For some reason, a lot of us have bought the lie that our value is somehow measured by our ability to handle our "stuff." When in reality, our value is never in question, only our obedience. You could call that point 1, or just a precursor to the first point, I'm not sure - but I wanted to distinguish the difference between where our value is found before jumping into it!
OUR VALUE IS NEVER IN QUESTION, OUR OBEDIENCE IS
There's a really interesting story about King Saul in 1 Samuel 15. King Saul is commanded to destroy the Amalekites in totality, but he fails to do so. He keeps the king alive and allows his soldiers to take the best of the best livestock. He tells Samuel he's been successful and done as the Lord commanded, but Samuel responds with a simple question - “Then what is this sound of sheep, goats, and cattle I hear?”
Saul does what we all like to do as humans and justify it - I only kept these guys to have an even better sacrifice to the Lord! Aren't we like that sometimes? We try to do something of our own volition, it doesnt work out, then we try to redeem the bad decision by dedicating it to something "important" or "better"
It's our flesh's survival tactic - we dont have to confront the truth if we spin it back to good.
Only God can redeem and restore - it's really more beneficial to our lives to fight the flesh and stubbornly pursue obedience.
1 Samuel 15: 22 (CSB)
Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
It's easy to read scriptures about "one body," serving others, living in unity - and while not easy at all - most of us only see ourselves on the side of the one serving. But what happens when you're on the other side? Because at some point, you will be on the other side and how your respond to the situation will impact more than just you...
When we lost my dad in Dec to pancreatic cancer, that's the exact situation my family found ourselves in - an admittedly VERY PROUD family. My dad would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it but soak in a storm rather than borrow an umbrella. He always said he'd figure it out ... and that became my motto.
When life got hard, I didn't ask for help, I figured it out - until I couldn't. I broke down and called PT and through tears I just said I need you. I need the church. I don't know what I need, but I need something ... and I KNEW I could call on our church, once I became willing to be vulnerable, make myself available and swallowed my pride. When you thought being vulnerable and available was stressful enough, that's only a piece of the puzzle!. Life is HARD! The bible warns us -
John 16:33 (CSB)
33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK
Galatians 6:2-3 (NLT)
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
And as PT taught last week, we were made for each other!
And ... It's what we were called to do!
Philippians 2:3-11 CSB
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others. 5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow — in heaven and on earth and under the earth — 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The same attitude that allows you to turn down the help of a friend, allows your to turn away love of your Savior
BE A BLESSING
1 John 3:17
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him
We've talked up here before about how the world has perverted God's promise of provision to equate to prosperity, but that could not be further from the truth. The reality is, everything present in our lives is a gift from God, meant to be stewarded towards His will.
God doesn't have an issue with money, he has an issue with sinful hearts attempting to use money as a tool to replace His grace. Money is never the tool, people are, and have resources beyond just money - time, friendship, wisdom, etc ...
Your life experience should be a shared experience. That doesn't mean people know every detail, but it does mean that we grow, hurt, learn - together!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
1 John 4:19-21 (CSB) -
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.
On the flip side, NEVER EVER hinder someone's ability to be a blessing! You create a tension when you actively go against the what we're called to do as believers. Offering to help is someone learning to love and live like Jesus, sacrificially.
We will create crazy reasons for denying help, too ... You cant allow your pride to reject help under the false pretenses of "helping" someone steward their own resources.
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
Background to John Donne’s ‘No man is an island’ sermon
The words ‘No man is an island’ were embedded in a deeply Christian sermon about how human beings are connected to each other, and how important that connection is for the wellbeing and survival of any individual. When you hear the church bell tolling for someone who has died, don’t ask who it is, Donne says, just know that it’s tolling for you too because you are part of the same society and the death of anyone takes a part of your own life away.
The sermon is noted, not just for ‘no man is an island,’ but also the phrase ‘for whom the bell tolls,’ which was used by Ernest Hemingway as the title of his most famous novel.
PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him. And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.
No Man is an Island - excerpt from John Donne sermon in 1623
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Church, we're in this together, and we NEED each other.
Ephesians 4:1-6 (CSB)
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.