Me (my dilemma or question)
I have a confession to make this morning. Recently when the State Police announced they would no longer grant a 7 mph cushion when clocking speeds on the highways, I was frustrated. I slowed down a little in order to keep my speed at the limit, but I didn’t like it.
We (our common ground on this)
1. We live in a culture that asks, “How much can I get away with?” We’ve been that way all our lives haven’t we? If we cannot remember, we can see it in our kids and grandkids. Ask a child to clean his/her room and watch the creative juices start to flow.
“Will it count if I put everything under my bed?”
“Will it work to hide my dirty clothes in the closet?”
2. This is part of what I’m going to call the “Bare Minimum Mind-set.” We express this attitude when we try to figure out how much we can get away with or how little we can do and still reap the benefits we desire.
How many times can I be late or call in sick before it hurts my job?
What’s the minimum amount of work I need to accomplish and still receive a paycheck?
3. Once we determine what we think the bare minimum requirements are, we do our best to meet them without going over.
4. Some of us even take this approach toward how spiritual lives. We try to figure out the minimum requirements for entry into heaven when we die.
God (what the Bible says about this)
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
ALLOW ME TO POINT OUT A FEW KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING THIS EVENT IN JESUS' LIFE.
1. There are two questions, one at the start and the other at the end, that actually are one question. Both questions reveal that Bare Minimum Mind-set we talked about earlier.
The man who ran up to Jesus asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The disciples asked, “Who can be saved?” Together these questions show us how these men were thinking. “What are the minimum requirements for entry into heaven when we die?”
2. Jesus’ answers reveal a simple life-giving principle. The Bare Minimum Mind-set breaks down in our relationships – or the relationships break down. All relationships, including our relationship with God, require a giving attitude. No sacrifice is too great for people in real relationships. In fact the more important a relationship is to us, the more we will give to make grow.
3. No one can save himself or herself. No matter what we do or what we give, the relationship with God we are designed to enjoy is out of our reach. But, “all things are possible with God.” Everything we can never do and everything we can never give has been provided by Jesus for us.
You (personal application of biblical principles)
1. Imagine for a moment you take the Bare Minimum Mind-set into your marriage. Imagine sitting down with your spouse to discuss how much you can get away with or how little you can do and still reap the benefits of being married.
“Honey, how many times can I stay out all night with my friends before you kick me out of the house?”
“Dear, can I get by with just a little kiss on your birthday and our anniversary? Do you really need flowers that will die in a few days and a card that we’ll toss or lose?”
“Well, hubby, how often can a max out a credit card at the mall before you start yelling about the bills?”
“Do I really need to live here? Couldn’t I just come to visit once or twice a week?”
HOW LONG WILL YOUR MARRIAGE LAST LIKE THAT?
2. Imagine what would happen if you called the kids into your living room to discuss their bare minimum expectations of you as a parent or grandparent.
“Will you feel loved if we only feed you one meal a day?”
“I know you asked for the game app for your smart phone, but I’d like you to use my old “pong” game that I just found in the attic.”
HOW LONG WILL YOU HAVE A HAPPY HOME?
3. The Bare Minimum Mind-set breaks down in your relationships – or the relationships break down. All relationships, including our relationship with God, require sacrifice. No sacrifice is too great for people in real relationships. In fact the more important a relationship is to you, the more you will give to make grow.
We (what we can experience if we all obey God)
When our relationship with God is important to us we will sacrifice everything to make it grow. After all, Jesus sacrificed everything to make our relationship with God possible.
When we give Jesus our faith and our love, God gives us righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Imagine how our marriages and homes would change if we all stop asking questions designed to figure out how much we can get away with or how little we can do. Instead of settling for the bare minimum, how would our world change if we all started giving and sacrificing to share Jesus’ love with the people around us? That would be like heaven on earth.
RESPONSE GOAL / INVITATION:
Will you participate in Communion seeking to express your love for Jesus?