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Summary: What we do with our time is God's business. How can we honor God with what we do?

Tithing Your Time

August 19, 2012

Matthew 9:35-38

Words can carry a great deal of power. They carry us to various destinations. Sometimes we're transported to places we like and other times, places we loathe. Words can be powerful reminders of people and things . . . painful and joyful. One of the most powerful things about words is how they connect and reconnect us to powerful memories. Words which are powerful to your memory are likely different and cause different reactions for each person. Yet, we all have those triggers. For instance, as I say these words and phrases, consider your responses:

Summer Vacation Summer School Sports

SAT’s and ACT’s The IRS Christmas

Homework Alcohol D-day

President Obama Mitt Romney Forgiveness

Dancing Jesus Sermons on $$$

Behind specific words, lay all kinds of perceptions and ideas. What's behind a word for you may not be the same for me. For instance, when I said ‘forgiveness, some of us may have felt ourselves tighten up, because of the need to forgive or be forgiven; while others may have had a sense of power and joy, because of the forgiveness you have received or extended.

Let me say another word: evangelism.

What impressions go along with this word? Is it someone yelling on a corner? Someone getting in your face about Jesus? Someone knocking on your door? Or is it someone like Billy Graham, lovingly sharing the good news of Jesus Christ?

As a follower of Jesus, I have to deal with this word, because it's attached to what it means to be a Christian. It’s been said only 10% of Christians have the spiritual gift of evangelism. Yet, I believe in many respects we’re all evangelists.

The word evangelist is only used 3 times in the Bible, but what is important about that word is its meaning. In Greek, it’s pronounced εὐαγγελιστής. yoo-ang-ghel-is-tace. It means “the bearer of good tidings or good news.” We can be evangelists on many topics. Have you seen a good movie lately? Do you want others to see it, too? Did you go to a great new restaurant and you’re so excited about it, you tell others? When you share good news about a child’s accomplishments, you’re an evangelist — you’re sharing good news.

You end up evangelizing. That’s right, you’re sharing the good news about the movie, or restaurant, about a person, and maybe even about church and Jesus.

To be an evangelist for God is to be a messenger of the "more than." To be an evangelist for God is to be a person who invites others to authentic life; life beyond the shadows and temporary and into what is permanent and everlasting.

Our passage today tells us 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

In some versions of the Bible the phrase GOOD NEWS is translated as GOSPEL. They have the same root word. In Greek it’s εὐαγγελίζω (yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo)

You see, people were hearing the Word of God, because Jesus was preaching the GOOD NEWS (the Gospel). Jesus was evangelizing, simply sharing the good news; and powerful healings taking place.

Matthew then tells us 36 When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

The word compassion means Jesus felt their pain all the way to the deepest parts of His being. It’s when we’re suffering and a friend hugs us, sits with us, or cries with us, and we know, we know without a doubt, they’re feeling our pain, they’re with us . . . in that moment. They’re not taking our pain upon themselves, but they’re entering into our grief.

That’s how Jesus felt as He looked at the people. Why? Because the people were "harassed (troubled) and helpless (intentional thrown out/scattered), like sheep without a shepherd."

Jesus saw the multitudes as weary, worn out, discarded, unwanted, harassed, wandering people, with nobody to lead them.

In our world, people face great trials that leave them weary and worn, feeling harassed and helpless, unwanted, and discarded – –

We face physical trials Family and relationship issues

Financial troubles School and work problems

Mental / emotional struggles Spiritual battles . . . and more.

We live in hurting world. So, what’s our response to the pain the world around us is dealing with? And not just the pain of the world, but our own suffering and pain, how will we respond to our own pain?

Will we look at the world with the eyes of Jesus, and see people who are hurting and in need of a good word, a helping hand, extra grace - or do we see low-lifes, whom we can’t be bothered with?

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