Summary: Our love for God is best measured by the use of our resources. God wants us to offer our entire selves as living sacrifices – sold out and on fire for God through and through.
This week, I heard a sound I had not heard for at least six weeks. I was sitting at one of our city’s notoriously long red lights. There were a couple of cars in front of me, and when the light turned green, and the guy at the front of the line had was also slow off the light. In that instant, a long blast of the horn came from the guy behind me. When I heard that horn, it dawned on me that I had not heard that sound since September 11. It saddened me to hear it, because I’m afraid that in some sense, it might be signaling what we have feared - that we may be returning to our old ways again.
If that is indeed happening, it’s a sad thing. After all so much has changed about our country since September 11. When the sunset on September 11, we took to bed with us a completely new set of values. An America where New Yorkers were our dearest friends. Where police officers and firefighters and emergency personnel became our newest heroes. We became an America where selfish CEO’s rallied us around charitable causes. There’s been a renewed sense of community. People are praying more. People are giving blood in record numbers. And the Star Spangled Banner is more than just a prelude to a good ball game.
So the sound of a loud horn scared me a bit. Perhaps getting a 7/10ths of a second head start at the stoplight is becoming important to us again.
A RETURN TO OLD WAYS
But this is not just something that happens in our national life. It happens in the Christian life as well. I mean, you remember when you first came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You remember how alive you felt. You remember how the sins that once satisfied you no longer seemed to satisfy. You committed yourself to Christ and became a new creation. The thought of living a sold out life so energized you. Back then, you wouldn’t dare miss a worship service, for fear of missing a blessing. You wouldn’t dare miss a Bible study, for fear of missing out on a fresh understanding of God. You wouldn’t dare get up and start your day without committing time in prayer. You wouldn’t dare think of leaving God out of your life in any way, because life without him just didn’t make any sense.
But sometimes that passion can slip into a routine. Before you know it, we’re honking the horn of our sin again. We start caring more about maintaining a comfortable and sometimes worldly lifestyle than about living a life sold-out to Jesus.
THE NEED FOR REVIVAL
This ought to be a concern to us, because as you know in the last few weeks we have looked at the primary functions of the church. We’ve gotten a glimpse of what the church is supposed to look like. We’ve seen what church is supposed to do. But now the question is how do we do it. How do we become that church that God has called us to be?
The answer is that it begins with you and I being entirely and completely sold out to God. In fact you and I both know that we will never reach our vision until we have a spiritual revival in our midst. Because unless you and I are sold out to Jesus Christ, we won’t be the church God wants us to be. As long as we are living with one foot in the world and one foot in Christ, we won’t grow. The truth is we need a spiritual awakening like never before and to rediscover the fire of our faith again.
THE STEWARDSHIP INDICATOR
This morning, I want us to take inventory of our own spiritual condition. I want us to reexamine what it means to be sold-out to Jesus Christ. What we need is some kind of gage to tell us where we are in the Christian life. God makes it clear that there is a way. It’s what I call the Stewardship Indicator. What is stewardship and what does it have to do with the spiritual life? First of all, according to my dictionary, stewardship is “the management of someone else’s finances, property, or other affairs.” So in religious terms, stewardship is our management of the finances, property and other affairs that God has entrusted to us.
Is there any better way to evaluate our spiritual condition than by the way we use the resources God has given us? If you want to see just how sold-out to God you are, then tell me about how you use your time, your money, your relationships, your opportunities, your material possessions, your gifts, your abilities, your energy. These will tell you how spiritually rooted in Jesus Christ you are.