Summary: Message about important questions we must ask.
The Greatest Question
Theme: Have you pondered the greatest questions of man?
Text: Mark 10:35-39a
Think for a moment. In your most considered judgement, what one question about man towers above the rest? The health question certainly would be first for some. Is a man’s body strong and well? How long will I live?
Then there is the inevitable wealth question. How much money does he have? This is the first question for many of us. How much can I make? Yet as money mad as we may be, in the depths of our hearts we know that possessions is not truly the measure of a man.
If we are going to ponder the ultimate questions of life we ought to find out just what Jesus, the giver of life have to say. One day two of his disciples, James and John, both of them ambitious (as we learned a few weeks ago), brash and impatient for power, pushed their way toward him through the crowd and said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
Question # 1: What do you want?
Yet Jesus in a masterful teaching way answers their question with a counter question. Now, there is more depth than we generally realize. He asked them, “What do you want?” Here is a question to ponder. A question that should make us do some soul searching. What do we really want? What do I desire more than anything else in the world? What do I long for in my inner heart? What is that deep seedbed of desire that spring all of the basic motivations and attitudes of my life? Sometime or the other every man had to answer this question.
King Solomon did as he began his reign. He was young and untried. So troubled by his lack of wisdom and experience, he made a pilgrimage to burn sacrifices at the altar of Gideon, and to meditate and pray about the new responsibilities that had been thrust toward him.
As he stirred uneasily upon his bed in sleep, God came to him in a dream and invited him to request anything his heart desires. I believe it could have been anything.
What did Solomon ask for, what would we ask for? Oh we know the story but let us not miss the impact of this great question. Surely he must have thought about a mighty army marching in pomp and splendor at his command, or even drawn by the vision of a splendid palace, filled with treasures of all the world but he did not ask for it.
Solomon asked for only one favor. He pleaded, “Give thy servant therefore and understanding mind.” so I may better do your will. This was what he wanted most and down through the years this was what he is known for.
Now we may say, “My request is not so great. If only I could have enough money to live comfortable. If only I could have good health. If I only had that new job.”
These maybe noble request but I believe we need to look at eternal consequences. I believe as we see from the life of Solomon that when we get our eternal priorities straight then God will bless us with so much more.
Illustration of King of Egypt
Maybe you have heard the story of King Farouk I, King of Egypt. Many years back his rule was overthrown. When the officers of the new revolutionary government entered the fabulous palace of King Farouk, what did they find. This man could have had almost anything that money could by. In his library one could imagine a collection of the books equal to the finest collections in the world. Instead the police found stacks after stacks of American comic books. This is what the king wanted.
One might have thought that in the royal galleries would be hanging the paintings of the masters. Instead, they found pictures of half nude women. He was so caught up in the moment that he missed the greater benefits of being a king.
Oh let me tell you. Don’t allow yourself to be so caught up in the moment that you miss the eternal benefits of the saving grace of God.
Question # 2: What is your price?
Mark 8:37 tells us of another important question that Christ asks,” What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” What is your price?
Some say that every man has a price. Can a man be bought? Many men have been bought with a price.
Daniel faced this same question. His whole book, named after himself is a challenge to compromise or stand firm in what he believed.
Daniel and the Lions Den
One particular story stands above the rest. Instead of sitting by the side and softly pedaling his religious conviction he risked all to serve God. He could have easily compromised.