Summary: When God blesses you, He has chosen to favor you. But for what? It is for this: God blesses you that you will be a blessing to others! His blessing is about you, but it’s not about you. It’s about others that you have the privilege of blessing!
"It’s Not About You"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: Luke 14:12-24
Purpose: When God blesses you, He has chosen to favor you. But for what? It is for this: God blesses you that you will be a blessing to others! His blessing is about you, but it’s not about you. It’s about others that you have the privilege of blessing!
My feeling today is that this sermon message is something like, well... something like going from the "dark side of the moon," and emerging into the light. I hope you’ll see what I mean.
Our Scripture is Luke 14:12-24. Let’s look at what Jesus taught back then, and see if He is saying anything to us today.
DANGEROUS TO TAKE YOUR LORD FOR GRANTED
There is a phrase in the English language that we have all heard. It sounds like this: "I took it/him/her/them FOR GRANTED."
It seems to me by reading this passage that the so-called friends of the inviting man took him for granted! Doesn’t it seem that way to you?
Bid My Friends to Come Join Me
The Scripture does not explicitly say that generous feast-giving man sent his servant to invite the man’s friends to supper. It only says: "A certain man made a great supper, and bade many," (v 16b).
But by reading further we find that THOSE INITIALLY INVITED DID NOT COME in. Only those who were in "the streets and lanes of the city," and those out in "the highways and hedges" actually came in to the supper.
So I’m guessing that...
* Those who came were not actual friends of the generous man, and,
* Those who did not come were previously acquaintances and friends of the generous man.
==> The well-to-do generous man invited his friends to join him for a lovely supper. But they all had their "own thing" to do instead.
The Lord "Calls" You to Him
In our Christian Scripture, in our Christian tradition, in our Christian experience--our Great God BIDS US TO COME CLOSER to Him.
Certainly the point Jesus wants us to get is that God calls us to fellowship with Him. Father God sets the table--a luxurious table. And then...
* He sends for His acquaintances.
* He sends for His friends.
* He sends for us!
In Scripture, the generous man’s friends reply...
* Sorry. Got to go work on my ground.
* Sorry. Got to go see how my animal is.
* Sorry. Got a new wife. Got to be with her, ya’ know.
==> What do we say? We say, "Sorry, Boss. Kinda busy right now. Can I take a rain-check? I know you’ll forgive me. See ya’ next week."
I guess I’m sort of radical these days. Perhaps too much so for you. But I have to tell you how God is working in me, and how wonderfully I see God working in many of you. My feelings these days MIGHT BE a bit radical.
==> Let me tell you how I am experiencing God in my life. My feelings these days are that, from God’s point-of-view, IT’S NOT ABOUT ME AND IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. (Poetry here? Me thinks not!)
What is the "it"? The "it" is my life. The "it" is my priorities.
I have read in Scripture:
Thus saith the LORD, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glories glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight," saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
==> Priorities in life: understanding and knowing God. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU; IT’S ABOUT GOD.
I have experienced this in life: those persons whom I choose to "hang out" with are the persons that I like the most. And so I sense the Holy Spirit of Christ begging to spend time with me:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
IT’S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT YOU NOR ABOUT ME, but about being with Christ.
Dangerous to Take God for Granted
And yet in the culture I have grown up in, the Christians SEEM TO TAKE GOD FOR GRANTED. I’ve noticed it. They think, or they demonstrate by their life:
"Well, God’s mission of reaching others doesn’t really need me. God’s assembly of people can do without me on a regular basis. God’s Word and His presence in my life aren’t the top priorities in my life."
==> No wonder it took me 32 years before I became a genuine follower of Jesus. HIS PEOPLE SIMPLY DIDN’T IMPRESS ME by their lack of priorities to be genuine followers! THEY TAKE GOD FOR GRANTED.