Summary: Continuing our conversation about taking in daily nutrition we turn our attention towards giving. How should that play a part in our every day lives?
Tonight we are going to continue our conversation about taking in Daily Nutrients as we jump deeper and deeper into a relationship with God. Since coming back for the Winter Retreat we have been talking about the importance of hanging out at the feet of Jesus and what that looks like. A few weeks ago, we talked about reading the Bible and how it is God’s Words to us. We looked at a whole handful of suggestions to make reading the Bible a little easier to understand and more engaging.
Two weeks ago, we talked, in a sense, about prayer but tackled it from the angel of listening to God. We talked about how important it is to find time to “be still” and listen for God’s “gentle whisper.” Often, our lives are too busy, too loud, too filled up; that we miss things that God is trying to tell us about Him and about ourselves.
Tonight, I want to look at another discipline that is really important to understand and practice every day. It probably wouldn’t be one of the first things that jump into your heads as we talk about taking in Daily Nutrients and at first it may seem to not even fit with our conversation. The discipline we are going to look at tonight is that of giving. Again, I know some of you may be thinking, “Aren’t we talking about ‘taking in’ not giving out? How is this part of taking in Daily Nutrients?” Well, we’re going to tackle that question in a little bit, but first, I want to get your general impressions about giving. What comes to your mind when you see or hear the word give?
***Give the students a few moments to think and respond***
I know some of you may disagree with my next comment at first but we, who sit in this room, live in a culture where we have a lot of stuff and a lot of options before us. Even if you are on the low end of the totem pole and feel like you don’t have much, compared to other parts of the world, you are rich beyond imagination. We have money to spend on movies, games, and all sorts of other pleasures. Think about how many clothes you have? Girls, how many pairs of shoes do you have? Guys, how many video games do you have? Some of you I know have more than one system, let alone games. Many of us have more than one TV in our homes. We have DVD players, sports equipment, computers, sound systems, instruments, cars, etc. We really do have a lot of stuff that surrounds our lives every day. So, let me pose another question. How would you respond if a stranger came up to you and asked you to give everything you had away– everything! – and told you to give up your family and friends as well, and then to come and follow Him? Just let that sink in for a second? How would you feel? What would you think about?
It is in just that situation that a young, rich man finds himself when talking to Jesus one day. Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 19:16-22 and sit in on the conversation and then I have a movie clip that will help put the story in modern times so that we might understand a little better what’s going on.
***Have one of the youth read Matthew 19:16-22***
***Play Rich Young Ruler (Skit Guys) video clip***
As this rich, young man came up to Jesus, he asked a question that a lot of us ask all the time. “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” This is exactly that same place that we started our conversation about taking in Daily Nutrients. The rich man was looking for a way to earn God’s love and acceptance the same way that we too often have a habit of doing. The man was desperate for an answer and wanted to have eternal life really bad. No doubt he had heard stories about Jesus and knew that he was a great teacher so he anxiously approached Jesus and asked his question.
Jesus’ response spoke to the answer that we arrived at when we asked the same question a few weeks ago. “‘Why ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good.” In other words, Jesus is saying that, “There is no good deed that you can do to earn my love and acceptance by God. Only through Me can you be accepted.” But, knowing that his answer was not what the man was asking for continued on and told him that if he wanted to receive eternal life he should keep or obey the commandments.