in us.  See many of us are so used to loving that if something happens we cut it off.  Honor endless love.  Endless love means, however, that whatever happens with you and with anyone else in this universe, it does not mean that you have to stop loving.  It does not mean that loving stops there.  It might mean that you need to get out of the vibration of that person, but it does not mean that you have to step aside and stop loving and put that person aside.  So honor endless love. 

And then another day she walked in the park a different way and she saw a bench that said “make a difference.” And I want to ask the question of you this morning – how many of you feel that you are making a difference.  How many of you feeling that you are making a difference?  And that’s wonderful that you are.  Make a difference.  And when we talk about making a difference we are not just talking about making a difference in your own life, but we are talking about making a difference in the world around you – the greater world.  Make a difference in someone else’s life.  Impact someone else’s life.  If you see a child that needs help -- that you help that child.  If you need to tutor them -- whatever you need to do.  We are not setting any parameters for you or giving you anything that you must do; but, we are saying that we must make a difference.  Be the all benchmark of life of having a prosperous life.  And you can’t just think about making a difference in your own life – you have to think that I am a part – I am connected to everybody.  Whether I like it or not, I’m connected.  Whether I want to or not, I am connected to that homeless person.  I am connected to the people in New York.  I am connected to the people in Africa.  I am connected.  There is a universal connection that we have nothing to do with, that we cannot change, we cannot alter in its form:  In our head we can disconnect but on a larger scale -- universally -- we cannot do anything about it but try to help make a difference in the lives of others. 

And the next bench that she walked around said “families are the bedrock of society.”  “Families are the bedrock of society.”  And that means that we need to place emphasis on our family and loving our family and empowering our families.  You know some of us don’t understand.  We are too busy with our work and our lives to really to place an emphasis on our family.  I happened to go to an Oprah taping and there was Denzel there and he said that every day they have breakfast and they have dinner sitting around the table – the whole family.  And I thought “boy, that is no longer the American way.”  You get your dinner and you go watch TV – somebody goes in their room – somebody goes someplace else, or we eat at separate times.  But why?  Why do we do that?  Because we no longer see the family as the bedrock of our society.  We no longer see the importance of sitting and talking to family members -- to sit and listen to our children.  Many of us will say “they don’t want to talk to us.”  You know?  What does that matter?  Well, if you sit there they will talk at some point because they have to sit there.  So we give them an out when we say “oh, they don’t want to talk.”  We have to get back to family.  Family is the root of our society. 
And the reason that we are having so much trauma in our world is that we have moved from family to everybody being an individual.  Our children are individuals.  Each household member is an individual.  So they are on their own mission.  Nobody sees the family unit as a mission.  We see our own goals.  We often talk about: “I just want my child to explore his individuality” or “I just want my mate to be an individual.”  There is a connectedness there.  There is a value of having a family -- a unit together.  Families are the bedrock of our society

And then, she said she went another day and she observed a bench that said “build it and they will come.”  “Build it and they will come.”  Now you can take that in many ways.  For instance, in this church, I know that if we keep building this church, people will come.  If we keep our mission in this church and we keep having the type of service that people will come to, then they will come.  But then if I look at the individual.... If you give your lives, people will gravitate to you.  If you build your lives in a spiritual way, people will gravitate to you.  And those of you who are looking for mates, relationships and things, if you build your life and your live your life and you know who you are, and you build that spiritual horizon and that environment, whoever or whomever that you desire will come.  Build it and they will come.

Some of us are so busy looking and trying to develop this and develop that but we are not looking at the internal building of ourselves.  The building of who we are.  We are out building resources and building buildings and building up our businesses – what about you as an individual?  Who are you?  Some of us look back over time and we say – “ooh, I missed that whole thing.  I have very few friends.  My family is scattered.  I don’t have an infrastructure.  What happened?”  Somewhere that internal building that we should have been building that we could have been building could attract people to us and attract those relationships.  We lost it because we are so busy building that eternal thing – that eternal world.  And even if we have businesses and we are trying to build, if we could all enter that business at a good and that foundation of that business is spiritual.  You know some of us think that we are going to separate spirituality from our businesses.  It’s all about what that document says that I have to do – that plan – that business plan... and sometimes that business plan does not include people and the love for people.  Sometimes that business plan doesn’t flow through that relationship – there is no flow showing there is a relationship in that business plan.  So all about that business plan.  So when we say “build it they will come,” – they don’t come.  The business don’t come and you say while why doesn’t the business come?  Why is that I am having problems with my business?  ...because we need to look and see what kind of foundation it sets in.  Is it a spiritual foundation?  Is there a love for people shown in this business plan?  It might be hidden.  It may not be written out.  It may not say that “I love people” but somewhere there is that this business is about people.  It’s about parents.  Many times we need to see it in black and white because we often forget that that is what we are about – ultimately about.   We should be about...whatever business should have, we should be about making sure that that spiritual people with that business is a loving, is all caring – it is not just a business.

And then there was a bench that said “peace to those who sit here.”  Peace to those who sit here.  Now when we think about it, what does that mean?  For the bench it means that everyone who sits at that bench have peace.  Now if we wanted to expand that bench to our lives and our everyday lives, what would it mean?  It means that everyone that comes in contact with me, that I display peace – not talk peace, but display peace.  That everyone that comes near me, that sits with me, that they feel the peace and they also receive the peace.   And then as we have our businesses ... and everyone comes to our business, that they have peace.  No matter what you do, if you are a mortgage broker, a person should come to you and once they leave you that should feel that you have the best interest of them in your heart.  That they felt that they have gotten the best rate and they feel peace.  If you are selling them a house, they should feel that you are such a loving person that you would never give them a lemon of a house – that you would make sure that that house is the best that it could be.  They should feel so good about you.  Whatever you do -- If you are a seamstress and you make a dress that they should feel that that dress was made with so much love that they feel peace and wearing that dress.  They’ll have a feeling that nothing is going to go wrong with it.  That when people come to this church they should know that there is so much love in this church that they have peace when they walk in the door.  That there is no question about – if they sit in a seat that there is peace here.  There should not never be a vibration of disturbance or anger or uneasiness by anyone that comes to this door because they are not shown the love that they expect or even that that they do not expect – that they should expect. 

We have to change our whole thought. We have to think about the benches of life.  And what do the benches of life mean in our lives.   And everywhere we go it’s just those benches that you saw.  But many of us go around life and we don’t observe, but I want to tell you that the benches let us know that there are lessons in everything.  There are lessons in small things that you don’t even pay attention to.  Because we are so impatient, we are in such a hurry...  Just stop!  Stop!  As you walk, you exercise, you walk down the street or you are shopping, whatever you do in life, pay attention because there is a lesson.   ..And many times the small lessons will keep you from having those train wrecks.   The small lessons will keep you from having the train wrecks.  Just the knowledge, the reinforcement, your paying attention will keep you from having a train wreck.  Isn’t it awesome to know that if I just stop and I was more observant and listened and looked and paid attention; if I use my eyes and ears and my nose, the sense that I have been given; but if I just use those senses I could stop many of the train wrecks that I have in my life.  It is an awesome understanding that we have not reached you.

So the message I would like to leave with you this morning – if you don’t remember the benches as I have given them, you will see many more benches in your life.  That means that there are many items that you will pass, there are sayings that people will say that you need to pay attention to.  Those are the benches of life.  If you just pay attention to those benches and move out, you will just be fine.  And you will always prevail in your lives as you pay attention to the benches of life.

God bless you!

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