Summary: A Sermon to help lead your church to commit to generous living
Good morning! Please turn in your copy of God’s Word to 2 Kings. We are starting a new message series this morning called “Overflow: Living the Generous Life.” And I want to be really transparent with you and tell you the reason for this particular sermon series. In a couple of weeks, we are going to be voting on our budget for 2020. And, if I’m being really honest, you may look at the bottom line for this year’s budget and feel a little…overwhelmed. Because it’s a big budget. It may be the biggest in the history of Glynwood. You might be looking at your own finances, and you get even more overwhelmed. You feel like you are already stretched to the max, you already feel a little guilty every time the offering plate comes around, and here we are increasing the budget?
And if you are a guest with us this morning, you may feel kind of like you do when you turn on Christian radio or NPR and realize its pledge week. You’re thinking, “Honey, we picked the wrong week to visit. They’re going to be talking about money. Well, take heart. Because for one thing, we’re not just going to be talking about money. We are going to talk about what it means to move from overwhelmed to overflowing in every area of our lives.
Because it’s not just our finances that are making us feel overwhelmed. We live in a society in which people don’t just overspend their budgets and overdraw their checking accounts, but
they overbook their calendars. They overload their emotions. They (or can I switch to “we”?) overwork our bodies. We overprogram our days. And we overvalue the opinion of others.
And in doing so, we overlook our physical and emotional health. We are overcome by stress. And we feel overwhelmed by expectations and demands.
So this morning, I want to introduce you to an Old Testament prophet named Elisha. Elisha ministered primarily in the northern kingdom of Israel from 848 BC to 797 BC. About 51 years. We are going to look at three key scenes from his first few months of public ministry. And as we are studying him, we are going to zero in on how we move from overwhelmed to overflowing.
Scene One: A Big Ask (2 Kings 2:9-10)
The task before Elisha was overwhelming. He had been Elijah’s protégé for years. Way back in 1 Kings 19, the Lord directed Elijah to annoint Elisha to be his successor. Talk about some big shoes to fill—Elijah had faced down the prophets of Baal. He’d raised someone from the dead. He’d called down fire on the enemies of Israel. And perhaps most significantly, he stood against an absolutely corrupt king who was leading the nation away from God.
When we get to 2 Kings 2, we learn that the Lord is about to take Elijah to heaven. So You can imagine that Elisha might be a little overwhelmed. Three different times, (verse 2, 4, and 6) Elijah tells Elisha to leave him. And three different times, Elisha gives the same answer—“As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.”
Lesson: Don’t move from the Master
Even when we are overwhelmed by our circumstances, we cannot move from our Master. I think these three times Elijah tried to get Elisha to leave him might have been a test. Elisha has been following Elijah for some time now. Will he leave him now? If it was a test, Elisha passes it—I will not leave you.
If we ever want to move from overwhelmed to overflowing, realize it won’t be a move away from Jesus. We might be in a season of life where we think, “I really don’t have time to invest in Jesus. Finals are coming up, or there’s a big project at work. I really don’t have the financial resources to tithe. We have a son about to graduate, and college is expensive.”
But those of us who have trusted Jesus as our Savior are obligated to keep our eyes on him no matter what challenges we face. We have confessed the Jesus is Lord. That means he is Lord of our schedules. He is Lord of our contact list. And he is Lord of our bank accounts. John 15:5-11 (it says John 5 in your sermon notes—sorry about that) says
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. [abide means stay connected. Your translation might say “remains”] 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.