Summary: Strength and supply come from the contentment we find in our realtionship with Chrsit, not in how much stuff we’ve accumulated.
“How Much is enough”
Because God Is Generous Series
(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)
Wakelee Church ~ November 14, 2004
Theme: Strength and supply come from the contentment
we find in our relationship with Christ, not in how
much stuff we’ve accumulated.
Introduction – How do we know when enough is enough?
I’ve been struck by something lately. It seems as if we’re always carrying something either into or out of our homes. It is a very rare day indeed when I pull our Grand Voyager or Mazda into our driveway without having to haul plastic bags into the house.
Probably nothing strange here, being that we live where we live, if you need something you try to make the most of each trip right?
But what got me to thinking was this, just about every other day or so, my wife goes around to just about every room in our house and fills up another plastic bag to be carried out of the house. In that bag is some of the same stuff that we had hauled into our house sometimes just days earlier, along with stuff, we’ve determined to be no longer valuable.
The short story…stuff comes in on a regular basis in plastic, and stuff in plastic goes out on a regular basis. Is the conclusion that its good to own stock in plastic? Maybe.
But it struck me as ironic. We buy stuff and when we find no value in what we’ve bought we through it away and then buy more stuff that we’ll eventually find no value in and throw away…what we bring in eventually gets carried right back out again…how much is enough?
I remember an African missionary who once came to our home when I was a child. It was harvest time and peaches were plentiful, and we were blessed to have a half-bushel of them. After dinner we ate them for desert, but something became obvious almost immediately.
As we were scarfing down one peach, then two, the African missionary was still suck the pit of his first peach. And when we offered him another, he simply thanked us and continued enjoying that first pit.
Finally, being impatient at my young age, I finally blurted out, “Why suck the pit when you can have another peach?” The missionary simply replied, “I don’t need another when I’m content with one.”
How much is really enough?
The Philippian story…
The church in Philippi was much like a poor African village. They didn’t have much of anything. In fact, if you have your Bibles turn them over to 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Hear Paul talks about the Macedonian churches, of which the church of Philippi was one. I’ll be reading from The Message, Peterson’s paraphrase…
“Now friends I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonian province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trail exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, through desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offering s of whatever they could—far more than they could afford—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.
This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in the lives…”
The church at Philippi was sucking on its last pit, but it still found a way to support Paul in ministry. Paul responded to their giving in this closing section of his letter with a personal, flowing statement out of Paul’s love and appreciation for their trust, their confidence and their sacrifice.
In this passage, Paul tells us the secret for knowing how much is too much by saying…I have learned to be content because I find my strength in Christ and I know that God will supply.
I – We need to find contentment…vs. 11
The first step is finding contentment.
Did you know that much of the advertising we see is focused on changing our level of contentment? The careers of any good marketing or sales person is to make you feel like you could not live without whatever they are trying to sell…
Your car isn’t good enough, you need the newest model.
Your clothes are in fashion enough, you need to be in style. Your television is too old, your computer too slow, your VCR is ancient, don’t you know it’s all DVDs now…
And what’s great about the process of owning all this new stuff is a thing called financing…that’s right, ladies and gentlemen, if we don’t have enough money to