Summary: Luke 12:15: “… life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot” (MSG).
Four weeks ago we started our new message series called, “Life Beyond Me” … and we talked about the art of loving … love is a value word … it in some ways has lost its meaning … and we were encouraged to build the 3 greatest loves of our lives … we should love God … Family and Friends … and The Unconvinced!
We have been learning about this thing called SELFISHNESS!
Selfishness (def.) = n: stinginess resulting from a concern for your own welfare and a disregard of others.
Someone once said, “Life is short, twill soon be past; only those things done for Christ will last.”
Three weeks ago we spoke about the “Art of Serving” – God has called all of us to SERVE him and his people! We talked about the life principle of SERVING IN THE SHADOWS – simply that we would serve for the applause of ONE person God! We were all challenged to SERVE at all times!
Two weeks ago we talked about the ART OF GIVING!
Mother Teresa: “If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving.”
We learned that EVERYTHING we have is God’s – so don’t be afraid to give it away - Whether we worked for it, won it, found it, or received it as a gift. God is still the ultimate source.
Tonight, I would like to speak about the ART OF LIVING!
What does it mean to really live?
Have you ever thought to yourself: “Why am I here? What am I supposed to do with this life I live?”
Most people have asked themselves that question … it starts when we are really young … it continues as we decide on college … and even into adulthood we wonder, “Why am I here? Why do I exist?”
Richard Evans: “The tragedy of life is not that it ends too soon, but that we wait too long to begin it.”
2 Samuel 24:18-25: That day Gad came to David and said to him, "Go and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." So David went to do what the LORD had commanded him. When Araunah saw the king and his men coming toward him, he came forward and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. "Why have you come, my lord?" Araunah asked. And David replied, "I have come to buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to the LORD there, so that the LORD will stop the plague." "Take it, my lord, and use it as you wish," Araunah said to David. "Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and you can use the threshing tools and ox yokes for wood to build a fire on the altar. I will give it all to you, and may the LORD your God accept your sacrifice." But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on buying it, for I cannot present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing." So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. David built an altar there to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the LORD answered his prayer, and the plague was stopped” (NLT).
Let me give you a couple ways to master the art of living:
1. Refuse to be Average
In an average lifetime, the average American spends 3 years in business meetings, 13 years watching TV, Spends $89,281 on food, consumes 109,354 pounds of food, Makes 1811 trips to McDonalds, Spends $6881 in vending machines, Eats 35,138 cookies and 1483 pounds of candy, Catches 304 colds, Is involved in 6 motor vehicle accidents, is hospitalized 8 times (men) or 12 times (women), Spends 24 years sleeping” (Tom Heymann – “In An Average Lifetime”).
AVERAGE … WOW!
LIFE PRINCIPLE: Average is the enemy of greatness!
God wants each of you to BE and DO GREAT THINGS!
Never settle for what everyone else is doing!
2. Choose to be a see-through-er – not a look at-er
So often we choose to “look at” the situations that come into our life, but we must learn how to “look through” them to see what God wants to do IN our lives!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 4 were faced with the decision to “bow” down to a gold statue or face the fiery furnace … they chose to “see through” the situation and boldly declared, “God is able to rescue us, but even if he doesn’t we will never worship your gods.”
Because they “saw through” their situation another man appeared in that fiery furnace with them – it was God!
Mildred Witte Struven: A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.