Summary: Where do you find your "self-worth"? Is it in God, or in yourself? The Pharisees looked for their importance in themselves and ended up robbing God of His glory to gain their own. How can avoid the traps that ensnared these highly religious leaders?
OPEN: "Sometime, when you're feeling important
Sometime, when your ego's in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You're the best qualified man in the room.
Sometime when you feel that your going, would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow this simple instruction, and see how it humbles your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it, up to your wrist,
Pull it out, and the hole that's remaining,
Is a measure of how you'll be missed.
You may splash all you please when you enter,
You can stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you'll find in a minute that it looks quite the same as before.
The moral of this quaint example is do just the best that you can
Be proud of yourself, but remember, there is no indispensable man."
APPLY: We all want to think that we're indispensable.
That we have value. That the world NEEDS us.
In fact, when I was a kid I took that belief that the world needed me to the extreme.
Now this is how my young mind worked:
When I went to bed at night and went to sleep, the world stopped.
And what was more, I believed that BEFORE I was born the world didn't exist.
And when I would die, the world would cease to exist.
Now, why would I think that?
Well I thought that because, when I was asleep I couldn't see things, feel things, hear things. And how can they exist if I don't know they observe them? And before I was born, the things I was TOLD had happened, well I had never seen those things or heard them or touched them so they couldn't possibly have happened.
And of course after I die, well if I don't experience the world it doesn't exist.
Everything that existed depended upon MY observing them. And when I stop observing them, they would cease to exist.
Now was that true?
Of course not!
But the very fact that my little childlike mind perceived my value made me realize something that WAS true:
I am special.
I'm a remarkable creation of God.
And so are you.
But we are not special because you (or I) are believe that we are.
You and I are special because GOD SAYS we are.
He created us to be special.
You and I are valuable. We are unique. We are a remarkable creation of God.
ILLUS: There's a cute T-shirt I read that says:
"I know I'm special because God don't make NO junk"
And the Bible says that's true.
You and I are special because we've been made "in the image of God." (Genesis 1:27)
We've been "made just a little lower than the angels"
And have been "crowned with glory and honor." (Psalm 8:5)
And even more than that, God thought we were so valuable to Him that He sent His only begotten to Son to earth to die on the cross for our sins. To take our place on the cross.
Think about that.
God believes that you and I were worth dying for.
And, once we accepted that truth and decided to become Christians, He regarded us as being so valuable that He placed His Spirit inside of you and me. And then He commissioned us to do special things in His name.
As Ephesians 2:10 says: "... we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
You and I are special
We are unique
We are a remarkable creation of God
We are valuable because God made us valuable.
God made us valuable. It is His ownership of us that gives us significance.
ILLUS: Think about this for a minute
How much would you pay for a toothbrush? Would you give $5? $2? 50 cents?
Well, what you pay for a USED toothbrush?
Now, what if that toothbrush was once owned by Napoleon? How much would you pay then?
Well, at auction, somebody paid $21,000 for it.
Or, how much would you pay for a set of fake pearls?
$20/ $30... maybe as much as $100?
What if that set of pearls had been owned by Jackie Onassis Kennedy?
Her fake pearls went at auction for a little over $200,000
Or how much would you pay for a piece of sheet music of a song you could play on the piano? In 2003, an original autographed piece of sheet music by Beethoven went for over $1.5 million.
Now my point is this:
That toothbrush was used.
The pearls were fake.
And the sheet music was just a piece of paper.
They weren't valuable because of what they were.
There was nothing intrinsic to them that gave them worth.