Summary: Have we become tamed and placed within a cage? Or are we willing to risk and move beyond our comfort zones?
February 15, 2009
* Sermon inspired by Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase.
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 Jesus answered, "Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’"
20 He declared, "Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him, saying, "One thing you lack, go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Two weeks ago I spoke about our treasures. At the end of the message I asked you a couple of questions . . .
What is it you treasure?
What is your greatest desire in life?
How much does money - -
the love of money / the fear of money drive your life?
As Paul told Timothy, you came into the world with nothing and you will leave with nothing. In essence, it’s what you do inbetween which will make the difference. How you serve . . . how you give . . . how you live . . . those will be your legacies.
You see, I believe we all want to have hope in this lifetime, but honestly, I think most people struggle having any hope, and that is why we are so negative. It’s why we have no problem finding faults with anything and everything. We do it at home, we do at work, we do it at school, and we do it at church. Everything we get involved in we end up trying to rate or pick apart for what is wrong, instead of looking at life and seeing what is right. Even if it means we have to dig a little, there is a lot that is right in this life . . . but do you see it? Or do you prefer to dwell on what you don’t think is right, which by the way, may in someone else’s eyes may be 100% right.
You see, God calls us to be a people of hope, not because our hope rests in ourselves. If that was the case, then we should be hopeless, but our hope rests on Christ. He is the author and giver of hope and without Him, we are to be pitied.
When we move away from Jesus, we move away from our hope.
When we spew our negativity, we move away from our hope.
When we accept temptation and sin, we move away from our hope.
When we gossip and slander and backstab, we move away from our hope.
When we accept bitterness and unforgiveness, we move away from our hope.
When we place our hope in ourselves, we have lost all hope.
I can go on, but I think you get the point. We need to get back to the reason for our hope, and that is Jesus Christ. He calls us in two very different and distinct ways.
Firstly, He calls you and I to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That Jesus is the Messiah, the One sent by the Father to earth, so he could lead us down the road to faith and forgiveness; grace and mercy; hope and love; patience and kindness. He desires for you and I to be in a trusting relationship with Him, but too often we accept the humdrum of life. We accept an inverted view of Christianity. This means Christ is on the bottom and we are on top.
Instead of following the Spirit, we invite the Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God’s purposes, we want Him to serve our purposes. And while this may seem like a subtle distinction, it makes a huge difference. The result of this inverted relationship with God is not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty, it’s also the difference between spiritual boredom or spiritual apathy and spiritual calling and spiritual passion. It’s like that old bumper sticker which said, “God is my co-pilot.” If God is your co-pilot then you are in trouble, because God needs to have the pilots seat.
Secondly, God calls us to get involved. There is no such thing as a retired Christian. We are all called to be actively engaged serving Christ. It could be within the church or in the community, but we ALL should be serving. To accomplish this God calls each one of us according to His plans, ways, thoughts, and methodology. And when He calls you and me, He leads the way. God will not call us, then bail out on us. Instead, He leads us to where we need to be going, as long as we allow Him to pilot the ship.