Summary: Our economic downturn and insecurity can force us back to the Word of God and a reassessment of our philosophy of life: What do we REALLY believe?
Note: This sermon proved too long for a single sermon, and I ended up making a two-parter out of it.
Our Economic Downturn: A Time to Refocus
1. A business owner decides to take a tour around his business and see how things are going. He goes down to the shipping docks and sees a young man leaning against the wall doing nothing. The owner walks up to the young man and says, "Son, how much do you make a day?"
The guy replies, "150 dollars."
The owner pulls out his wallet, gives him $150, and tells him to get out and never come back.
A few minutes later, the shipping clerk asks the owner, "Have you seen the UPS driver?? I asked him to wait here for me!"
2. Misjudgments by businessmen have contributed to our economic downturn. But, whatever the factors, the economic downturn has concerned us all.
3. When things really started to sound bleak last August, people even stopped buying groceries. At that point, I realized that the most people would not learn the lessons they really needed to learn. Spending money on groceries is one of the best expenditures, and it was not a change that could last over the long haul. It is the extravagances, not the necessities, that get us in trouble. Short extreme change usually means no long term reasonable change.
4. Editorial by Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News appeared in the KT, "People wonder how to get what they want but rarely think about what they should want."
5. How true. Did you ever consider that you shouldn’t want some of the things you do want? The problem may not be that you do not have the means, but that you shouldn’t want it in the first place. The 10th Commandment. Are you submissive enough to God that you would even consider controlling what you want? Or is that your own business -- God has no right to police your wants?
Main Idea: Our economic downturn and insecurity can force us back to the Word of God and a reassessment of our philosophy of life: What do we REALLY believe?
I. Riches, Materialism and A Career Offer Us FALSE Security (17a)
* I have broken pocketknives using as pry-bars or in ways for which not intended.
God blesses us with material things. He helps us find a career and our place in this world. He gives us wisdom to save up for a rainy day and retirement. But we abuse these blessings, just as I have abused pocketknives. Instead of enjoying them in proper perspective, we use them to get what we should be getting from our relationship to God.
Our security blanket in a scary world, an obstacle to trusting God.
A. It creates ARROGANCE
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant"
Turn to Deuteronomy 8:6-14
B. It means our primary HOPE is in material things
"nor to put their hope in wealth"
To "put hope upon" is a verb in the perfect tense in the Greek. It means "to have placed ones hope in someone or something and to keep it focused there." In other words, a decision we made in the past that carries over to the present.
C. It is a SHAKY foundation
"which is so uncertain"
They say unemployment nationally in 9.4%, but, factoring in those who have stopped looking for work, it is over 16%. In Kokomo, we have hit 17.4%, though it is lower now.
The government has forced banks to take loans from Uncle Sam and distribute them as mortgages….sometimes to risky borrowers…isn’t that how we got into trouble in the first place? The word is that, before summer is over, gas will be up to $5 per gallon.
If you are into things big time, your foundation is fracturing.
D. It is simply advanced TOKENISM
That big house, the big title, that new car, that shapely body, that bank account, or that new outfit may be comfortable, and is human nature to seek comfort. Indeed, nothing spurs on creativity quite like the pursuit of comfort. But for many of us, those things make us feel secure and good about ourselves. It is beyond comfort or convenience.
And it is that sense of security and self-esteem we get from these things that is bad!
These things cannot provide genuine security. They are merely tokens of security.
• To plan ahead $ is an act of wisdom; to be reckless is not faith but presumption.
• But the motivation for a lot of materialism, keeping up with what others have, or the need to live in luxury is often fear -- and these tokens of security make us feel secure. But they offer no REAL security, just illusion (morphine masking pain)