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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - Invest In God And People, It Pays Dividends

Bobby Schuller - Invest In God And People, It Pays Dividends

Bobby Schuller - Invest In God And People, It Pays Dividends

Well, whoever you are would you stand with us? We're gonna say this creed together as we do every week. Hold your hands out like this as a way of receiving from the Lord. Let's say this together. I'm not what I do. I'm not what I have. I'm not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God. It's who I am. No one can take it from me. I don't have to worry. I don't have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share his love with my neighbor. Thanks.

Title of my message today is, "Invest in God, Invest in People, It Pays Out Dividends". Now, I love sermon titles that annoy religious people. It's no lie. I'm a religious person in a way, but I hope this brings up question marks. "Invest in God, Invest in People, It Pays Out Dividends". There's something in life that Jesus teaches us that is good advice whether you're a person of faith or not. He tells us that those who are humble will be exalted, and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. There is a principle in the world that you can study simply by observing the way people and everyone is, that people who humble themselves are exalted both in this life and in the next.

Today I wanna talk about the importance of becoming as much as you can an un-offendable person, about getting freedom from comparing yourself to other people, from getting stuck in these sewing circles where everybody talks about all the great things they're doing, from crippling yourself financially by owning things to impress other people rather than just wanting it for yourself, and the many, many, many traps that come when we are always exalting ourselves before people because of something that's going on much deeper.

And how even when we do impress those people, that need that is inside of us, it's not really met. That very often a truly successful life, whether you're talking about things as worldly as business or academia or you're talking about the spiritual life, real success comes when we humble ourselves, when we come to life with an empty cup, not a full cup, when we come with open hands, not closed fists, when we come to find a need and fill it rather than come to everyone to make them meet our needs or to recognize our things.

And most importantly, in life the old saying what goes around comes around is true. It is true. If you are feeling blue, and you need some encouragement, encourage other people, and you'll start to feel it. I literally feel it when I look at someone and say, thank you for what you do, and I mean it, or encourage someone because they're doing something great for me, I feel, like, a tingle up my spine. Do you get that too? You get weirdly lifted up when you lift others up. And as you do that, you begin to store up for yourself a gigantic bank of goodwill in the kingdom of the heavens that will pay out in dividends in your life.

This is what Jesus teaches us, by the way. It's an important part of Jesus's ministry is teaching us the economics of heaven. In the world we have economics, we have dollars and cents and businesses and things, but the kingdom of the heavens has its own economic system, a system in which we can invest, a system from which we can withdraw, a system that many of us have racked up huge debts that we feel like we cannot pay, anybody feel indebted sometimes spiritually? So, Jesus teaches us, he says, "Store up for yourselves treasures that are in the heavens, where moth and rust can't destroy and thieves cannot steal".

Look, many of us who grew up in church or in Sunday School, when we think about treasure in heaven, we don't think about it as treasures in the heavens, and this is a translation mistake in the Bible in English. In other translations they don't typically do this, but in English it usually says heaven, but in Greek it actually says the heavens. That's because in Jesus's day the word heaven didn't just mean the place you go to when you die if you trust in Christ, right? It didn't just mean heaven, the pearly gates. Heaven could also mean outer space, the stars, and the planets, and all this stuff, and heaven can literally mean the air around you.

So, in those days in Aramaic you could say, yeah, a bird flew from that tree through heaven to that tree. 'Cause heaven was like the area around you. So, to store treasure in the heavens didn't necessarily mean just heaven when I die, it meant that it's, like, treasure in the air, does that makes... it's really a spiritual treasure, it's a treasure that's somehow around you. "What kind of treasure can that be? That doesn't make any sense". I'll explain it to you here in a moment, but I wanna convince you today it's the best kind of treasure you can have in this world, it's the best treasure. Many of us who grew up in Sunday School, you know, when we saw treasure in heaven, we pictured Scrooge McDuck jumping from the diving board into a pool full of gold coins. Anybody watch "DuckTales"? Probably not.

So, we think, like, okay, someone who barely gets into heaven, let's say your brother-in-law, you're like, he'll probably get to heaven, I think. You know, he kind of drinks a little too much and spends his weekends watching football, but I guess he's a decent man, but not a good man, but not a bad guy. This'll probably be his treasure. You know, it'll be like, here's your, it's a little, some pennies. You know, here's some pennies, and that's his treasure. But he got into heaven, so he's, you know, he's good. And then you think of, like, a living saint. If I can think of a living saint in my life, Hannah's mom, Martine, is one of the most awesome believers. Just gives everything away and prays for people all the time.

There's a lot of people in this church that are that way, maybe you think of, like, Mr. Rogers, you know, who was also a Presbyterian minister, or I know a lot of you are thinking Tim McCalmont. When Pastor Tim McCalmont gets to heaven, this is what his treasure's gonna look like. Heck yeah, that's it. So, we have this, they agreed too, that's good. You must have left a good impression. So that someone like Tim gets this, and someone like your brother-in-law gets the pennies, but everybody kind of that trusts in God goes to heaven. That is not, I don't think, I don't think that's what this means. Although if it is, you're gonna get it, my friend. You're going to get the pearls, you're gonna get the everything. No, I think treasures in the heavens, what Jesus is teaching us, is Jewish wisdom that there is this intangible thing in the air that we can draw from in life if earlier we invested our treasure there.

It's not, you know, gold when I get to heaven. There was an old joke about, I'm gonna get this wrong, but it was something like a wealthy man goes to the pearly gates, and there's St. Peter, and he's standing before Saint Peter with a bag of gold, and he's arguing with him. He says, "Let me in, I want to bring in my bag of gold". And Peter says, "You can't bring a bag of gold into heaven. You gotta leave it". He said, "I want to bring it with me". And finally he just lets the man through, and St. Andrew leans over to St. Peter and he says, "Why did he want to bring in a bag of pavement"? 'Cause the streets are paved with gold.

Any joke you gotta explain is a bad joke. I tried it in the first service, and I thought they were just tired. I learned it's a bad joke. No, it's not that. If you hear anything I say, hear this. Store up treasure in heaven, it's not gold when you die, it's stuff like favor, God's favor in your life opening doors no one can shut, shutting doors no one can open. It's favor with your neighbor, favor with your city, it's people saying she is, he is a trustworthy person, work with him, don't work with him. Work with her, don't work with her. It is wisdom. Wisdom is a heavenly treasure that once you have it, no one can steal it from you, no one can take it from you, and by the way, if you share it, it only grows. Or joy, joy from the Holy Spirit is a heavenly treasure that no one can take from you.

Goodwill from doing what is right always, from doing the next right thing, goodwill in your business, with your boss, or your employees, or your neighbors, or your family, that is a heavenly treasure that no one can take from you, and it pays out, my friends, in dividends. You can lose all the money in the world, but if you have that stuff, you've got something better, something much, much better. And by the way, can we just say that in the same way that some people have treasure in heaven, many, many people have racked up... look, can we call it heavenly debts? Heavenly debts that you've got. You have borrowed from goodwill, and you're behind on your promises. When people see you, they know you cannot work with him, you cannot trust him.

Heavenly debts are folly, making the same foolish mistake over and over and over, and treating people poorly, and putting people down, and not putting first things first, like your kids and your family and your values. When you put those things to the side and you fall into the worldly way of life, the fruits of heavenly debt are things like boredom, are things like having all the money in the world, but being completely empty, like having means, but no meaning. It's not a life of fullness and richness like one that has stored up treasure in heaven, but rather it's a life of lack, even when you have everything in the world. It's a life in which people think of you with indifference at best and distrust at worst.

We all know people who have racked up debts in the kingdom of the heavens, and we all know people that have treasure in the kingdom of the heavens, and you want to be like people that have treasure in heaven. It's a kind of treasure you can withdraw from today. I wish people would just do what I say. This is good advice, my friend. If you do this, I promise you, your life will be better. So, in life it is so important that we stop trying to impress the world with worldly treasure, but we try to impress the Lord with heavenly treasure, and then we store up for ourself a kind of thing that does not rust and destroy.

And this is what Jesus teaches us. It begins with the value of a heart that's like an empty cup, one that's ready to learn, to receive, to hear from others. It's not from a heart that is arrogant, prideful, embittered, and easily offendable. It's from a heart that is humble, that is humble, that says, Lord, forgive me of my sins, because I forgive everybody else for their sins too. That's the Lord's Prayer. Jesus teaches his disciples to be humble, because it's the best way to live life.

Now, this was less common in his day. Rome was all about glory. Little Julius Caesar, who grew up in an aristocratic family in Rome, when he was a little boy, was held firmly on the shoulders by his father, who was brought into what's called I think a death room and pointed out all of the wax faces that were placed on the great heroes of his family when they died. They were death masks, and the father would look at the son and say, he did this, he did that, he did this. What will you do in your life? Rome was all about glory at any cost, way more about glory than it was about wealth. And, in fact, there was an old saying that a Roman dies twice, the first time he dies is when he breathes his last, the second time is the last time someone says his name.

So, may you live a life which nobody ever says your name for the last time. And here we are talking about Julius Caesar. You know, it's always bothered me in a way that Christians have been sympathetic to the Roman Empire, especially cats like Julius Caesar, who was not much better than Genghis Khan and Hitler. I mean, Julius Caesar, among other travesties, went to Gaal, which is modern day France, and murdered I think it was almost 2 million Gauls, including women and children by hand with swords. Stabbed kids, and then came back to Rome with thousands of slaves in haul behind him, many of them kids, and everybody celebrated him, and he famously said, "Veni, vidi, vici," I came, I saw, I conquered. Everybody goes, "Wow, that's cool. That is cool".

No. Julius Caesar is under God's wrath. Julius Caesar raked up for himself a lot of debt in heaven. And I don't know, I'm not here to judge a character in history as much to say that it was into that world that Jesus said, "In this world, everybody exercises authority, and everybody is all about glory, and no. But if you want to live in the kingdom of God, you have to serve, you have to become humble. Those who are the least of these will be the greatest in God's kingdom". And that's why Jesus famously dressed up like a slave, the lowest position in Rome. Embarrassing, humiliating, dressed up like a slave and washed the feet of his students. Wouldn't that be weird, if you're a famous professor, dressed up like a slave, and started washing all of the students feet? Was even weirder in Jesus's day. He was a weird guy. He is a weird guy, Jesus. He does stuff we're not used to, challenges the way we see things.

That all that he teaches us is good advice for a good life. There's a story that says that Jesus is sitting at a table of a prominent Pharisee. So, Pharisee is a good thing in those days, it's like a famous pastor. Be like Jesus is invited, you know, to our version of Billy Graham, and Billy Graham is there, and there's all these famous religious leaders and thinkers and people who own charities and things, and it's probably to honor Jesus himself, this now famous prophet and rabbi. And as he's sitting there quietly, watching these men gather around the table, they're all sort of gently but efficiently jockeying for positions of honor at the table. Everybody wants to sit a little closer to Billy Graham, you know. And the closer they are, people go, what does he do, oh, what's he from, all that. We all know this, don't we?

And Jesus looks at them, and he says in this scripture, Luke 14, "When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable. When someone invites you to a wedding feast, don't take the position of honor, for a person more distinguished than you might be invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this person your seat.' Then, humiliated, you'll have to take the least important place". Has this ever happened to you before or something like this? Maybe not. It's happened to me, like, at least six times in my life, something like this, and it's a terrible experience.

"But when you're invited, take the lowest place so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you'll be honored in the presence of all the other guest, for all of those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted". We all do this, don't we? When we're in a group of our peers, there's this weird way that some of us, we experience, maybe you're in the academic world, and all of the professors are around, and they're talking about the papers they all published, or maybe you're with other, you know, moms or parents, and they're talking about all the amazing things their kids are doing or the new house they got, or maybe you're with your colleagues, other business owners or other attorneys or other doctors or whatever it is, and they're talking about the accolades, and you feel yourself drawn into it, wanting to say, what you've done and brag about the things that you have, and it feels gross, doesn't it?

There's a weird, gross something to it all that is not good, that we don't even want in our life. When we're humble, we just let go of that stuff. Can we decide today, let's just let go of all of that. Let's let go of ego, of trying to prove things to my peers. You don't have to prove anything to your peers or your parents or your...just let it go, be free. Oh man, wouldn't it be free if instead of always being proud and easily offendable and living with this sort of brittle state of mind where you can be easily tilted, we were much stronger and just relaxed in life? That instead of being like Marty McFly and someone calls you a chicken, and all you have to do whatever they say, we're just able to just let it go.

Man, if you can do that, you will get such a power and blessing from God and from your neighbor. Being humble is honestly, it's a superpower that's being lost today. There's false humility all over the place, but to be really humble, to be someone that really has trained yourself to stop caring about all of that stuff and just become the kind of person that encourages other people, that can rejoice with people when they rejoice, that when you're not invited to something and everybody else is, you're able to just let it go, that hurts, doesn't it? When something like that happens. To be just smarter and more relaxed and unoffendable, can I make you a promise today? Your life will be better, and you'll be more successful in general if you're not trapped by the opinions of other people. If instead we just learn to sort of let it go.

Look, there's a part of all of our lives where all of us have done things that we regret, and we've had sin in our lives, and things that we should be ashamed of, and God forgave us of all of that. There's no reason now that we should become egotistical. We just can love people today, amen? So, let's love people. This is the life hack, that what goes around actually comes around. If you invest in people, it's gonna come around to you. If you lift people up, you will immediately feel lifted up and be putting out into the world around you goodwill. If you are feeling blue and unmotivated, try to motivate someone, and you'll feel, like, kinda revved up and motivated and ready to go.

If you're feeling guilty about life, guilty about something, start forgiving other people who have hurt you, and you're gonna start to feel mercy from heaven and from God. Encouragement is a real spiritual gift that we're instructed to practice in the book of Romans. The word encouragement means to give someone heart, en cour. Cour is a French word for the heart, and when you encourage someone, you give somebody who's out of steam, who's not ready to go another day, you give them a lift, you give them a little push. In Greek the word for the spiritual gift is paraclesis. It means to call to one side. It means that when someone is feeling beaten up or down or discouraged, you come alongside them, you put your arm around them, and you say, you've got a friend in me. I'm going to be by your side. You can do this. We can do this together.

Friend, let me tell you, you do that, you put your arm around someone and you convince them that it's not over yet, you convince yourself it's not over yet. You convince them they're forgiven, you convince yourself you're forgiven. You convince them that God loves them, that the best days are ahead for them, you'll convince yourself. Even now as I'm saying this, I'm feeling encouraged. It's like a principal in life, you encourage people, it makes all the difference in the world. Words are so important, and one of the biggest mistakes we make in life is thinking my words aren't that big of a deal. It takes one random guy or gal at Starbucks that you've never met in your life and you will never see again that will say something incredibly offensive to you, and you will think about them, many of you, me too, the rest of the day.

You're driving down, and you're listening to a book on tape, you didn't hear anything that was said. You're talking to someone on the phone, you didn't hear anything they said on the phone. You're thinking about this random person you'll never see again from Starbucks. You crawl into bed, you're ready to go to bed, all of a sudden you think about the thing again, maybe you talk to your husband or wife about it, got you all riled up. We think about all the great comebacks. I could've said this, I could have said that, I would pay $100, literally, to go back in time and say this great line I just thought of. I need to remember this so if it happens again, I'm locked and loaded.

So think about that, just just for a moment, truly. Or somebody on the road that gives you the bird, think about this for a moment. Think about how much power one stupid sentence from one stupid person said to you, think about how that affected your whole day, how you acted at work, how you treated your kids, how you drove your car, how you performed at your job, and that was a stranger you didn't even care about. What happens with the words you say to people that actually love you? What about, you know, the good things you haven't said that some people desperately wanna hear from you or hear from you again? I cannot tell you how many grown men and women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who are parents and grandparents of their own have said to me, "Pastor Bobby, my dad never told me once that he loved me. My dad never said ever that I was beautiful. My dad never said ever, not once, that he was proud of me".

And you know they always say after that? "But I know he was, I know he was, I know he was. It's not in his personality. But I know he does". And they always say that, and I always say this back to them. "What if he did tell you you were beautiful? What if he did tell you he was proud of you? What if he did tell you I love you"? They almost tear up right then and there. They can't imagine such a thing. It would mean the world to them. Can I say to you, those of you who are parents, if you haven't told your kids you love them, will you tell them? If you haven't told your daughter that she's beautiful, will you tell her? If you think so, I hope you do. If you haven't told your daughter, your son, you're proud of them, that you're on their side, that maybe you're a little critical, but you're proud of them, would you tell them?

Don't make it true that, oh, he would never do that. Would you tell them before you die? Would you give them that gift? Some of you are in your mind right now, you're like, I'm just not gonna do that. I just, I'm sorry, I just can't do that. I'm not gonna do that. If you can't say it, could you at least write it down on a card and give it to them? If you do, I promise, they will hang onto that card the rest of their lives. Why wouldn't you give away such a tremendous gift when it costs you nothing? What a gift it would be, and what a gift it is to your neighbor when you encourage them. What a gift it is to your friends to tell them, I'm so glad to see you. I missed you. To tell your wife or your husband, I'm so glad I'm married to you. I'm so grateful I get to do life with you. To tell your grandkids, I'm so proud of you, I'm so happy to have you in my life. Even when you say those things again, you feel your own life lift up, and that's not why we do it, but there's just so many benefits.

There's so few things in this world that have such a great personal benefit at such little cost. Why wouldn't we do it? When you lift other people up, you lift yourself up. When you lift other people up, you'll be lifted up. And don't forget to bless the Lord. Isn't that interesting, that we bless the Lord? I was talking to a friend of mine, and I said something in a prayer or something, "Lord, we bless you, or we bless you". And he goes, "You know, you don't bless the Lord, the Lord blesses you". And I said, "No, it's a two way street. The Lord blesses you, and you bless the Lord". He goes, "No, only the Lord can bless. You don't bless the Lord. That's not right". And then I finally go, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me".

You know, there's, like, 100 scriptures that say bless the Lord, and there are other scriptures as well that say worship the Lord, praise the Lord, thank the Lord, but there's also these ones that say bless the Lord. What does that mean to bless the Lord? What does that even mean? What does it mean to bless the Lord? Well, let me ask you, those of you who are parents, or maybe those of you who are teachers, if your students... have your students ever blessed you before? Have your kids or grandkids ever blessed you before? You ever had a friend that blessed you in that way? There's something about children blessing adults that it... the word blessed also has to do with happiness, and it makes you... ashar in Hebrew, it's barak, but ashar, you're happy, you feel lifted up. Isn't that interesting that when you praise God, you bring joy to his heart? What a great thing.

So, I just wanna encourage you to do that. Man, the biggest lie that the enemy would want to tell you is that your words don't have incredible power, power to move mountains into the ocean. I mean, really, to change lives with just words, you can change lives. That's why, yeah, it's amazing. And so, today, my friend, lift someone up today. Would you lift someone up today? Today bless the Lord before you go to bed, and bless him when you rise. Would you do that? Would you just try it and see how much better your life becomes when you use your words to impact the lives of your neighbor and to bless people? It'll come around, it'll make all the difference in the world.

Lord, we bless your name, and we thank you for life, thank you that we get to be here in your presence. We are so grateful. Forgive us of the times when we have been so offendable and arrogant. And we just ask, God, you forgive us in Jesus's name and help us to be more like Christ. It's the best way to live life. And, Lord, I pray for my friends here, and I'm just thankful for them. I pray that you bless their families and bless all their work. I pray that you would open doors this week for them as they're facing trials and challenges in their family life, health problems. Lord, let this be a week of victory. I just proclaim that over you. This will be a week of victory in your life. Make sure you give God the praise when it happens, it's his work. Lord, it's in your name we pray. Amen.

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