Summary: The main idea shared here is "don't go overboard about things you'd throw overboard." The message looks at how often only a life-threatening situation can cause us to let loose of our possessions.
MAN OVERBOARD: Don’t go overboard about things you’d throw overboard.
- Jonah 1:5.
- This trip was undertaken for financial reasons. They didn’t just set sail because they wanted to see the ocean for a while. They did it because there was money to be made. They didn’t take Jonah on out of the goodness of their hearts – he was a paying customer.
- Yet when the storm rose and their lives were on the line, they didn’t hesitate to throw all that cargo overboard. They knew that the financial loss was a small price in comparison to losing their lives.
- The cargo was so valuable when they left port, but it ended up at the bottom of the ocean.
- We “go overboard” when it comes to our possessions.
- Yet faced with a threat to our lives in the same way the sailors faced, we would gladly throw our possessions “overboard” if it would save us.
- If you asked the man facing cancer if he would give up all he owned in exchange for being cancer-free, I bet most wouldn’t hesitate to make the trade.
- Yet we treat our possessions like they’re the most important things ever. We go overboard about all our stuff.
HOLDING BACK: We say they’re “only things,” but you have to pry them from our hands.
- Going back to the cancer analogy for a moment, we acknowledge that we would gladly do that if faced with the loss of our lives, yet we probably wouldn’t do it for much less than that.
- We’re going to talk more about the rich young man in Mark 10 here in a moment, but for right now just note one thing: Jonah’s crew was willing to throw their possessions overboard; the rich young man was not. Why? Because Jonah’s crew felt their lives were on the line; the rich young man did not.
- In truth, in many significant ways, the young man’s spiritual life was on the line, but that wasn’t enough.
- Harper’s Index reported in May 1998 that a Maryland man had, in order to win a motorboat in a contest, spent 59 consecutive hours kissing a boat.
- It would be easy to make fun of a man spending 59 hours in such an embarrassingly materialistic way, if it weren’t that so many of us spend our whole lives in such an embarrassingly materialistic way.
- By one reckoning, more Americans make it to the mall on an average week than make it to church.
- We will freely acknowledge that money can buy. . .
- A bed, but not sleep.
- Books, but not wisdom.
- Food, but not an appetite.
- Make-up, but not beauty.
- Medicine, but not health.
- Religion, but not salvation.
- Back in 1999, I was the fourth car in a five-car pile-up on I-64 coming into Charleston. My car was totaled, but I was blessed to walk away unhurt. When I got myself together afterward, I got out of the car and saw that the woman in the car behind me was weeping. I thought, “She must be really hurt.” She wasn’t. She was weeping because her car was brand-new – she had just picked it up the previous day in Lexington. She was weeping! Now, I liked my Mazda 626, but my car and her car were hunks of metal and it seems a little much to weep over a hunk of metal.
- In fact, the only thing that seems more foolhardy would be to spend your whole life running after hunks of metal.
HOLDING ON TO POSSESSIONS:
1. Money is not evil – it’s just in the way.
- The rich young man was saddened as he walked away from Jesus because he was unwilling to sell off his possessions in order to follow Him. It’s not that the money was evil – money is morally neutral. You can use it for good or evil. It’s just a tool. The bigger problem was that the money got in the way for this man.
- Here he is being offered an unbelievable opportunity! To walk around with Jesus, to learn from Him, to sit at the feet of the greatest teacher ever. And yet he declines it because the “price of admission” is too high. He is unwilling to lay aside his possessions.
- The money, rather than being a blessing, got in the way.
- How often does this happen in our lives?
a. We work too much in order to achieve a certain lifestyle.
b. We love our things more than we love God.
c. We allow the pursuit of the American Dream to divert us from living for the Kingdom.