Summary: Taking this popular mantra and applying it to James 1:12, the message brings to light how thin and shallow this approach to life really is.
How to Do Life
What’s In It for ME?
* (Show the title on the screen.) Please read this phrase with me (read). Last week I Googled this phrase and returned 414,000,000 hits. We live in a “What’s in it for me (WIIFM)” culture. It begins with people’s approach to government which only infringes on our community, infests our homes, invades our lives, and infects our churches. Today, people make their choices on this mantra. Sadly, the vision of today’s people is somewhat limited & skewed.
* A person is trying to decide what church to attend, so they get a checklist of ministries to make sure that this church has everything they want. To be fair, many pray about this check list. Yet, what appears on list that we make reveal something of our limited vision because, for the most part, the list includes only things which hold meaning while on this earth. Small Groups, people my age or stage, music, & sweet fellowship, are but just a few of the listings. Consider what happens when that person joins & finds HIS or HER ‘thing’ is not what they thought it was. What happens?
* Another person attempts to make a decision about what religion or belief system to embrace. This time their listings may be different but their focus is the same, “What’s in it for me?” I suggest that for the person who has decided to find a belief system which ‘fits what they want’ is one which is man-made. It seems to be true that every religion has a group which is a soft target. Some religions appeal to young people, some to ladies, some to men, some to the down & outs; again sadly, the very reason these people are attracted to specific groups are, in large measure about “me & mine.”
* Today, I want us to look through the eyes (& words) of God to discover, “What is in it for me?” What is it that God wants to give me? (Text)
1. Your Call to Life – God calls us to have & possess a blessed life. That is His desire for you and me. Verse 12 in the HCSB reads, “Blessed is a man” while more translations read “Blessed is THE man.” However, the NRSV makes it clear when it read, “Blessed is anyone.” This calls us to recognize that God’s grace & love reaches to ‘whosoever will.’ Any time a preacher says, “Whosoever will”, the question which comes to the mind of some is whosoever will “what?” Hold that thought and we’ll revisit it in a second. Another rendering of the word “Blessed” in the New Testament is the word “Happy.” While the use of ‘happy’ seems to be a bit shallow for the life blessed of God, the concept speaks to the heart of the 21st century American. American are spending billions of dollars seeking ‘happiness’ and while money won’t buy happiness, it will take us a lot of place ‘looking for it.’ Sadly, as a general rule, money carries us in the wrong direction, looking at the wrong things, and wasting our resources.
* God desire is for you & me to be blessed & happy in this life. He didn’t create us to make us miserable or bored. Think about the words in Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He began speaking to people about how to be blessed and how to find happiness. He wanted us to know the joys of God’s blessing, so He began, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, who morn, & those who are meek.” Their blessing is that they will be comforted; they will inherit both the earth and the heaven. Our call to life is to be blessed in ways we cannot even imagine. How does the response to this call work? If God is calling us to life, exactly how does this come about?