Summary: This sermon is about honoring God with "everything you own"
Chris Webb in The Fire of the Word tells “A friend… told me the story of an uncle who, on retirement, decided to read right through the Bible. Twelve months later having easily achieved his goal, he reasoned that with all his spare time he had on his hands, he might actually be able to read the entire book in a single month.” Then he set out to read the Bible every month for the next twelve years he would read it 144 times! “There’s a Biblical number”. …
“And that is exactly what he did. Rarely has anyone been so immersed in the Bible as that man. “And here’s the irony,” said my friend; “my uncle died shortly afterwards… the meanest, bitterest son of a gun you could ever wish to meet.” (1). And that is exactly what happens when we read the word, but the Word isn’t rooted in who we are. The Word of God should be alive and living in us!
The other day someone posted a cartoon, I don’t know if it was Far Side, but it might have been. It was a picture of a church, and they were taking up the offering, and it said “The Widow Stone didn’t hear so well” and the picture showed her putting into the offering her “termites”. The widow gave her “ter mites”. That was a joke! Okay! Okay! But that's what happenes when we don't know the Word, or we think we know it, and then we apply it incorrectly!
Remember that story found in Mark 12:41-44?
“The Widow’s Two Mites 41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,[a] which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
The story of the widow’s two mights is really a story about honoring God? I want you to think about that phrase, “honoring God” this morning as we look at what the Scripture says to us.
Here are some quotes that deal with honor:
Jarod Kintz, in I Want wrote “I want to write a poem about "Truth," "Honor," "Dignity," and whether the toilet paper should roll over or under when you pull on it.” (2)
Abraham Lincoln said “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” (2)
Wendelin Van Draanen, in Flipped wrote, “...Next time you're faced with a choice, do the right thing. It hurts everyone less in the long run.” (2)
Ask yourself as you hear the Scripture read: "What does it mean though to honor God?" (let’s pray)
(The Message) "1-2 Good friend, don't forget all I've taught you; take to heart my commands."
Take to heart can both mean “keep in your heart” or “learn in your heart” (3). The Hebrew word “natsar” (pron. “naw-tsar”) (#5341), can also mean guard, protect, maintain, obey, preserve, observe”. In a bad sense it can also me “hide” or “conceal”, but when we read on we find it is a way we live our life, so I don’t think it means conceal it. It is an admonition that calls us to live out what we have learned. What we have learned about God!
"take to heart my commands. They'll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well.
3-4 Don't lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God's eyes and the eyes of the people."
Tie them around your neck is also translated “bind”. Bind, defined is to fasten, or secure or to wrap. The scripture goes on to say “carve” or “write” them on your heart. While literally you wouldn’t cut into your heart, the idea is that the Word of God, the commands of God, should be so etched in your heart that they are permanent.
I was thinking that if you went out to a tree and you carved "I heart Laurel" in the tree bark, you could come back to that spot ten years later; twenty years later; thirty years later and you would still see that word etched in the tree! So it is also to be with us that we "etch" the Word of God into our hearts!