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Summary: When our blessings become our curses, it is because we are holding on too tightly.

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Luke 12:32-40

Paonia United Methodist Church

August 8, 2004

Life is hard.

No, I mean it.

Life in and of itself is rough.

We get up,

We encounter situations we would just as soon avoid,

We deal with people we would just as soon pass on by,

We struggle just to make ends meet…

And, no one gets out of here alive.

Life is hard.

And, we are the wealthiest most blessed nation that has ever existed.

If we are in a position to complain about our lives,

What kind of lamenting do you suspect Jesus listened to

As the people around him struggled for their very existence?

It certainly puts our problems into perspective.

I am hoping that our youth who attended the Heifer Ranch got a good dose of that.

Struggling with midterms and struggling to find food are not equal stressors…

Although, both certainly do cause stress.

Dealing with a boss that doesn’t recognize all your gifts may be insulting,

But coming home with no way to feed your children

Is something quite different all together.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I think that it is easy to lose our perspective on life.

I think that we have it so good here that

Any inconvenience or annoyance that we have to deal with

Creates an undue level of stress.

The reality is that when you leave here today,

Short of a meteor or runaway train hitting your house,

You will have a place to go home to.

You have a life and people around you that love you.

Whether you live in a mansion or a trailer,

Your life is better than 90% of this world that

Struggles to get by.

So, why the stress?

Why, when we have it so good are we so stressed out

By the things in life that are supposed to be our blessings?

Now, if you missed that part,

Let me repeat it…

Why are we so stressed out by our blessings?

Have you noticed that our blessings are the very things that get us worked up?

Our jobs, our cars, our homes, our kids…

I don’t know your situation…

Fill in the blank.

Now, please understand something here…

I am not making light of real life and death struggles here.

Domestic violence, cancer, alcoholism…

These are real issues.

But, that is not what I am talking about right now.

I am talking about the mortgage,

The kids grades in school, braces, the car, the lawn,

Again, I don’t know your situation,

But I do have a pretty good idea that there are a lot of people

Who spend a lot of time worrying and stressing out

About their blessings.

So, what advice did Jesus give to those

Around him that were preoccupied with their stressors?

Well, I am going to give you the Gospel lesson in two parts this morning.

They do go together, but getting their connection may

Take a little explaining.

Let me give you the first part now.

Take a listen…

Luke 12

32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This is the Word of the Lord

Wow!

Don’t you all feel better now!

Sell all your possessions and give them away.

If you want to clear out your checking account today in order

To make yourselves feel better, you spell my last name…

N-A-D-A-S-I… and we will both feel better.

You know, when I have asked people over the years their favorite

Bible verses, I cannot recall ever hearing one person recite this one.

In fact, it stands so far out, that we have a tendency to miss

What comes before it and after…

Listen again to the first verse.

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you

the kingdom.”

Did you hear that part?

Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

I want you to hold on to that thought.

Hang on to it and then reflect again on those things that have you stressed out.

What is it that you worry about that keeps you up at night?

What is it that you find yourself preoccupied with?

Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

If that is so, why am I still so worked up?

Now that is real question.

Let’s take a look again at that getting rid of your possessions part.

How many of you think that really means having a big auction,

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