Summary: Why should I seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness... and how can I know I’ve done so?
OPEN: There was once a rich man who was very, very miserable. He had all he could buy, but nothing seemed to please him and he didn’t know why. So, one day he visited an old friend and explained his misery to him.
The old friend smiled and said “Fred, I know what your problem is, and I can show you what is wrong.”
With that he took Fred over to a window and asked him what he saw.
The man stood there for awhile and said, “Well I see several men and women out on the sidewalk and I see a few children."
The friend then took him by the hand and led him across the room to a mirror and said, "Now, look in there and tell me what you see."
The man frowned and said, "Well obviously I see myself."
"That’s interesting. In the window there is glass, in the mirror there is glass. When you look out the window you see the world. But when you look in the mirror all you see is yourself.
Do you know what the difference is between those two kinds of glass?”
(addressing the audience) Do you know what the difference is? If you took a pane of glass and mounted it on the wall, would you see your reflection in it like it was a mirror? Of course not. Why not? What is the difference between the glass in a window and the glass in a mirror?
(wait for a reply) That’s right - the back of the mirror is lined in silver!
The friend said “No sooner is silver added than you cease to see others, and only yourself."
Silver and Gold can have that effect on what you see.
It can have an effect on your relationship with people, and it can affect your relationship with God.
Jesus said: No man can serve two masters.
He didn’t say that you SHOULDN’T TRY to serve two masters
He didn’t say IT WASN’T A GOOD IDEA to serve two masters
He said NO ONE can do it… You CANNOT serve two masters
It cannot be done!
If you try to serve both God and money you’ll end up hating one and loving the other. You can’t focus your life both on serving gold… and serving God. One of them will be subservient to the other.
ILLUS: An excellent example is the story of Cain and Abel. Cain was a successful farmer and Abel was a successful shepherd. They both brought their offerings to God… but God rejected Cain’s offering. Why?
Genesis 4:4 says that “…Abel brought FAT portions from some of the FIRSTBORN of his flock.” He brought the best he had.
But Genesis 4:3 says that “….Cain brought SOME of the fruits of the soil as an offering…”
Now notice the underlying message here:
Abel gave God THE FAT portions.
He gave from the 1st born of the flock
His gift was deliberate and choice portions of his flock.
But Cain didn’t do that.
Cain gave SOME of the fruit of the soil.
He didn’t give God his firstfruits… he gave Him the leftovers.
One person so aptly said:
“Abel gave God Filet Mignon.
Cain gave Him some old broccoli.”
Cain gave his leftovers. Why would Cain do that? Why did he give God his leftovers?
Because HIS possessions were more important to him than his God was. Cain loved his possessions… he didn’t really love God.
ILLUS: I heard a young woman telling about her grandmother. When Birthdays or Christmas came around the grandchildren on one side of the family received lavish toys and gifts. But she and her brother got items that came from Goodwill and garage sales. How did they know? Some of the items she got still had stickers from those places and some of the clothes hadn’t even been washed.