Summary: Encouraging people to witness to the treasure of the message of Christ rather than burying our faith like burying treasure in our backyard.
Imagine getting an invitation to be on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” Imagine winning the Million Dollars without using a single lifeline. Imagine taking your prize money home (less the large chunk that your silent partner Uncle Sam would claim). Imagine taking that money and burying it in the backyard without telling a single soul about it. Not too likely.
It is something that we would probably brag about and the news would be the talk of the town and the Colonial Pantry, the Post Office, Maybe even down at Fisher’s. It would be something that would be hard to hide (and the new car would tell the story as well).
Sadly, many of us have been less than vocal and less than public with something far more valuable than money. That is what Paul is talking about in our scripture for today. I want you to know this morning that if you have given your life to Christ, you have something far more valuable than anything the world has to offer. You have been given the keys to eternal life and yet, many of us bury it in our proverbial backyard and never really do anything with that gift.
It is sort of like the story that Chuck Swindoll tells in his book “Improving your serve” when he wrote this:
“Let’s play ‘Let’s Pretend’. Let’s pretend that you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a company that is growing rapidly. I’m the owner and I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until a new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family and move to Europe for six to eight months. And I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization. I tell you that I will write you regularly and give you directions and
instructions. I leave and you stay. Months pass. A flow of letters are mailed from Europe and received by you at the national headquarters. I spell out all my expectations.
Finally, I return. Soon after my arrival, I drive down to the office and I am stunned. Grass and weeds have grown up high. A few windows along the street are broken. I walk into the Receptionist’s room. She is doing her nails, chewing gum and listening to her favorite disco station. I look around and notice the wastebaskets are overflowing. The carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks, and nobody seems concerned that the owner has returned. I asked about your whereabouts
and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the
hall and yells, "I think he’s down there." Disturbed, I move in that direction and bump into you as you are finishing a chess game with our sales manager. I ask you to step into my office, which has been temporarily turned into a television room for watching afternoon soap operas.
“What in the world is going on, man?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?”
“Letters? Oh yes! Sure! I got every one of them. As a matter of fact, we have had a letter study every Friday since you left. We have even divided the personnel into small groups to discuss many of the things you wrote. Some of the things were really interesting. You will be pleased to know that a few of us have actually committed to memory some of your
sentences and paragraphs. One or two memorized an entire letter or two - Great stuff in those letters."
"OK. You got my letters. You studied them and meditated on them; discussed and even memorized them. But what did you do about them?"
"Do? We didn’t do anything about them."
You can be assured that if you ever won the million dollars on “Millionaire”, you would have more friends than you could count and long lost relatives coming out of the woodwork. You would be called upon to “DO SOMETHING” with your newfound fortune... Yet, here we sit with a gift far more precious and where are we putting it and how attractive are we making it to the world?
We are making it incredibly difficult for others to be drawn to Christ because we aren’t putting our faith out there for the world to see. I like the way that Eugene Peterson in his paraphrase “The Message” translates verse 13 of our text for today. “If I acted crazy, I did it for God; If I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes”.
That is the point of the whole thing for me... we are content to act neither Crazy, nor overly serious, but too often, we are content to never do anything that would attract attention to Christ through us. We may pretend to be faithful, but in the end result, we don’t have much of an impact, because our faith is not working for us other than to secure our own place in Heaven. The carrying of the message to others is not high on our agenda. We are content to act neither crazy, nor overly serious about our faith and have reached levels of luke-warmness from which may never recover. We need, therefore, to remember the admonition in Revelation to the church at Laodocea when Christ Reminds them what happens to people of lukewarm faith.