Nov. 23, 2014 – Stewardship Sunday Texts: Deut. 7:7-8, Rom 5:6-8, John 2:1-10
Dear Friends in Christ,
Two men crashed their private plane on a South Pacific Island. One of the men brushed himself off and proceeded to run all over the island to see if they had any chance of survival. When he returned, he rushed up to the other man and screamed, “This Island is uninhabited and there is no food or water. We’re going to die!”
The other man leaned back against the fuselage of the wrecked plane, folded his arms and responded, “No we’re not, I make over $100,000 a week.” The first man grabbed his friend and shook him. “Listen, we’re on a deserted island. We’re doomed!” Still unfazed, the man looked the other guy in the eye and said, “It’s OK. I make over $100,000 per week and give 10% to the church. My Pastor will find us!”
It’s Stewardship Sunday. Time to take inventory of how we use God’s precious gifts to us. It’s all about Him – the Savior, Jesus. He makes what we do for Him and His kingdom worth it.
“WHY YOUR LIFE IS WORTH HIS LIFE”
Our first text from Deuteronomy, “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
That same truth applies to us. We are a chosen people that belong to God. And please know that we are not chosen and made His because we are all great and wonderful. Scripture says we are sinful people like filthy rags. We are his enemies because of our sin.
Christ through His grace has saved us. We are saved from the terrors and torment of hell. We are saved from having to prove ourselves to God. We are saved from the culture we want to adapt to. We are saved through a beaten, bloodied, spiked to a cross, facing the depths of hell Savior who loved us enough to bear the punishment for our filthy rags. Your life was worth His life.
Our Epistle lesson spells it out even more clearly. Paul writes, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We are weak, aren’t we? Struggling with our sin. Giving into temptation and the devil. Sometimes making a real royal mess of our lives. Going after the self-helps of the world only to find that makes it worse. We need Jesus. We need His love, forgiveness and guidance through His Word every day. That changes how I live and how I treat others. It is worth everything. Your life was worth His life.
Our last text is the first miracle Jesus every performed. Commonly known as “changing water into wine.” Our focus today is on verse 10, “(The master of the feast) said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.’”
The master of the feast recognized the wine’s high quality, giving witness to the miracle’s greatness. The Lord always gives the best.
Think of the good wine you have been granted in this life. Financial blessings showered up on you. A country where you can come to worship without fear of retribution or imprisonment. The amazing abilities that the Creator God has given unto you. The time granted on this earth to serve God and your fellow man. The children on loan to you to shepherd in the faith. Do you recognize the good wine that comes from the hands of your Redeemer?
Sometimes though we drink from the poor wine and wallow in our self-pity. “I don’t have what my neighbor has.” “Why can’t I do ________ as well as so and so?” “Where is the time Lord to get done what needs to get done.” All this does is make us whiners filled with the poor wine of our own making.
We forget we are the ones chosen to attend the wedding feast and given the good wine. The miracle worker Jesus makes this all possible. The guests at the wedding didn’t do anything to deserve this gift. They were the blessed recipients.
What we tend to do in the church is turning away from the eternal truths of God’s Word and focus on human fulfillment. This guts the central tenet of the faith once delivered to the saints, namely God’s one-way love in his Son Jesus Christ.
Last year Tullian Tchvidjian, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post deploring this capitulation of churches toward expressive individualism. He wrote:
“The hub of Christianity is not ‘do something for Jesus.’ The hub of Christianity is ‘Jesus has done everything for you.’ And my fear is that too many people, both inside and outside the church, have heard our ‘do more, try harder’ sermons and pleas for intensified devotion and concluded that the focus of the Christian faith is the work that we do instead of the work God has done for us in the person of Jesus.”
He cares for you. He loves you. He died for you. Your life is worth His life.