Sermons

Summary: Challenge to Christian Stewardship

Growing In The Grace Of Giving

Bible Reading:

Mark 10: 17-31

PREPARED BY

KEN GEHRELS

PASTOR

CALVIN CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH

NEPEAN, ONTARIO

Swiss inventor George de Mestral loved to be outdoors. But while outdoors he couldn’t stand burrs. Dumb things. Burrs stuck to his wool hunting pants and his dog’s fur, annoying to him because of the amount of time it took to remove the pesky things. Being an inventor he wondered why these burrs stuck. Looking at them under a microscope, he noticed that each burr consisted of hundreds of tiny hooks which "grabbed" into loops of thread or fur.

De Mestral decided to take this natural wonder and turn it into an everyday useful item. In 1951 he received a patent for this product.

Know what it is?

"Hook and loop fastener" is the technical term.

Most of us know it as velcro.

An artificial fabric with hundreds of microscopic loops on one side.

The other side with hundreds of tiny hooks - an artificial burr.

Today we find those fasteners just about everywhere.

It’s so simple - and so effective, grabbing with incredible staying power.

Just a reflection of what the Lord has created into nature long ago in the burr.

Actually - not only in the burr.

This hook and loop dynamic shows up all over the place, if you watch for it.

Including right inside the human soul.

It’s my observation that each of us has many - perhaps hundreds, perhaps more - little loops that dangle off the edge of our soul, our mind, our heart..... however you want to think of the inner engine that drives who we are and how we function as people.

There are little loops dangling around inside us that will readily link into certain issues and drives which float around out there, issues and human drives which seem to have tiny hooks dangling off them that are almost made to measure for those loops on our soul.

You can probably name some of these hook-equipped issues:

- esteem: of self and others

- sexuality

- significance

- comfort

And this loop, probably one of the biggest - I tend to think there are dozens of hooks on this issue as it floats around, hooks that grab on even the smallest loop in a person -- money

Every single one of us will face these issues.

And every single one of us will need to struggle throughout our lives to not allow these matters to become so hooked into our soul that they assume over-rated importance, perhaps even beginning to smother us.

This morning I want to deal with the biblical theme of Stewardship, a theme that, among other things, reaches out to challenge the hook that money uses to grab hold of our soul.

Stewardship – The challenge facing believers in Jesus Christ to live as a caretaker, a manager

– living with the responsibility of handling, developing and maintaining what has been entrusted to us by the Divine Creator.

One of the big responsibilities facing Stewards is the care of..... money.

all kinds of prickly barbs protruding from it, ready and eager to cling to our soul in burr-like tenacity, tighter than any velcro fastener.

Which is why scripture has so much to say about the subject. Including:

MARK 10: 17-31

The hook and loop fastening between a person’s soul and a person’s wealth.

Ah, this rich young man had such trouble letting go.

In fact, apart from a miracle worked in his heart by the Lord, it was impossible.

This fellow’s wealth mattered to him – a lot!

As it did to one other character in this story. Do you notice that?

Notice how defensive Peter is about this whole richness thing.

He is quick, very quick with his response.

Becomes concerned about his personal place in it.

Quickly he reminds Jesus about his sacrifice (v.28).

Peter is worried about what he’s getting out of the deal – what’s his cut in it all? The loops of his soul are as deeply embedded as those of the rich young man.

In fact, it’s that way for all of us.

Which is why Jesus adds the peculiar line that formed the last sentence of our reading -

"but many who are first will be last, and the last first." (v.31)

"Peter," says Jesus, "Be careful that this whole thing doesn’t go to your head. When you think you’ve got it under control, that you’re ahead of the game, you may quickly find yourself slipping to the back of the pack."

Be careful, or preoccupation with wealth will consume you.

Which is what is happening in Canada today.

We are a rich culture, and money sits right at the heart of it all.

Someone has even suggested that "we North Americans are slaves to our money; we feel free because we are able to purchase what we want and need. However, like any other addict, we think the solution to our craving is one more fix; whether rich or poor, we buy more things to feel better."

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