Summary: Message given to a college group about escaping the trap of materialism.

Escaping the Rat Race

Luke 12:13-34

Thursday, November 6, 2003


You just heard that I’m a pastor here in town, and in the interest of helping you find a decent church, I want to offer you 10 signs that the church you’re looking at is a bad one:

10. The church bus has gun racks.

9 . The church staff consists of Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor and Socio-pastor.

8. The Bible they use is the "Dr. Seuss Version."

7. There’s an ATM in the lobby.

6. The choir wears leather robes.

5. Worship services are BYOS - "Bring your own snake."

4. No cover charge, but communion is a two-drink minimum.

3. Karaoke Worship Time

2. Ushers ask, "Smoking or non-smoking?"

1. The only song the organist knows is "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

Tonight I want to visit with you about escaping the rat race.

The movie, “Rat Race,” is obviously a modern day tale of materialism, in that the lure of lots of “easy money” drove their lives for a day, but did you know that materialism existed in Jesus’ day? It’s true. People were caught up in accumulating possessions and wealth above all else, just like today.

You know, Jesus talked more about money than He did about heaven. Why? Because He knew the hold it could have on us if we let it.

In the movie we see a whole bunch of people willing to sacrifice anything to get the money, because they saw the money as the answer to all their problems as well as the source of new opportunities.

And you know what? I’ve been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. As I talk tonight, I’ll be sharing some things about my own life, just so you know that I’m not just up here trying to spout off about some nice spiritual platitudes we should just generally get a hold of.

What I’m going to share with you tonight is real-life stuff that you can take back and implement in your life right away.

So how do we escape the rat race? The Bible gives us some clues. Jesus tells a story and lays down some principles that will help all of us in this regard.

Allow me to read this to you. It’s found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 13-34, and it goes like this:

13Then someone called from the crowd, "Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me."

14Jesus replied, "Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?" 15Then he said, "Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own."

16And he gave an illustration: "A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. 18So he said, `I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store everything. 19And I’ll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’

20"But God said to him, `You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get it all?’

21"Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God."

22Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, "So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food to eat or clothes to wear. 23For life consists of far more than food and clothing. 24Look at the ravens. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! 26And if worry can’t do little things like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27"Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! 29And don’t worry about food--what to eat and drink. Don’t worry whether God will provide it for you. 30These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. 31He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.

32"So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

33"Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no holes in them. Your treasure will be safe--no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

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