Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus Kingdom plays by the rules of love, not money

Title: Keeping Score

Text: Luke 12:13 – 21

MP: Self-sufficiency is an insufficient legacy.

FCF: Through Christ and his Word, we can be sure that we have won the only game worth playing.

- Roger Maris

- Choosing the important

o Coming to a Rabbi, Coming to the President

o Money just a way of keeping score

o First / last, last first, Jesus’ kingdom not of this world

o Keep your eye on the ball

o Augustine: little hands

- Choosing grace

o Pick up the story

o Earning Money the old-fashioned way – Grace is new!

o Relaxation isn’t bad, it just isn’t the point. Don’t confuse the 7th inning stretch with the game

o What are you doing with your wealth?

- Choosing your legacy

o How we spend our money tells us what’s important to us, we tend to get what we want

o We’re all going to die – did we glorify God?

o Cash-on-hand / Self-sufficiency is an insufficient legacy

o Lot of Churches post-Depression saved money, spent it on buildings. But what about the children?

- Roger Maris: “What did I have to show for it” vs. “Well done thou good and faithful servant”


Have you ever thought that you’d have a fighting chance, if only you knew what game was being played? If so, you can probably identify with Roger Maris.

In 1961, he and his fellow Yankee Micky Mantle were in a home run derby, the same way that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were dueling in 1998. Already by mid-season, and the talk of the town was as much about Babe Ruth as it was about them. Thirty-four years earlier (1927), Babe Ruth had hit 60 home runs. Roger Maris and Micky Mantle were both getting close, and the newspapers created a rivalry where none had really existed before.

Babe Ruth’s record held a place in the hearts of Yankees, even more than the “bad boy” Roger Maris. Neither Mickey Mantle nor Roger Maris had honeymoons in New York. They were both Midwesterners not well accustomed to the Big Apple. But by 1961, Mickey Mantle had learned to actively court the press, be their friends, enjoy their good graces, and hence have an advocate before the fans. Roger Maris never wanted to be friends with the press, and never did. If the record had to be broken, the New York press wanted the new hero to be Mantle – and definitely not Maris.

But by the end of the season, Maris had taken a clear lead. Mantle was good, but Maris was better. And as October approached, New Yorkers got nervous. On September 26th, Maris tied the record. And then, in a sparsely attended game on October 1st, Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard allowed a home run in the 4th.

The record had been broken. The bambino had been bested. But even then Maris couldn’t quite get it. Baseball commissioner Ford Frick noted that Babe Ruth’s historic 1927 record had been accomplished in a season of only 154 games. With eight more games in the 1961 season, this was Maris’s 163rd. So, Frick said, Babe Ruth would retain the record for most home runs in a 154 game season. Maris had a new record for most home runs in a full 164 game season. No, Frick had declared, Babe Ruth and Roger Maris had been playing by different rules. The Babe’s record was safe. And Roger Maris would forever be remembered by an asterisk.

If you’re going to win, you have to know what game you’re playing. It’s true in baseball, it’s true in life, no matter unfair that may seem.

Jesus let us know as much in Luke 12:13 – 21. You’ll hear people refer to it as “The parable of the Rich Fool,” and it has an important lesson for anyone who cares about the legacy they leave. You see, just about anyone can win at something – the question is: will they win at the right thing?

Choosing the Important

This parable begins with what seems like an innocuous enough request. As a rabbi, Jewish society simply expected Jesus to help settle disputes. And, let’s face it, there’s nothing that can set off a dispute like dividing up the family fortune. And so, one day, a guy comes along and asks Jesus to do the expected thing. But Jesus wasn’t going to have any of it.

And, if you think about it, it makes sense. Imagine that you get to spend time with the President of the United States. Do you think it makes sense to discuss the latest Harry Potter movie? No! He doesn’t have anything to do with that, and it’s a waste of his time. Now you have God himself, choosing to limit himself to a single body in a short sojourn here on earth. Why would you waste his time with so something completely irrelevant as money?

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