Oct. 8 Sermon Does God Want You to be Rich

 

    A few weeks ago the cover of Time magazine had this picture of a Rolls Royce with a gold hood cross ornament and the question: “Does God want you to be rich?”  The article points out that Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come that you may have life, and have it in abundance.”  Abundance means “lots of” and every Texan knows our state motto “Too much is not enough”.

 

Jesus wants you to have an abundant life, but is he talking about money?

Jesus had spoken about “eternal life” - about a full, abundant life that begins now and lasts eternally - a satisfying, fulfilling life

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A man who was enjoying an abundant life - at least in monetary terms - came to Jesus:  “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” - to enter the Kingdom of God?

 

Maybe this guy was a first century YUPPIE -

young, upwardly mobile Palestinian”.                 

   But he was also religious.  After Jesus reviewed the list of commandments, the man relied: “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.”

But just keeping all the rules of his religion had NOT led to a satisfying, abundant life.  Something was missing - he was looking for more.

 

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him...”

Loved him, for the man was on the right path and a true seeker of God... and Jesus wanted to show him the way into the Kingdom of God.

“You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and

give to the poor, and you will have treasure in

    heaven; then, come and follow me.”  Mark 10:17-31

 

Sell everything I own?  Give my money away? Then come and follow?

It sounds like Jesus is asking for a lot - for everything.

 

I heard Jesus say:  “If any would follow me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.”

But I’ll admit my idea of self denial is something less than “Sell all you have and give to the poor.”

 

Why would Jesus ask that man to sell what he had?

Maybe that man with his many processions - derived his sense of self - of who he was - from all the things he had.  His affluence, his processions, gave him a sense of security and status.  Was all the stuff he had more important that God?

When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

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Jesus says “You lack one thing.”

 

Is something is standing between you and the Kingdom of God. Or is it possible that “you lack one thing” could mean that you are missing out on something.

Beyond material stuff and your career - even beyond family and friends there is something more to the abundant life Jesus promises.

God has a purpose for you and fulfilling that purpose is part of that abundant life.

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Jesus asks more something more...  More than just believing, and more even than sincerely trying to keep the commandments.

“You lack one thing.” . . .

The Lord has designed you to serve in some way – and in serving Him you discover another aspect of the abundant life He promises. 

Because the Lord has shaped you to fulfill his plan.  If you’re not fulfilling his purpose, you’re missing out on something.  You’re not using your gifts and talents and experiences in the way he intends – and therefore you’re not receiving the fulfillment he had planned for you.

 

 “God’s hands formed me and shaped me.” Job 10:8

The way God shaped you reveals your purpose, and have a unique role to play.  .

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How has God shaped me? 

I’ll list five specific elements and put them in an acrostic called SHAPE, which I’ve borrowed from a book by Rick Warren.

 

S – Spiritual gifts.

“Each one has his own gift from God; one has

this gift, another has that.”  1 Cor. 7:7

Spiritual gifts are specific talents and abilities that God gives you in order to fulfill His purpose in your life. 

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I’ll need Bob the Builder’s [played by Jerry McCarty] help to illustrate what I mean.

Bob:  Hello again.  If you don’t remember me from last week, I am Bob the Builder.  You have quite a few people on your construction crew that are already hard at work.  I’d like to introduce you to several of them.

 

One of these workers you don’t see often but hear her a lot from back in the music area of the sanctuary, Mindy Weinalt.  Mindy, please tell everyone about the difference in how you use your gifts – your God-given talents – during the week as a teacher and in your role as a musician at Resurrection Lutheran.

Mindy speaks about her teaching job and her job at LCR. {“Teaching” is a gift of God and she serves him every day in school.  But “music” is also a gift which she offers here at church.]

Bob:  Mindy, it’s wonderful that you have chosen to use your God given talent as a musician to make our worship service that much more enjoyable.  Thanks again for your servant attitude for if we ask the musicians, “Can we sing it”, they sing out “YES WE CAN!!”

H – Heart.

“…Out of your heart flow the actions of life.”  Pr. 4:23

    By heart I mean your motivations, your interests. 

God shaped your heart so that you’re really concerned about some issues.

Some people’s heart leads them to visit the sick.  Some open their heart to the needy, like those who help with “Daily Bread”.  Others have a heart for children or youth.

 

Bob:  I know who you’re talking about, but I’m not sure everyone else does.  Will all of you who work with our Sunday School and youth program please stand up.

That’s a lot of folks who have followed their heart.  We didn’t have room in the construction zone for all these workers building God’s church.

 

A – Abilities.

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well…”  Rom. 12:6 (LB)

Those are the learned abilities you’ve acquired in life, like carpentry, typing, plumbing. sewing, gardening….

 

Bob: (Interrupting)  That’s enough – they got the idea. That sounds like one of the workers here at Resurrection Lutheran that I admire, Ted Berquam.  Ted is kind of like Superman.  A mild mannered computer nerd by weekday and Super Handyman by weekend.  Ted, how does your workday life and your service at Resurrection blend in your life?

 

Ted speaks about his job and LCR service.

 

P – Personality.

“God works through different people

     in different ways…”  1 Cor. 12:6

God shapes you by giving you a unique personality. 

And some of your personalities are very unique.

Each of us has natural preferences for how we approach life – how we are energized, how we learn and make decisions.  Preferences like that add up to your personality – what you’re like.  And that will effect how and where you use your gifts and abilities.  Two people with the same gift may employ it in different ways.

God made you to be you.  When you serve in a manner consistent with the personality God gave, you experience fulfillment and satisfaction.

 

Bob:  This is Josh Miller.  A lot of you know Josh as Andi’s boyfriend and only see the Youth as “those kids always asking for money to go places.”  What you may find amazing is the amount of work the youth do at Resurrection without much, if any, recognition.  Josh, what kind of jobs do the youth perform at our church?

 

Josh speaks about some of the work

performed by the youth.

 

Bob:  I think a lot of adults could learn from the servant attitudes shown by our youth here at Resurrection Lutheran.  Josh and the youth deserve a great big Thank You because if we ask the Youth can they build it, they reply “YES WE CAN!!”

           

E – Experiences.

“All that happens to us is working for our good if we love God…”  Rom.  8:28 (LB)

   Obviously God allows us lots of different kinds of experiences.

Vocational experiences – jobs that we’ve had in the past that shape our lives;

Educational experiences – Spiritual experiences

 and even Painful experiences can be used, for

God comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort others when they are troubled.

 

Thanks Bob for helping me illustrate the sermon.

Bob:  This is just a brief look at how a few of our fellow workers use their gifts and talents to build up our church here at Resurrection Lutheran.  We know that everyone here has some talent or God given gift that can serve God.  What our job is right now is to help you determine how you can use that talent to Build our Church.

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Does God want you to be rich?

Christ offers His followers a rich abundant life now, and treasures in heaven.   But “Do you lack one thing?”

Are you missing out on something God has planned for you?

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     Use the sermon as a worksheet, so you can think and pray about your gifts, your heart and abilities, your personality and the experiences that have changed your life.

     In prayer, ask the Lord where he would lead youhow he would have you serve?

   Listen to Jesus’ promise to those who serve:

I assure you that everyone who has given up things

for my sake will receive in return a hundredfold now

 - and in the age to come eternal life.

 Mark 10:29,30

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Prayer

     Lord Jesus Christ, help me to follow you as a servant. 

Although I don’t completely understand it yet, I want to fulfill Your purpose and plan for my life.  Guide me as I seek Your will for me.

    You have blessed me in many ways, so I can forget myself, serve others, and become a part of Your plan.

    Help me to discern the ways in which You would have me serve, that I may offer my talents and abilities and all that I am to you. 

    Show me the next steps in following You, that I might experience the abundant life you promise, and bring glory to your name. Amen