Summary: True satisfaction in life comes from recognizing our need for God
Gary A. Shockley, Lead Pastor
September 9, 2001
This morning we launch a new message series I’m calling, “Living Large” based on a passage from the gospel of Matthew commonly referred to as the Beatitudes in chapter five.
“Living Large” is one of those phrases floating around “out there’ that means different things for different people in our culture. When I asked a teenager what “Living Large” meant they replied: “being popular, having lots of neat stuff.”
When I asked an adult they said: “a great job, financial security, getting ahead.”
This is a phrase I’ve heard our Worship Arts Director use from time to time. Dean, in twenty words or less, what does “Living Large” mean to you?
The beatitudes come right at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He is beginning to establish His ministry and lay the foundation for God’s kingdom on earth. There he stands at the top of this long lush-green hillside—this natural amphitheatre. Over to his left is the beautiful Sea of Galilee. He’s watching the steady stream of people coming from every which way to dot the landscape like dandelions on a spring lawn. We can picture these folks, who have long waited for some definitive word from God, leaning forward straining to hear so as to not miss one syllable that departs Jesus’ lips.
They have been religiously well indoctrinated from their childhood. They’ve had the religious leaders tell them repeatedly, “It’s not who you are but what you do that gets you into God’s good graces.” They’ve had the law of Moses and worse yet the law of man wrapped around them so tightly they couldn’t move for fear of offending God. Now they come to Jesus expecting to hear more of the same all the while hoping to hear something different…something life-giving…something about “living large” in the best sense of the word.
And what they hear from Jesus is not another list of do’s and don’ts. Not another impossible formula for winning God’s favor.
What they hear from Jesus are principles for living large—for being real, for becoming the kind of persons God really intended for them to be. I think that day they were surprised. I trust over these next several weeks we will be too! We’ll learn from Jesus what it means for us, today, to live large. So let’s get started!
Kingdom Principle Number One: Living Large means Finding True Satisfaction in God.
Matthew 5:3, “God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.”
You know--there are some pretty smart people in the world. I’ve heard Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Church talk about some of them like little Sidney who was an exceptionally bright boy. At 22 months of age he began studying Hebrew, and by age four, he could read and write in nine languages. Not bad, huh?
How about a 10 year old boy who recited 16,000 pages of Buddhist writings, word for word, from memory.
Mac Radall taught himself to use an electric typewriter when he was three years old, and by age four, he was writing novels and stories. What were you doing when you were four? I think I was still learning to tie my shoes. We didn’t have “Velcro” back then.
But, you know, as smart as these kids were they still can’t compete with a guy in the Bible named Solomon. In my daily devotions I’ve been reading about Solomon in the books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. Solomon was King of Israel during it’s best days. He was so smart, so wise, so discerning the Bible says no one before, or ever to come after him, would match his brain power.
Let me tell you a little about the smartest guy in the world and what he thought “living large” meant and how he eventually found what Jesus describes in Kingdom Principle #1 as true satisfaction in life.
As a young king Solomon used all his intellect, power and influence to build up Israel until it became a wealthy world power. Kings and Queens from distant countries would travel to Jerusalem just to marvel at its splendor.
Later on in his life Solomon wanted more. He knew there had to be much more than what he had already accomplished and so he set his sights on putting all his brain power, all his wealth, all his influence on a quest to find the secret to satisfaction. In spite of everything he was, had or did Solomon felt something was missing from his life. Some of you this morning understand that all too well because you sense something significant is missing from your life and like Solomon you’re on a quest to find out what it is.