Summary: A sermon on the Great Commandment; 1. Love the Lord. 2. Love yourself. 3. Love others. (Portions taken from an article by Lucinda Norman in Lookout Magazine http://www.lookoutmag.com)
Sermon for 4/17/2005
Jesus’ Life- Management Map
When I was in high school, the #1 thing that I enjoyed was Bible Bowl. My life management map would have been Bible Bowl at the top, and school and other things below this. When Crystal was in high school, the #1 thing that she enjoyed was piano. Her life management map would have been piano at the top, and school and other things below this. Now, I can’t speak for Crystal, but I know that looking back I should have make relationships a higher priority. I was a hermit, a loner and relationships were good (I enjoyed my teammates) but when some relationship got in the way of my #1 thing then that relationship would be have been abandoned or at least shied away from. Sometimes people were seen as nuisances or obstacles in the way of what I really wanted to do. How sad!
A. Lucinda Norman in the Lookout- What is Jesus’ Life Management Map?
C. Since our lives revolve around the relationships described in those verses, Jesus’ life-management map can balance our harried, hurried lives.
Thesis: From the Great Commandment we see three relationships that need to be our main priorities
I. Love the Lord
A. Frazzled? Check your spiritual tank. Often, we try to fill a spiritual vacuum with activities and busyness. This can even include church activities.
B. #1- the Lord; #2- Family; #3- Church; #4- Work. Our time cannot reflect these values but if we are not spending time with the Lord or with our family, then something is wrong.
C. As we talk about maps, this is our polar star.
C. In our relationship with the Lord, sometimes we offer to God our church involvement instead of our hearts. We confuse participating in church activities with a relationship with the Lord.
D. The volunteers here need to have times of corporate worship. Personal worship is up to each individual, but corporate worship should not be cut out at the expense of doing church things.
E. Paul instructed the Corinthians on their communion time. They were coming together and they really were not observing the Lord’s Supper. It was a time for people to eat and drink and get drunk. They had lost the main reason for that time together. Paul says that this was bad because (1 Cor 11:30 NIV) That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. The fallen asleep here is fallen asleep spiritually.
F. Lucinda Norman- For several years, my husband and I confused this. Our eager involvement in our local church grew excessive. It embittered our son. Ten years later, his memory of those years is still sharp-edged. Our excessive involvement during the parenting years wasn’t worth his disillusionment. In hindsight, back then we became spiritually dry. Our focus shifted from the Lord to church activities. God wants our hearts and our friendship. Jesus told his disciples in John 15:15- I no longer call you servants… Instead I have called you friends. I’m not suggesting abandoning church. I’m saying that when friendship with God is primary, God helps us balance our lives. Then we place church activities into proper perspective. Otherwise, we can become so church-activity oriented that we risk alienating our families toward church and God. We risk becoming so narrow-visioned that we no longer understand the world we live in.
G. I have seen something similar happen in civic and sports clubs. We want to be a good witness and get to know these people and do a good job. However, after a while, our focus is on this more than it is on Christ.
H. It is good to be a witness in the community and involved in church activities, but if this dims our vision and love and devotion for Christ, even this needs to be reprioritized.
I. I love my home church. They have elders who take a yearly sabbatical.
II. Love Yourself
A. Love your neighbor as yourself.
B. Love yourself by praying. Bill Hybels in Too Busy Not to Pray wrote, “Prayer less people cut themselves off from God’s prevailing power, and the frequent result is the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed, overrun, beaten down, pushed around, and defeated.”
C. When we give God consistent time, we become aware of being continually in his presence. As the apostle Paul noted in Acts 17:28- For in him we live and move and have our being. This awareness affects every corner of our lives, integrating prayer, service, and worship. We mustn’t leave God on the church steps.
D. We can ask God, the ultimate time manager who runs the universe, to help clarify our priorities. Then we choose what we’ll say yes to so our efforts won’t be haphazard, ineffective, and scattered.