Summary: My gift is simple, without reward, and to Christ. Giving made understandable.
A. During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal if it was going to have any hope of winning the war.
Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. And at the end of his presentation he asked them to stand with him and picture in their minds a grand parade, which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war.
B. First, he said, would come the sailors. Then would come the soldiers. Then would come the pilots. Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, ’And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?’
C. And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, ’We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.”
D. I want to be coal worker. I want to know that even if my part seems small to all others, there is someone who knows my worth. I may not the person who is seen doing the great things in the kingdom, but I can serve a meal to someone who is sick, I can visit a shut-in, I can sent a note to someone who is lonely. I can be a coal worker in the kingdom.
E. Jesus tells us that he looking for people who believe in "service" not "serve-us." It is judgment day and everyone is standing before Him. All the nations are gathered before Him and the Son of Man begins to separate the people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. To the sheep he says, "Come, you who are blessed by father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."
F. I want to be one of those sheep on the right. So I listen to what Jesus tells the sheep. He tells them that they fed him, gave him something to drink, invited him into their home, clothed him, looked after him when he was sick, and visited him when he was in prison. They were the coal workers, and didn’t know. When they asked about the times of doing these special things, Jesus simply stated that when they were doing these things for others, they were doing them for him.
G. What about my gift. What is my gift? What is my motive? Who am I giving to anyway? Let’s think about those questions.
I. Give Simple Things
A. Michael Jordan is considered by some to be the greatest basketball star of all time. For most of us, we the scenes we remember are the slam-dunks taking off from the free-throw line, the fame, the popularity, the commercials, and championships. I’d like to share with you a story you might not have heard.
B. It involved a young boy by the name of Cornelius. He was a thin, extremely quiet boy. His mother and her boyfriend had tortured, abused and starved Cornelius and his four year old brother. The police discovered the abuse in time to save Cornelius’ life, but it had been too late to save his 4-year old brother.
C. Cornelius loved basketball and the Chicago Bulls. And now he was in the stadium, about to see his first Bulls game. Walking down the stairway his eyes are filled with awe and disbelief – Cornelius is introduced to Michael Jordan.
D. Jordan knelt down and spoke quietly with Cornelius. He didn’t rush. You have to understand—for a long time the only adults Cornelius had any contact with were adults who wanted to hurt and humiliate him.
E. Then, as the game was about to begin, he was led to Jordan’s seat on the Bulls’ bench. That’s where he was going to sit—right next to Jordan’s seat. During the minutes of the game when Jordan was out and resting, Cornelius would be sitting with him; when Jordan was on the court, Cornelius would be saving his seat for him.
F. As we applauded the incredible basket…the act of kindness that Jordan showed Cornelius was receiving the applause of heaven. You see, “Greatness in the kingdom of heaven is measured by small acts of kindness.”
G. The first lesson I learn from Jesus is that he doesn’t care if I am 5 talent, 2 talent or 1 talent person. He doesn’t care if I am influential within society or if no one knows my name. What he cares about is how I treat other people. It is no different than when Jesus praised the widow who put in her only two small coins and not the rich who gave much to the treasury of the temple. The reason, the heart of what you do is greater than the act. Jesus twice said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."