Summary: Second in a series on stewardship
Intro. There is a difference in a paradox and an oxymoron that is often confusing. Both involve seemingly contradictory and conflicting words. Oxymorons are so interesting and humorous that we up make top 10 lists. Here is my top 10 oxyomoron list: alone together; same difference; exact estimate; tight slacks; jumbo shrimp; soft rock; pretty ugly; working vacation; tax return; government organization. Oxymorons are intriguing and funny but differ from paradox in that a paradox seems to oppose common sense but is actually true. Many great truths in Bible and many major aspects of Jesus’ teaching appear to the natural eye upside down yet carry principles that bring us into harmony with God. Heavenomics is built upon such truths. So you recall the First Principle -- It’s Not Yours? It is a paradox – God gives you things but they are not yours.
The Second Principle flows from the first and is one of broadest paradoxes in the Bible – You Only Keep What You Give Away. This derives from the idea that you don’t own anything, that the only way God leaves something in your hands to manage is if you continually give it back to Him. Before you get too nervous today note we’re not talking only about money and possessions. This principle covers all of life. It may or may not make sense to the natural mind but lines up with certain laws and promises God has given that make it work. I assure you that grasping this principle will improve your quality of life and overall contentment because whatever you give away, God replaces with incalculable blessings. Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." So what does God ask us to give away?
Give Away Your Rights – The Golden Rule.
(verse 31) Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
1. Grow In Grace (giving others what they do not deserve). (v. 27) Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you...bless those who curse...
a. Enemies don’t deserve kindness, those who hate us don’t deserve prayer, the thief of my coat doesn’t deserve my hoodie, etc. They took from me, why should I give?
1) To get love, you must give it away. Jesus asserts that we have no right to decide whom we love. If we only love when loved back – what is that – selfishness. Love that is not deserved gains credit in heaven – love comes to us from God and eventually from others.
I read this paradox: "If you love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, only more love."
b. Jesus uses extreme cases (enemies, hostility, cursing, spiteful treatment, theft, etc.) to show the unconditional nature of love. He says love isn’t about what others do for you, but what you do for others regardless of their conduct (i.e. this is God’s kind of love: He gave His Son to die for us when we were still sinners and continues to love us even when we disobey, ignore, reject His correction, etc.)
APPLICATION: In practical terms this works: If YOU want someone to love you, be loving to them. If we give acceptance, a sense of belonging, genuine concern for others’ interests, we can be sure of companionship. Gracious, forgiving, people who overlook faults are apt to be forgiven by others. Demanding love, acting hostile, giving evil for evil will not produce love.
Illustration: Kids get it (children’s descriptions of love): Love is when: grandma got arthritis and couldn’t bend over to paint her toenails, so grandpa does it for her, even though he has arthritis in his hands; Love is when someone hurts you and you get so mad, but you don’t yell because it would hurt their feelings; Love is when mommy makes coffee for daddy and sips it to make sure it tastes OK; Love is a little old woman and little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well; Love is when mommy sees daddy all smelly and sweaty and still says he’s handsomer than Robert Redford; Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left it alone all day; You shouldn’t say ’I love you’ unless you mean it, but if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.
2. Exercise Mercy: (not giving others what they do deserve). (verses 36-37) be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Judge not and you will not be judged.
a. Give up the right to give people what (you think) they deserve – to be the authority of justice. Our responsibility is to forgive (give up the right to payback). God is the judge, so leave punishment and payback to Him.