Summary: If our lives are going to count for Christ, we need to make the daily commitment to live for Him as opposed to living for ourselves.
We are thinking about how we, as believers, can “Get In The Game” for God and live lives that count for Christ. We said we can know we’ve “Got Game” if we: Go for the gold; Aim for excellence; Make the commitment; & Expect God to work.
In “going for the gold,” we need to live our lives with “our eyes on the prize,” knowing that one day we will give an account to Christ. We’ve talked about “Aiming For Excellence” - making living live like Jesus our aim in life. We talked about how Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and take up our cross.
Now today, I want us to think about the need for each of us to “Make The Commitment” to give up our lives in order to gain our lives.
One of the most popular board games of all time is called “The Game of Life.” It was first introduced in 1860. That’s over 150 years ago!
The “Game of Life” is played very much like real life. At the beginning of the game, each player must choose what path he or she is going to take in their journey through life. They choose whether they are going to go to college or go out and get a job. As the game goes on, each player spins the wheel and moves his car the number of spaces on which the spinner stops. The space where your car lands gives you directions on what to do. On some spaces, you MUST follow the directions. On other spaces you only have to follow the directions if you want to. Just as in real life, you have many choices along the way, but what happens to you in the “Game of Life” depends on the choices you make. At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins. Is that true in real life? Do you think that when life is over, the one with the most money wins? Today we will see what Jesus had to say about that.
(READ VERSE 35)
Jesus makes it clear that there are two attitudes toward life which are possible, and you can have only one or the other:
1. We can choose to live life for ourselves - v. 35a
That is, we can hoard it, clutch it, cling to it, grasp it, try to get hold of it for yourself, take care of yourself, trust yourself, see that in every situation you are first and live with your major concern being, ‘What’s in it for me?’
That is one way to live, and millions are living that way today. But notice what Jesus says about a life live this way. It is a life that, ironically, is lost. The reason being that the things of this world which promise to satisfy and fulfill, never do.
“You will find that (if) you have everything you want, you will not want anything you have.” - Ray Steadman
Unbelievers do not have a choice on how to live. Without a relationship with Christ, they have nothing in their lives that will bring to them what their heart craves. Only a personal relationship with our creator fill the hole that is found in the heart of every person in this world.
“God has created each of us with a thirst that only He can quench. French philosopher Pascal called it a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts that only He can fill. Or as Augustine put it, ‘Our souls are restless until they find their rest in Thee.’ Man is perpetually seeking. To whatever degree we don’t know the unseen and eternal realm; we seek answers in the seen and temporal. We look for eternal answers among temporal things. But we discover that they
cannot provide them.” - Dan Stone
Many don’t realize Christ is the answer they seek and settle for life lived on a far lower level than their Creator intended for them to know.
“The great danger facing all of us . . . is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel (that) life has no meaning at all – not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to tender the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God – and be content to have it so – that is the danger. That someday we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared – satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.” - Phillips Brooks