Summary: The Christian life is not a playground. Life is tough. It’s a struggle, even for the best of Christians, even for the strongest Christians. That’s why you need to share your burdens with one another.
I invite you to open your Bibles with me to the book of Romans. Romans 15. We’re going to start reading in verse 23 in just a moment. I heard the funny story about a man who asked a lawyer, “How much would you charge me for me to ask you three questions?” The lawyer said, “Oh, $100.” The guy said, “$100, don’t you think that’s kind of expensive?” The lawyer said, “No. That’s two questions, now what’s your third?”
I want to ask you a question, and it won’t cost you or me anything: “Where are you going to be when the calendar clicks over from 1999 to 2000?” You say, “I’m going to be at some New Year’s Eve party.” I want to remind you that I invited you in January to the New Year’s Eve celebration we’re going to have right here in this room called “Celebrate 2000,” New Year’s Eve, starts at 9:45, Celebration Choir and orchestra is going to be singing, there’s going to be great music, great fellowship. And believe it or not, I’m going to teach the entire book of Revelation that night. I’m going to do it, trust me. Even with that, when midnight hits, we’re going to be praying. We’re going to pray in the year 2000.
There are a lot of places you can be on New Year’s Eve, and if the Lord tarries, there is a lot of time for you to have New Year’s Eve parties, but where you are I think when the calendar goes to 2000 is going to say a lot about your priorities. So I hope you’ll be here that night. I’m going to be inviting you all during the next few weeks to remind you about it.
The text we’re looking at today is this. “Blessings are to be shared, not stored.” This passage of scripture today, the last part of chapter 15, is all about the connection between spiritual blessings and material blessings. It’s going to be a lesson today on Christian stewardship, about how God wants to increase you in terms of your financial assets.
Throughout the years, experts have proven themselves wrong. Let me read to you what some experts have written about different things over the years. In 1840, a transportation expert wrote in a leading newspaper, “Anyone who travels in excess of 30 miles an hour would surely suffocate from the speed.” They were saying that nobody would ever travel faster than 30 miles an hour. Then the trains arrived. 1878, a leading scientist wrote: “Electric lights are unfeasible and not worthy of serious attention.” Well, of course, he was wrong. In 1901, a leading scientist wrote, “No possible combination can be united into a practical machine by which men can ever fly.” In fact, just a couple of months after he wrote that, the Wright brothers did fly at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Even in 1926 a leading scientist wrote, “It is a foolish idea to consider shooting a man to the moon, because it is basically impossible.” As you know, it’s been done. In 1930, another leading scientist wrote, “To harness the energy locked up in matter is impossible.” But of course, Albert Einstein disagreed, and today we now have nuclear energy.
I say that, because through the years, experts have been wrong. You know what an expert is? It’s somebody from out of town with a briefcase. That’s the definition of an expert is. Today there are a lot of financial experts who are telling you how you can invest, how you can increase your assets, how you can take some money and make it grow. The leading experts of the world basically have this philosophy. “Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the can, and poison the rest.” In other words, “Just get for yourself, accumulate, accumulate, and don’t worry about anybody else.” Well, today we’re going to see about the blessing of sharing. Look with me here in chapter 15:23 of Romans.
He writes, “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions [meaning Greece or Corinth] and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for awhile.”
Put your finger there for just a moment. Paul is in Corinth, in Greece. Kind of imagine that on a map. He wants to head west to Spain. On his way, he’s going to stop by in Rome, which is about 500 miles from Corinth. But instead of heading west, the next verse tells us he’s going to go in the opposite direction. He’s going to make a 2,000-mile detour. Why? Keep reading.