Enough: When Dreams Become Nightmares
Minister: Rev. Olon M. Lindemood
I Timothy 6:10b; “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Ecclesiastes 5:10; “The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.”
Matthew 16:26; Jesus said “For what will it profit if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?”
“Greed is good.”
There are moments in our Christian life that we know what Jesus did not say! (for example)
“Greed is good!”
No! that statement is all over our media right now as a sound-byte from a speech offered by Gordon Gekko, as portrayed by Michael Douglas, in a movie about Wall Street.
Today we begin a march toward great faith in Jesus Christ our Lord! We walk humbly, we step with the fulfillment of scriptural truths, we journey together as God’s faithful flock of kids.
The bible is loaded with warnings for us. Loaded with the compassion of Christ crying out for us to focus on our Lord more than the things of this world. Jesus was rather clear “For what will it profit if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” Matthew 16: 26.
Have you ever heard the expression? “Keeping up with the Joneses?” In biblical days there were times when one of the 12 tribes of Israel thrived … And I am certain that the people of those days would say… “keeping up with the Benjamin’s!” It was not a mistake that one of the commandments (there are only ten) Says something like … “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ house or maid or man servant or your neighbors ox or donkey. Don’t covet your neighbors things.” Or as the Eugene Peterson version the Message says: “do not lust after your neighbors house … (and do not lust after) …”
Jesus said, “For what will it profit if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?”
- I am not one to quote statistics…(have you caught on to that …?) I can do it but if feels artificial? For example With the help of Adam Hamilton in his book called enough he sites 2 interesting statistics: first, that according to the National Homebuilders Association, the average American home went form 1,660 square feet in 1973 to 2,400 square feet in 2004 and that Storage rental spaces continue to increase annually. Second, “…the average credit card debt in 1990 was around $3,000.(in 2009) Today, it is over $9,000.” (Statistics say things but … there is a point in making them … so what’s the point!) (How many times in church have you had to say that… So… What’s the point!?!?)
His (Adam Hamiltion) premise is that The American dream of bigger and better has come at the expense of many becoming bound by a nightmare of overwhelming debt. And with the overwhelming debt, there is an unsettled life that is only recovered through absolute trust in God. In FIRST TIMOTHY the apostle Paul wrote: “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Recently, I heard a motivational speaker. She was a delightful Christian woman who spoke powerful witness to Christ’s love in her own life. She spoke of how life is not about trying to please other people. She at one time thought that life is about pleasing others and keeping up. Instead she knew that God loves her and the God created her good. SO now she is making peace with only pleasing God … and she knows if she can do that… she will be okay… So she went on to say… “I am going to only please God in my life… and … my husband, … Well and my kids … So I am only going to be about pleasing my husband, my kids … well … and my Mother. And my Pastor at my church … so there is just my husband, my kids, my mother, my pastor &helli p; and the people at my church … and the home owners association where I live … That’s all it takes to be happy … if you can just please those people in your life, then you can be happy.” ( I found her remarks to be delightfully insightful!.)
Friends How do we live in the posture of knowing that God sustains us with ENOUGH … enough … ?
We can be happy … It is not about pleasing, not about acquiring, not about coveting or lusting after things…
Together in these next few weeks … we as a Sunrise Church can listen to Biblical principles / Christian principles of living with Enough. This is not a journey criticizing wealth, it is a pathway of faithfulness in Christ Jesus our Lord. A pathway that can redeem and sustain us in our hours of trouble and chaos. We do not need to live in the nightmare of worldly obligation to our things and to our debts.
We do not have to be consumed by consuming. Nor do we have to be driven to acquire things by becoming deeper in debt.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33: “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Friends, We can AND WE will live with Jesus Christ as our Guide… So starting today … “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…”
We are not the first Christians to be overwhelmed by being human you know…
One of our beloved founders of faith offered a prayer that assist him and the earliest Methodists who were bringing revival to England and the United States of America … they prayed as do we: A covenant prayer:
A Covenant Prayer
In the Wesleyan Tradition:
“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt.
Rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen
Friends, Today is a first day … and if you have caught on … every day is a first day … God creates us anew in every day … we can begin again! Feel the joy that our hearts are only bound by the love of Christ Jesus our Lord!
Rev. Olon M. Lindemood
Sunrise UMC, Colorado Springs
October 3, 2010