Summary: This sermon shows what the Golden Rule really means, and how we might be better examples of it in our daily lives.
I am sure that all of us have shopped at J.C. Penney at some time or other, but I want to tell you something that you probably did not know about Penney’s. It used to be known as “the Golden Rule store”. In fact, when Mr. Penney first started, his first several stores were called that.
Mr. Penney did not like to use the word “employee.” He called those that worked for him, “Associates”. He treated them just as well as he would like to be treated, too. He was able to take a general store in 1902, and build it into a multi-billion dollar business, because he actually lived the Golden Rule.
Mr. Penny tried his best to always treat people like he wanted to be treated. He treated them with love, respect, kindness, understanding and encouragement.
Do you try to treat others in your life like this – or not? Our normal instinct is to think that we would be nicer to others if they would show these attributes to us, isn’t it? But, that’s the Problem. Jesus didn’t say, “Treat people with the same Respect that they treat you.” He said, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do to them.”
And for us to be able to do that, we must love our fellow man. And that is impossible unless Jesus Christ is at the center of our hearts, as it is only through Him that we find enough love to love other people.
MATTHEW 5:43-44 tells us,
“You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ I tell you, ‘Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”
We are commanded to love everyone. That is how Jesus lived on this earth, and if we are Christians, we must strive to be like Christ. How will the world know that we are Christians?
They will not know that by reading a sign over our doors. They will only know that by the love we have in our hearts for other people.
Andrew Murray said,
“My relationship with God is part of my relationship with men. Failure in one will cause failure in the other.”
John Ashcroft said,
“The most important thing my dad taught me is that there are more important things than me.”
There is an old saying that goes,
“A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae away from a kick in the pants, but the results are much better.”
1. HAS YOUR ATTITUDE BEEN GOLDEN LATELY?
Have you been able to show the Golden Rule in your attitude lately? Many people will say they can do that with ease, “if only” –
· If only they measure up to my standards
· If only they do things my way
· If only, if only, if only
Jesus did not say to do these things “if only” they do something for you first. He commanded us to love people, even when they didn’t meet any of our high and mighty criteria.
There was a man once sitting by a tree near a creek, reading his Bible. Something caught his eye and he looked to see a scorpion caught between two roots of the tree.
The man reached over to help the scorpion loose, but each time he tried to grab it, the scorpion tried to sting him. A man who was standing nearby watching this said, “Don’t you know it is the scorpion’s nature to sting? Why don’t you just forget it and let it die there?”
The man smiled and looked up and replied, “Should it be necessary that I change my nature to accommodate someone else’s nature? The scorpion may sting, but I help, that is my nature.” When God’s love fills your heart, you cannot help but share it – with all things.
Jesus knew there are two ways of giving. One way is to give in hopes that you will get something out of it. That is like the man who bought his wife a ping-pong table for her birthday.
He knew she wanted it, but he expected to use it as much as she did. In effect, he didn’t just give to her, he gave to her with the expectation that he would have it, too. When we give with expectations of getting something back, we aren’t really giving in the first place.
The other way is to give with absolutely no expectation of getting anything back. That is what Jesus is talking about. That is the best way to show your love is to freely give, just because you want someone else to be fulfilled in some way. You sacrifice your own feelings for someone else’s feelings.
What you feel on the inside of your heart determines what you show on the outside of your attitude.