Summary: This sermon deals with it being in our own best interest to follow the word of God and being willing to die to our own selfish nature to build relationships with others.

It’s In Your Own Best Interest

9/2/2007 Proverbs 1:8-19 John 10:1-18

Could you help me out for a moment. Let’s say one day a family member by the name of Charles shows up at your house with no money, no food, no clothing, no nothing except a sad story about being down and out. It’s cold, wet and snowing. Charles is shivering there on your doors step.

You have compassion on Charles, and you say come on in. You invite Charles to come sit near the heat to dry off. How do you respond when the Charles says, “I’ll come over near the heat and take off this wet sweater if you will fix me some hot chocolate.” You’re surprised, but you fix the hot chocolate, and Charles takes off the wet sweater.

You ask well are you hungry. Charles says, “yes I’m about starved.” You say “I have some left over spaghetti, would you like me to warm it up.” Charles says, “Tell you what, I’ll eat something if you fix me some grits, sausage and scrambled eggs. Make sure though it’s beef sausage, because I don’t eat any pork.” You grit your teeth, and go in and make Charles some grits, sausage and scrambled eggs. You bring it to him , and the Charles says, “it looks like you forgot to put cheese on the eggs. If you put a little cheese on the eggs, I’ll help you wash the dishes afterwards if I’m not too tired.”

You can tell that Charles has not had a bath in while and so you mention the bathroom is the door upstairs to the left and the soap is already in the shower. Charles then says,” I’ll take a shower if you agree to put my clothes in the washer while I’m in the bathroom.”

How many of you are ready to show Charles another door that leads to the same place he came into your house from. What Charles failed to see, was that it was in his or own best interest to do the things you requested and accept whatever you offered. Instead he only focus on what he wanted regardless of the cost.

We can see right through Charles and pity him, and not realize how much of Charles is in us when it comes to our relationship with God. Charles was treating you, as though he was doing you a favor by letting you take care of some genuine needs he had in his life. So many of us treat God, as though we are doing God a favor by letting God have a role in our lives. We are doing God a favor by coming to church or by singing.

We do not recognize that it is in our own best interest to live according to God’s word. We tell God, God if you do this for me (make me grits, sausage and scrambled eggs with cheese) then I will do your will for my life over here. I’ll go to church, put in a little money, and volunteer once in awhile.

How many of you know that getting your way, and having your best interest at heart can be two totally different things that are worlds apart. Most of the people in prison, got their way, but they didn’t get their best interest. Most teens that drop out of school get their way, but don’t get what’s in their best interest.

Many times in argument, you may get you way, but not get what’s in your best interest. By best interest, I mean what is going to be the most helpful thing to you in the long run. Getting your way at a particular moment may be great at the moment, but it can be devastating over time.

All of us has a heart, that is capable of being cruel, deceptive, manipulative, greedy, selfish and a whole host of other things. These things do not look out for our own best interests, and they cloud our judgment in even understanding what is in our best interest. Have you said something like, “I don’t care what happens, I’m going to….do what. We do things because we think they are going to make us happy. They are going to make us feel good. They are going to make us truly enjoy life. They are going to just make us have a good time. We are searching for that good life.

Others know we are searching for it ,and so they tell us here is what you need for the good life. They offer us the same four or five things over and over again, but it comes in different packages. We are offered pleasure, possessions, power, and praise. Pleasure comes in the form of food, sex, drugs, and hobbies. Posssesions come in the form of clothes, cars, houses, jewelry, and objects. Power comes in the form of money and positions. Praise comes in the form of popularity, fame, beauty and being number one. That’s all we are offered.

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