Summary: This sermon deals with examining our hearts to see if we truly do love God.
But I Do Love You
GNLCC 9/18/2005 Deut. 8:6-20 John 21:15-19
When James saw Carlita, he knew that this was the woman he had been waiting for all his life. He knew that she would be able to do for him, things that nobody else could. It was a whirlwind of a romance, and one day he proposed to her. Tears of joy flooded down his face when she said yes. She said, “I can’t believe you’re actually crying.” He told her, “you don’t understand, I never knew love like this before. I pledge to give you the best that I’ve got. They planned to get married in nine months.”
About a month later, James lost his job and found himself needing help with his apartment. He turned to Carlita, and she said, sure I’ll help with your rent payment. James said, “ I sure do love you.” The next month he needed help again, and he also asked her to help keep his cell phone on. She agreed to do both. James said, “but I do love you.” She asked James if he could come over and do some painting at her house since that’s where they would be living once they got married. James said, n”o problem sweetheart. I do love you.” It took James two weeks to show up to paint, because he had to work it into his schedule. When he did finally show, he only did half the kitchen and left. Carlita paid someone else to finish the job.
Even though he was unemployed, he was busier than ever. He didn’t have as much time to give Carlita as before. She tried to be understanding and supportive of him. Carlita was being patient with James as she worked his bills into her budget. She knew it would end soon. Slowly but surely James started to add the phone number of other women to his cell phone. When Carlita asked about them, he said, they were just friends needing help with their men. He was trying to help them see things from a man’s point of views. He told her, with the love I have for you, no other woman stands a chance of stealing my heart. James was doing a lot of counseling on the phone that Carlita was still paying for.
In order to help his good friend Kita out, James agreed to be her escort to high school reunion. James knew that Carlita would not be happy with this, but he was going anyways. He had a great time. When Carlita mentioned she had heard about him and Kita, James couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Again he reminded Carlita of how much he loved ,her and how he appreciated all that she was doing for him. In a couple of months they were going to be married. Without her, he would be nothing.
Things finally took a financial turn for the better with James. He got a $5000 inheritance check. He quickly took the money, went on a shopping spree and got him some fabulous designer clothing and three of the finest suits. He had never spent as much money on a ring as the one on his finger. He arrived at Carlita’s house looking as though he had stepped from a ebony fashion runway. When he told her what had happened and what he had done, she asked the question, “did you think about me in all this money.” He replied yes I thought about you, you know I love you. I went and paid the last two months of my rent, so now you don’t have to pay them. Isn’t that great.
How many of you think that Carlita is being played for a fool? How many of you would say, “I don’t care how sweet he sounds each time he says I love you, run for your life and get away from him.” How many of you think that James has some serious problems that he needs to deal with, including the need to grow up?
How many of you know there is a lot of James living inside of us when it comes to our relationship to God. We initially see a real need in our lives that only God can provide. We enter into a relationship with God with the idea of becoming totally committed. We let God know that we love Him. And then things happen. God provides us with a number of ways to meet our needs, and yet there is no time to serve the Lord when God needs us.
We find ourselves filling our lives with other things and other people. We put ourselves in situations we ought to avoid, knowing they can be a challenge to the commitment we have made. We bring Kita’s into our lives, and Kita come in all different forms and shapes, from people, to careers, to hobbies and a host of other things. Kita’s slowly steal our hearts from God. When we are blessed unexpectedly, we think first of spending on ourselves and offer God what we might have left over forgetting all that God has done for us. When we look at James and tell him, “you ought to be ashamed of playing Carlita for a fool”, James can look back at us and say “is it any worse to play God for a fool.”