Summary: I am convinced that we have been given far more than most of the people of the world, & therefore in God’s sight we are "much obliged." God has given much to us & therefore He expects much from us. (Powerpoints available - #153)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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Please turn to the 12th chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Our text for this morning is found in this chapter & we will be looking at several parts of it before we’re finished.
I really do love Thanksgiving! It is one of the happiest days of the year. It is a special time for families & friends to get together & enjoy each other’s company & share in the abundance of food that is available to us.
And during this time many will also pause to consider our blessings & to thank God for all that He has given us.
ILL. I have a preacher friend whose father never said the words "Thank you," but always used the phrase, "Much obliged," instead. I haven’t heard that expression for a long, long time.
In fact, I think the last time was on a TV program when the Lone Ranger captured the bank robbers. When he returned the stolen money, the mayor of that small town said, "We’re much obliged to you, masked man."
I suppose we do hear it once in a while, but by & large it is a forgotten phrase. It is a colloquialism that we used to use but which has been largely forgotten.
But maybe that phrase expresses what Thanksgiving really ought to be. Because "to be obliged" means that someone has done us a favor & therefore we are indebted to return the favor - to do something in return.
As we consider our blessings & think about the many things that have come our way, we surely must conclude that we are indeed "much obliged." Much has been given to us, therefore we have a tremendous obligation.
A. I think that’s what Jesus is saying in the 12th chapter of Luke. We’re not going to read it all, but let me sum it up for you.
In the first few verses Jesus says that God knows us & cares about us. He knows us so well that He even knows the number of hairs on our head.
B. In the 15th verse He begins to talk about greed. He says, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
We may have a lot of things, but life is not measured by how much we possess.
Then Jesus tells a very familiar story. It’s the story of a rich farmer who has been blessed with a bountiful harvest. Not just one year, but for many years, & this is the best harvest of all.
I’m sure he is thankful for it, but he is also greedy with it. So he decides to build bigger barns & store away the grain. In vs. 19 he says to himself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink & be merry."
But God calls him a fool because he has made provision for everything except for eternity. Then Jesus ends that story in vs. 21 by saying, "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
C. In the next few verses Jesus tells us not to let worry or anxiety ruin our lives. He talks about the birds of the air & the lilies of the field & how God cares for them, & that we are worth much more to God.
In vs. 31 we are told to "Seek His kingdom, & these things will be given to you as well."
He concludes by saying in vs. 34, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
D. Then He changes the subject slightly, & begins to talk about His second coming. One day He will come again, & that day will come unexpectedly. Vs. 40 says, "You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."
Meanwhile, until that day comes, Jesus says that God is going to hold us responsible for what we do with all the things that God has given to us. In vs. 42 the Lord asks, "Who then is the faithful & wise manager...?"
Jesus says that God expects us to be faithful & wise in our stewardship, & if we are, then Jesus says in vs. 44, "I tell you the truth, He (that’s God) will put him in charge of all His possessions." So if we are faithful with what we have been given we will be given more.
E. This brings us to our major text for this morning. Look with me at what Jesus says in the last half of vs. 48, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; & from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."