(show video from Steven Curtis Chapman "The Great Adventure)
Are you content in your Christian life? Let me ask it another way, are you content with life? Life is a great adventure as Steven Curtis Chapman sang in the video clip we just watched. Today, I want to help you saddle up and get into it. You might be here already out riding the full range of life, or you might be still trying to get into the saddle. No matter, I have some steps that will help you get more out of the great adventure.
Jesus taught on the principle of sowing and reaping. In Matthew 13, Jesus speaks of people who sow their seed in various types of soil and the results of such efforts, or in some cases, the temporary or lack of results. The verses I want to key in on are verses 22-23. In your notes, the Amplified Bible reads:
As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit.
As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty.
The question, early on for us is this: What are we sowing into? What are we investing our life into? That investment will determine if we are saddling up, falling off, or riding the great adventure of life. The principle of sowing is that of making an investment. What have you invested your life? Let me show you three things worth the investment.
1. Sow into God.
The first principle of living is the principle of living for God. Making an investment with our time, talents and resources. How many places do you know where you can invest and yield forty, sixty or one hundred percent back? The Bible offers an investment prospectus with those figures dominant in their investment package.
Again, in the Amplified, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 we read For they themselves volunteer testimony concerning us, telling what an entrance we had among you, and how you turned to God from [your] idols to serve a God Who is alive and true and genuine,
And [how you] look forward to and await the coming of His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, Who personally rescues and delivers us out of and from the wrath [bringing punishment] which is coming [upon the impenitent] and draws us to Himself [ investing us with all the privileges and rewards of the new life in Christ, the Messiah].
We sow into God, and God invests in us the life of Jesus Christ, with all the privileges and rewards which come as a result of such an investment. It goes back to the verse in Matthew 13, you have to first hear the word, then grasp and comprehend it.
We find people like the man who saved up enough finances to take a cross Atlantic cruise. Because the trip cost his entire savings, he only had the money for peanut butter and crackers to bring on the trip. When they arrived in port, the steward thanking people for coming at the gang plank, shook the man’s hand and in thanking him, the traveler said, “It was a great voyage. Next time, I am going to save enough money so I can eat the food I saw in the dining hall.” The steward, in somewhat of a shock, replied, “Did you not know, the fare you paid for passage paid for all the food as well?”
When you and I sow into God through our time, talents and finances, we are receiving back so much more. Jesus taught in Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
It not only applies to what God will do for us, it applies to the whole of living the great adventure of life. That brings we to the next step of living the adventure…
2. Sow into Others
Jesus said in Matthew 25 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
"Then they also will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:43-45) NKJV.
Jesus takes the message of sowing into a call of investing in others. He tells us, if we will not invest in others, hungry, hurting, naked and alone, then He will not make an investment in us.
Danny Thomas said: Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.
Sowing into other’s is what we want to help people at New Hope accomplish. We are moving into small group ministries to make it more practical for this to happen. Again, it is an investment of time, talents and finances, with time being the biggest expense of being a friend.
Two men were talking to each other. The first man said, "I think my wife is crazy. She talks to herself all the time." The other man said, "Oh, my wife talks to herself all the time, too. Only she doesn’t know it. She thinks I’m listening."
I hope that is not you. People need someone to actively listen to what they are saying. That takes time. Are you a listener? Do you know when you need to listen and when to speak?
Sowing into others is as simple as spending time. Not allowing someone to be co-dependent on you, knowing when you pull back and when to push forward.
Proverbs 18:24 There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
What type of friend are you? How are you sowing into others as you live the great adventure.
Finally, I want to encourage you to…
3. Sow into Yourself
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Athletes invest in themselves so they will be qualified to go for the prize. How do you invest in yourself?
I have been rolling this question around in my brain. I invest a lot of my time in ministry to God, and in other people, but how do I really invest in myself?
The simple answers are such as I get plenty of sleep, I eat wholesome food, I think about working out at the gym. The question is deeper that that. How do I invest in myself? How do you invest in yourself?
What is the dream, the aspiration you have in life? What is that burning desire God has placed in your heart for yourself? Are you investing in it?
What is the hobby you would like to do? About a year ago, Ruth said she would like to learn to play the guitar. She went out and bought one. A great first step in fulfilling an ambition. Then she secured lessons from someone who knew how to play, and now she practices and is doing a great job in fulfilling a life desire.
In the movie The Natural, when Robert Redford is lying in a hospital bed, sick, discouraged, and about to give up? It’s the last game in the play-offs and he’s not there because he was poisoned by the woman he thought he loved. Glenn Close, his childhood sweetheart, comes to visit him. Bob’s feeling pretty sorry for himself. Baseball is his life. He’s thirty-nine years old and he’s just made it to the majors and the doctor just told him that he will never play baseball again. “I believe we have two lives,” Glenn tells him. “The life we learn with and the life we live after that.”
Sow into your life. There was something I did when I was younger which I enjoyed. Time, marriage, family, the busyness of life has overpowered that hobby, in fact, rendering it non-existent in my life. I thought about investing in myself, as I was writing the question for all of us.
You are probably wondering what it is. Well, until I take the step of investing in myself in this area, I am not going to tell you. But I have this plan. I am going to take a class at the community college, I am going to make this investment in myself, and in doing so I will move more and more into the great adventure of life. Sowing in God, sowing in others, sowing myself.
Now, I am not done. I have drawn out the steps, and I want you to rate in your notes how well you are doing in each of these areas. 1 is I need God to work a miracle in my life, 10 is I am doing perfect. Then there is all the space in-between. Then look at what area you are the best at sowing and what the least. Since we don’t have evening services, take part of tonight to write out an action plan for how you are going to improve in areas you see you need to improve. What steps you are going to take. In fact, if you want to give me a copy of your action plan I would be happy to pray for you, and follow up to see how well you are doing. And you can follow up with me since Investing in myself is my lowest, and in the greatest need. I need to get a life. The class I am looking to enroll in isn’t until May, so you can check up on me and see how I am doing then.
As the worship team comes, I want to take a moment to pray for you as you work through this message, as you work living the great adventure of life we have in Christ.