Summary: Are we material people trapped in spiritual bodies, or spiritual people trapped in material bodies? This sermon asserts that we need to be concerned about our spiritual net worth, because we are spiritual people.
From time to time I suspect people review their finances. In those reviews, they may take a moment to calculate their net worth. Our financial net worth is the value of all assets, minus the total of all liabilities. Put another way, net worth is what is owned minus what is owed.
The value of doing this is to make any necessary adjustments to accomplish any future goals we might have. It is both a looking at where we are now (how are we doing) and a looking forward (where do we need to improve).
This morning I would like us to consider a different kind of value. I would say an even more important measurement of worth. Our spiritual net worth.
On the financial side, I think we have an idea of where to begin. Bank balances, retirement accounts, mortgages all of these have to be considered in the equation. But where would begin to measure our spiritual net worth?
Of course, we are prone to like easy ways to measure. A bank balance is easy to arrive at and it is accurate. So at first we may measure our spiritual net worth by looking at some easily definable signs. How often do I attend church? How often do I read the bible? How often do I pray? Well, these things certainly tell us something. I happen to think they are not the whole picture or even best picture. Going to the doctor does not make us healthy, and coming to church does not make us spiritual. Going to the bank does not make us wealthy, and reading the bible daily will not make us spiritual.
The reason being, we can go to church for the wrong reasons and we can read the bible with less than the best intentions. These measuring devices do not reveal much about our spirit, only about the way we use time. Someone might say why don’t you use the Golden Rule as your measuring device. Not a bad idea. How we treat others must say something about our spirit? It does. Yet I suspect this is not a wide enough matrix. It is an important factor but it does not appear to be the only factor in our spiritual development. A good credit score is a good thing to have and it says something about us, but finances are more complicated than credit score and spiritual development is more involved than loving our neighbor.
So how can we get the full picture? How can we have a spiritual CAT scan so that nothing is missing? I’m going to suggest the best way to measure our spiritual health is by the fruit of the spirit. How are these qualities integrated into our life? We need a “spiritual exam” and this is it. It is both a looking at where we are now (how are we doing) and a looking forward (where do we need to improve).
In case we need a reminder the fruit of the spirit are---
These attitudes and actions = fruit, are supposed to be evident, according to Paul, in our lives. Like financial assets they may not be ours at 18 but in time we hope to accumulate them. So as the spirit has more control of us, more influence on us we should see more of these fruits.
But every net worth sheet has not only assets but liabilities.
So here are the liabilities---
So let’s take a moment to measure our spiritual net worth.
When it comes to the love/selfishness index where do we come in? One question should suffice, does your time belong to you or are you willing to share it with others who need it? Willing may need some clarification. If you give your time to others but you are always complaining about giving your time to others, “I’ll be glad to help, but yall are wearing me out,” then you may be selfish, just unable to say “no.” So give yourself a score, 1 means you are selfish, 10 means you love deeply and truly. After you give yourself a numerical grade, write an arrow beside it. If you are better now than you were a year ago let the arrow point up. If, however, you are heading in the opposite direction then be honest and place the arrow facing down.
Moving on to the joy/misery index. Joy is not happiness. Happiness comes from the word “happenings” so when certain things happen we are happy. Joy is different. If peace and contentment had a baby it would be named Joy. Joy is inside our soul. It is not about having smiles and laughter, it is about spreading smiles and laughter.