Summary: James Byrnes, Sec’y of State under FDR, said that the difference between successful people & average people can be summed up in 3 words, "and then some." He said, "Average people do what is expected. Successful people do what is expected, & then some."
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
A. When we read the Bible, one of the things that has to impress us is that God is often calling upon His people to do things they normally couldn’t do by themselves, but that they can do with His help. God is always saying, "Lean on Me, & rely on My power & strength."
ILL. The children of Israel came to the Promised Land. They spied out the land & saw giants. They said, "We are like grasshoppers compared to those giants." It was not until the children of Israel let God go before them that the Promised Land finally became theirs.
Let’s look more closely at that 18th chapter of Luke, & at 4 of the events recorded there.
A. The first 8 verses tell about a widow who comes to an unrighteous judge for help against her adversary. Jesus tells the story in just 8 verses. So there must be a lot of the story that we don’t know.
We don’t know if the widow had money or not. Probably she didn’t. So she came requesting legal help from an unrighteous judge, & she wanted him to give her case favorable consideration without any financial reimbursement at all.
The point of the story is that this woman didn’t become discouraged when he turned her down. She kept coming back again & again, until finally, the judge just throws up his hands & says, "Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice" (Vs. 5). "Just to get rid of her, I am going to do what she asks me to do."
B. Now the next story, recorded in vs’s 9 through 14, is about the tax-collector & the Pharisee. The Pharisee looks very religious. He wears religious clothes. He sounds religious. He does religious things. He assumes that God is looking with favor upon him.
The other man doesn’t look very religious, or sound very religious. He is a tax-collector, not well respected in the community.
Both of them pray. One prays in a spirit of pride, & the other in a spirit of humility. Jesus says, "God heard the prayer of the tax-collector who simply prayed, ’God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It’s a great story!
C. The next story, found in vs’s 15 through 17 is about the children who were brought to Jesus. Now children were considered second class citizens at best. They were to be ignored, to be seen not heard.
But people kept bringing their children to Jesus. Pretty soon they are sitting on his knees, laughing with Him, & He is talking to them.
The apostles are saying, "He is too busy to be talking to your children." But Jesus says to them, "Let the little children come to me, & do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Vs’s 16-17).
D. Then, in vs’s 18 through 25, we see someone who is quite a contrast to the others we have just talked about. It is the rich young ruler.