Summary: How fellowship with God and others is essential to living a life that matters.
John Gilbert lived in a California town called Paradise. When he was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. He was told it would eventually destroy every muscle and finally take his life. Each year John lost something. One year it was the ability to run. Another year he could no longer walk straight. Soon he couldn’t walk at all. John Gilbert passed away several years ago at the age of 25.
While alive, John experienced a lot of limitations. He loved basketball but couldn’t play. He could only take his wheelchair on to the court occasionally. One year he was named the ambassador for everyone with his condition in the state of California. He was flown to Sacramento and was ushered with his mother into the governor’s office for a private meeting.
That night the National Football League sponsored a fund-raising auction and dinner at which John was an honored guest. There were some NFL stars there who let John hold their massive Super Bowl rings. It was a great memory for him. When the fund-raising auction began, one particular item caught John’s attention: a basketball signed by the players of the Sacramento Kings. John got a little carried away, because when the ball was up for bid, he raised his hand. As soon as his hand went up, John’s mother pulled it down. In John’s words, “Astronauts never felt as many G’s as my wrist did that night.”
The bidding for the basketball rose to an astounding amount for an item that was not the most valuable treasure on the docket. Eventually, one man named a figure that shocked the room and the no one else could match. The man went to the front and collected his prize. But instead of returning to his seat, the man walked across the room and placed the signed basketball into the frail hands of the boy who had admired it so intently. The man placed the ball in hands that would never dribble it down a court, never throw it to a teammate on a fast break, never fire it from 3-point range. But those hands would cherish that basketball.
Have you bought a basketball for anyone lately?
Giving something of value to someone else, and it doesn’t just have to be material, it can be our time, it can be a listening and compassionate heart, but giving, Jesus said, brings more happiness than getting! “We are more happy when we give than when we receive.” (Jesus - Acts 20:35)
We know that but with all of the glitz coming out of Madison Avenue and all the glamour coming out of Hollywood it’s like we’re in a vise and have been squeezed into believing something else.
Giving trumps getting because when we give we’re imitating God. God is the greatest giver in the universe!
So we ought to ask ourselves, “How can we become more like God? How can we give to others and encourage others more?”
I want to talk to you about this today. “How Can We Help Others Cope by Our Friendship?” What can we do to give someone a basketball? What can we do to make the load lighter for others? And the good news is you don’t have to be able to outbid everyone else at a charity auction in order to do something important for someone. You don’t have to be rich or famous or super-talented to live a life that matters. You can be you.
And why should we be interested in helping others find meaning in life? Isn’t the search all about us?
We’re beginning a new series today called, “Made to Count” – and the subtitle asks a question, “Am I Living a Life that Matters?”
I think most of us want to live a life that matters. When we come to the end of our existence on earth we want to be able to say we made a difference. But in today’s world it’s easy to feel you’re nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet. It’s commonplace for us to feel insignificant.
The good news is each one of us does matter! Our lives matter!
We’re going to see how we’ve been created by God to make a difference by investigating the very encouraging and challenging first letter that the Apostle John wrote to the Christ followers of the early church. This letter has five chapters. So each Sunday this month we’ll investigate them one by one.
Today we begin with the topic of “fellowship” in 1 John chapter one.
Fellowship is a big part of the life that God gives us so we can lead happier and fuller lives, it’s one of the ways we were made to count. But we need to know HOW this great gift from God works so that we can be better equipped to put it to use. HOW can my fellowship with God and others help me live a life that matters?