2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When I look around, I sometimes see people who have overcome hardships and achieved their dreams in difficult environments.
Today I'd like to share what hardship means to our lives.
The title of today's sermon is 'If there is no gravel in the stream, the stream will not sing.'
The whole nation is in panic because of the coronavirus recently originated in the Yuan area of China. As the world is in a state of hardship and fear, the question, 'How should we overcome this hardship?' would be for everyone.
The same question goes for your personal life as well. We always might feel uneasy whenever we encounter a small or big adversity. How should we live, then? How should we prepare for the future? These are the questions for everyone.
Recently, while reading a book, I happened to hear about a country singer from Tennessee in the U.S. named Carl Perkins.
Tennessee used to be a very remote and decadent state in the U.S. When I visited a city called Nashville in Tennessee about 20 something years ago, I was shocked by the poor and rural environment. But it's a very beautiful city with the people's kindness and generosity.
There was a time when the whole country was in trouble in the 1920s because of the great economic crisis, The Great Depression.
Carl Perkins, a native of a small town in Tennessee at the time, spent his early days as poor as any other poor family. So he didn't have a chance to get a proper education, and
he didn't have a guardian or supporter in particular. So when he was a tough young man who had no decent job, he had only two things. It was an old guitar he owned and a belief in God.
Later, Carl Perkins made his poor and difficult young days into song lyrics, which made him a world-class singer. The song is called, "If there's no gravel on the floor of the stream that flows, it doesn't sing."
Recently, director Bong Joon-ho made a movie called 'Parasite' and won an Academy Award for the first time since Korea's foundation. The Academy Awards are the most honorable awards for filmmakers. As such, the Most Honorable Music Award in the music industry is the "Grammy Award," which was created in 1957. This is when Carl Perkins won his first Grammy.
Carl Perkins, who was poor in a small town in Tennessee, was able to fulfill his dreams with an old guitar and a belief in God.
When we live our lives, we face the hardships and hardships of our lives, both big and small. These hardships could be likened to gravel. It's a great comfort to us that when we compare life to a stream that flows through, the gravel in it create a beautiful melody.
The beautiful and brilliant pearl is said to have foreign matter inside the shell and be born inside it. The fact that there are foreign substances in the shell means that there are foreign substances in the flesh. And when you're in trouble and in a challenging situation then be patient, and when you're carrying that foreign object in your flesh, it turns into a brilliant pearl in the course of time.
What's the gravel in you? What are the painful foreign substances in your life? The gravel and debris are the pain and hardship you're experiencing.
As the text says today, the foreign stuff that permeates your life today will eventually turn into a valuable pearl when you look at Jesus Christ, who perseveres in the hardships of disillusionment and adversity, and keeps the Lord of Faith intact.
I hope you will persevere until the end so that the hardships you suffer are the key to your life's blessings, just as the creek that flows through the gravel at the bottom of the stream makes you sing.