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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - Getting Free From the Weight of Worry

Craig Smith - Getting Free From the Weight of Worry

Craig Smith - Getting Free From the Weight of Worry
TOPICS: Travel Light, Worry

Well, hey, welcome to Mission Hills. So good to have you with us today. If it’s your first time joining us, let me catch up real quick. We are in the midst of a series called “Travel Light” where we’ve been taking a look at a teaching from Jesus about how to get free from some of the unnecessary weight that a lot of us are carrying in life. So far we’ve looked at the weight of money, not that money’s a bad thing, but it’s a dangerous blessing because it’s temporary, and yet, it tends to draw trust to itself, and then, right when we most need something that we can depend on, the money is gone and we find ourselves just kind of in a free fall. And Jesus teaches us that generosity is really the key to having money without putting our trust in it.

We’ve also looked at the weight of bad bosses, the weight of things that we give our loyalty to that can’t lighten our load, they just add to it. And again, Jesus said that generosity, with our time and our talent and our treasure, is ultimately the way that we stay free from the weight of bad bosses.

Today, we’re gonna talk about the weight of worry. And it’s just slightly ironic that we’re talking about worry on a day when some of you are probably dealing with a fair amount of worry. I mean not you guys because you’re here but…hey, I’m not a prophet, I don’t have the gift of prophecy, but I’m gonna make a crazy out-on-a-limb prediction, I’m gonna predict that our online attendance numbers this weekend might just be a touch higher. This coronavirus thing has got a lot of people worried. And by the way, that’s okay. If you’re joining us online, I’m so glad that you’re with us, the important thing is that you’re with us, we’re glad that you can be with us online.

But a lot of us are dealing with worry, right? And then, the reality is that worry adds a lot of weight to our lives. It doesn’t really matter what we’re worried about, worry adds a lot of weight to our lives. Maybe you’re worried about the coronavirus, maybe you’re worried about the impact the coronavirus is having on the stock market and your retirement accounts. Maybe you’re worried about the impact the coronavirus is having on your business. I talked to a guy this week that said that his business had lost over a million dollars because of canceled trade shows and conventions because of the coronavirus. And maybe that’s a place that you’re in. Or maybe it’s a health thing related to the coronavirus. Maybe you’re worried about a health diagnosis or you got a follow up with a doctor coming and you’re a little bit worried about what he’s gonna say. Or maybe you’re worried about the health of somebody in your life, or maybe you’re worried about who your kids are dating, or maybe you’re worried about whether or not you’re gonna find the job or keep a job. Maybe you’re worried about the future or whether your past is gonna catch up. We have all kinds of things that we worry about. And the reality is that worry adds a lot of weight to our lives.

Let me give you a little piece of advice. If you are the kind of person who’s prone to worry, if anybody’s ever called you a worrywart in your life, if you’re prone to worry, let me give you a piece of advice. Do not, under any circumstances, google how bad worry is for you. Okay? If you’re prone to worry, you do not want to do that because what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna get a whole new set of things to worry about. Because worry is actually really, really hard on us. Because reality is that, when we start to worry about things, what happens is we’re actually putting our bodies into a kind of a mild version of the fight-or-flight mode. Okay? And the problem is that’s exhausting. That draws resources out of us and our bodies simply can’t produce, they can’t manufacture resources, so they end up having to divert resources to stay in that mode and they divert them from our brains actually. And then, what happens is, when we’re worried, our analytical ability goes down. We miss details and therefore we make bad decisions, which leads to more problems, which leads to more worry, and it’s a vicious cycle.

And, this is so, so, so unfair, but it’s just the way that it is, the more we worry, actually, the more our body diverts energy and resources away from our immune system. So, the more we worry, the more likely we are to actually get health problems and diseases, which, this is crazy, right? Like if you’re someone who’s really, really, really crazy worried about getting the coronavirus, you’re actually depressing your immune system, which makes you more likely to get the coronavirus, if you happen to be exposed to it, which… And now everybody’s like, “Yeah, I’m not going out in public ever again.” Right? Right? But it has a huge impact on our ability to fight off diseases. Actually, worry increases our blood pressure, which has an impact on our heart and all kinds of other… I mean worry is just…it’s crazy, crazy bad for us.

The good news is you don’t have to live under the weight of worry. The good news is that how we live today actually determines how much worry about tomorrow will weigh us down. That’s the good news for today, that how we live today actually determines how much worry about tomorrow will weigh us down. And Jesus wants to teach us how to begin to live free from that worry.

Why don’t you go and grab a Bible and join me in the Gospel of Matthew. We’re gonna be on Matthew chapter 6 today. And if you’re kind of new to the Bible, Matthew is one of the four Gospels, the four books of good news about the life of Jesus. And today we’re gonna see that the good news of Jesus is that Jesus can and will show us how to live free from the weight of worry about tomorrow. Jesus says this. We’re in chapter 6, starting verse 25. He says, “Therefore, I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” A couple things here, first off, he says, “Therefore,” that’s how he starts off. And I had a seminary professor who loved to say, you know, “Whenever you see the word therefore, you should ask the question, ‘What is the therefor there for?'”

I thought it was funny too the first time. Like the 500th time, I was like, “Okay, we get it,” but it’s actually a pretty good piece of advice. What’s therefore there for? What Jesus is really saying here is that, “What I’m about to tell you is actually very, very closely connected to what I’ve already been talking about.” And what has he been talking about? Well, he’s been talking about the weight of earthly treasure. He’s been talking about the weight of bad bosses. And what he’s saying now is that, “What I’m about to talk to you about is actually really closely connected,” and he’s gonna talk to us about worry.

And what he’s really saying is that, “Hey, if you get this worry business right, you’re actually gonna begin to experience a bunch of freedom in other areas of your life. And if you get this worry business right, that’s gonna have a huge impact on whether or not you’re weighed down by earthly treasure or whether or not you’re weighed down by giving your loyalty to something that’s only adding to your load.” If we get this worry business right, it’s gonna have a huge, huge impact on us. Now why is that? Because worry is all about focus. Worry is all about focus. And focus, as we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks, focus really determines where our loyalties lie and where our trust is invested.

That’s why worry is such a big deal. Because worry’s about focus, and focus determines where our loyalties lie and whether or not we’re serving a boss who adds to a load or lightens it. And our focus ultimately dictates where our trust is invested. So, worry is kind of a big deal. And Jesus is concerned about it, it’s interesting, worry basically boils down to paying attention to something. Do you know that? So, say, it’s all about focus. Because worry really literally means paying attention. In fact, as a lot of you may know, the Gospel of Matthew wasn’t originally written in English, it was written in Greek. That was the common language of the day. And in Greek, the word for worry literally means paying too much attention. That’s literally what it means. And what happens is we pay too much attention, and then, we begin to feel anxious. Okay? So, here’s the definition of worry that were gonna be working with today. Worry is the anxious feeling that comes from paying too much attention to the wrong things. Are you with me, Church? That’s what Jesus is talking about. It’s this anxious feeling, it’s this clenched up, it’s the unsettled feeling that comes because we’re paying too much attention to the wrong things. And Jesus is very concerned about it.

In fact, it’s interesting, the word worry is not a common word in the Bible. It actually only occurs a handful of times and, interesting enough, almost 50% of the times that the word for worry shows up in the Bible, they’re right in this teaching from Jesus. He’s gonna say it over and over and over again, which tells me, again, an interesting thing. It tells me that Jesus is pretty worried about what we worry about. Jesus is pretty worried about what we worry about because, again, worry is all about focus, and that ultimately drives so many other things.

Now, what are the wrong things to worry about? Well, he says in this passage, right, he says that it’s, you know, about your life, what you will eat and drink, about your body, what you wear. And then, he goes on and he says this. He says, “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?” And he’s gonna actually ask a bunch of questions today and the obvious answer is gonna be really clear to us, and so, let’s just ask ourselves, “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?” The answer would be, say it with me, “Yes, it absolutely is.”

He says, “Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow, or reap, or store away in barns. And yet, your Heavenly Father feeds them.” And he says, “Are not you much more valuable than they?” Are you not much more valuable than birds, and the obvious answer, say it with me, is, “Yes, of course, we’re so much more valuable than the birds.” How do we know that? Jesus didn’t die for the birds. Right? God didn’t send his only Son for the birds. “For God so loved the world,” not meaning the planet, not meaning all the animals, but meaning you and me, the people of the world. “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son.” He lived a perfect life, he died on the cross to pay for our sin. And his blood, God raised him from the dead and he offers us salvation by faith, simply by trusting in what Jesus did for us. Why? Because he loves you. He did that for you because of his deep, deep love for you. So yes, you are much more valuable than birds. The death and the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate proof of how much more valuable you are than the birds.

Now, what Jesus is telling us here isn’t just a good feel-good kind of a thing. He’s actually giving us a strategy for dealing with worry, I don’t know if you caught it. But here’s the interesting thing about worry, see, it’s funny, He said, “Don’t worry.” And then, we all went, “Oh, okay. I’m good, like I really don’t need the rest of the message,” right? I mean, “Oh, I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to worry, so, oh, now you said, ‘Don’t worry,’ I’m good.” Right? Probably nobody feels that way because not worrying is a whole lot harder than simply telling somebody, “Just don’t do it,” Right? So, you might remember like when you’ve been worried about something and somebody says, “Hey, don’t worry about that,” you’re like, “Oh. Well, thanks, I’m good now.”

Now, here’s the thing about worry. It’s actually very hard to reject worry, it’s very hard to just go, “I just won’t do it. Don’t come into my life.” It’s very hard to reject worry but it’s much easier to replace it. It’s very hard to reject worry but it’s much easier to replace it with something else. We can’t just not worry but we can choose to pay attention, because that’s what worry is, really, we can choose to pay attention to something else, something more positive. And what Jesus is doing here is he’s giving us that much more positive thing to pay attention to. So, instead of paying so much attention to what you’re gonna do about tomorrow and how are you gonna get these clothes and those kinds of things, well, instead what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna focus on how much God loves you.

So when you find yourself inclined to be worrying about things, he says, “Replace it. Put your attention on something else,” and this is what you put your attention on, how deeply you’re loved, how profoundly God loves you, how beyond our ability to really comprehend, God pays attention, cares for, and longs for the good of those of us he called according to his purpose, that are his people. He says, “That’s what you replace worry with.” He says, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” and the obvious answer is no. No, you can’t. Worry never adds, it only subtracts. Worry never adds, it only subtracts. It subtracts peace from our lives, it subtracts energy from our lives, it subtracts health from our lives, it subtracts joy from our lives. It subtracts a whole lot of stuff, it doesn’t add anything. Well, maybe one exception, it adds weight. That’s the only thing that worry adds. Everything else, everything good it subtracts from our lives.

He says, “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow? They don’t labor or spin. And yet I tell you, that not even Solomon, in all of his splendor, was dressed like one of these, one of these flowers.” That’s such an interesting thing. Solomon, if you don’t know him, Solomon was one of the greatest kings of the Nation of Israel and he was widely recognized as one of the richest men that have ever lived. In fact, in the Bible, there’s a description of all the things that he owned. And there’s a website that I found, it’s called, which I do not recommend, okay, it’s all kind of messed up, but I found this article there where they took the description of everything that Solomon owned and then they added up the modern-day value of all those things and they found that he has a net worth of $2 trillion. $2 trillion, I mean, put that in perspective.

The richest man in the world today is Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon. You might be going, “Wait a minute, I thought Bill Gates was the richest man,” he was, but interestingly enough, he’s been practicing generosity. I don’t know that he’s necessarily a follower of Jesus but he’s recognized that the wealth that he has should be a blessing to others. And honestly, I think he’s experiencing that, when we are generous, we find ourselves set free from the burden of those possessions. And so, he’s actually given away over $35 billion already, so he’s no longer the richest man in the world. But I guarantee, he’s a whole lot lighter, in a good way.

Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, $145 billion, which sounds like a lot. But Solomon was 2 trillion. And if you want to put that in perspective, that means that Solomon was 14 times richer than the richest man in the world today, which is a really powerful way of saying that basically Solomon could buy any clothes he wanted. Right? Like I don’t even know who the big designers were back then. I mean they were all robes, right, I mean I don’t know if there was like a Gucci equivalent of a designer robe. But it didn’t matter what the price tag was, Solomon could afford it. Right? And he wouldn’t even feel the cost of it, he wouldn’t even know that he’d paid it, honestly. And yet, it says that Solomon, in all of his splendor, with all of his resources, he wasn’t dressed as finely, as beautifully as the flowers of the field. God takes care of them. Not even Solomon could hold a candle the way your Father dresses the flowers of the field. He says, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, you of little faith?”

See, that’s how God clothes the flowers of the field that they’re here today and gone. In other words, they’re very short-lived, they’re very temporary. But that’s not true of us. You understand the you and I…well, maybe we do have physical bodies that will die but the essence of who we are is an immortal soul. Who you are will last for all of eternity. You’re never gonna fully go away. You might pass from this life into the next one waiting for Jesus to restore all things, but the reality is, you and I are going to live forever. We’re not like the flowers that get thrown into the fire and they’re gone and done, we will live forever. And so, obviously God cares so much more about us because we’re not temporary in the way that flowers are.

He says, “And if God takes care of those temporary things in this way, how much more will he take care of those of us whose worth is so much higher and whose lifespan is ultimately unending?” I mean he says an interesting thing. He says that, and then, he looks at his disciples and he’s got a group of his followers right around them at his feet and he says, “You of little faith.” Such an interesting thing. Like, if I would been sitting there, I’d been like, “Dude, like we’re here.” I mean obviously we have faith or we wouldn’t be here at your feet, we wouldn’t be listening to this. But it’s interesting, the word that he uses literally in the original Greek is just one word, “you of little faith,” literally, it’s, “you little faith ones.” It’s a single word and it only shows up a handful of times in the Bible, and every time it’s used to describe people who have faith but they’re letting fear crowd it out. They have faith but they run the danger of allowing fear and worry to crowd it out. In fact, there was a time in Jesus’ life that he and his disciples were crossing a lake in a boat and Jesus fell asleep, he was taking a nap. And a storm came up and it says, “The disciples, they went and they woke him saying, ‘Lord, save us. We’re going to drown.'” And he replied, “You of little faith,” same word, “why are you so afraid?” And then, he got up and he rebuked the winds and the waves and it was completely calm.

See, they had faith, right, because they went to Jesus and they said, “Save us,” that’s clearly faith, but Jesus recognized in that moment their fear, their worry was battling their faith, replacing their hearts. So yeah, had faith but they were allowing fear and worry to crowd it out. Or another time, also in a boat, the disciples at least were in a boat and Jesus actually came out walking on the water to meet them. And when they saw and they were terrified and they thought maybe it was a ghost, but Jesus assured them that it wasn’t. And Peter, I love Peter, Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” I gotta tell you, if I were Peter, first off, I would never have asked that. And second, like what are you gonna do if he says yes? Right? Because I’m thinking Peter’s like, “Hey, if it’s really you, tell me to walk out.” He’s like, “Okay, come,” and he’s like, “Oh, no. I did not expect that.”

But Jesus had come, and it says, “Then Peter got down out of the boat. He walked on the water and he came toward Jesus.” Right? That’s clearly faith, right? But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me.” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. I’m sorry, immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” So again, he had faith, but in that moment, his fear, his worry was crowding it out. Listen to me, we don’t lack faith. If you’re a follower of Jesus, it’s not that you lack faith. We don’t lack faith but what we do is we let fear and worry crowd it out. We don’t lack faith but we let fear, we let worry crowd it out.

And so, Jesus is saying, “Hey, don’t let that happen. Don’t let fear and worry crowd it out.” And so, he says, “So, do not worry.” Or literally, don’t focus too much on these things that generate fear and then begin to fight for space in your heart with faith. He says, “Do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” He says, “Don’t think about those things so much, don’t focus on them, don’t run after them.” He says, “The pagans run after them,” the word pagans just means people who have not experienced God, they don’t know God and they have not experienced God as a loving and providing father.

But he says, “You have. So don’t be like them, don’t run after,” and literally the word that he uses there means, “Don’t be fixated on, don’t be consumed by, don’t be overly focused on these things.” So that’s what the pagans do, who don’t have an experience of a good, good Father who cares for their needs. They don’t have an experience of the Father who is the author and the giver of every good and perfect gift. He says, “You have that, so don’t be focused on those things.” Because here’s the thing, our focus determines how much our worry will weigh us down. Okay? Our focus determines how much our worry will weigh us down. What we’re focused on ultimately determines whether or not we are allowing fear and worry to crowd out our faith. Focus determines how much worry will weigh us down.

And so, he offers an alternative. He says…again, you can’t just reject worry but you can replace it. You can focus on something else, so here’s what you focus on, he says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” He says, “That’s where you focus.” Focus on seeking the kingdom of God, focus on living, on mission with Jesus, focus on living in the faith, that you have a loving Father who will protect you. Seek first his kingdom, his righteousness, and all this other stuff, he says, “It’ll take care of itself.” Actually, it won’t take care of itself but, “Your Father will take care of you.”

And my guess is that a lot of you have had the same experience that I have had, which is that, time after time after time, when I found myself in a situation where I didn’t know how I was gonna get out of it, when I didn’t know how I was gonna deal with the needs that I had, God moved. And he provided it in a way that I’d never have anticipated, I would never have expected, and yet he did. And what Jesus is basically saying is, “Hey, maybe you should stop being surprised.” If you’ve seen God provide over and over and over again, maybe you should start living in the trust that he loves to provide for those who seek him first. That’s what he’s saying.

Now, I think I should probably point out though that Jesus isn’t promising that, if you have faith, you’ll never have a need. Okay? That’s not what this is saying. I have heard people twist what Jesus says here to say something he never intended. I’ve heard people say in churches, “Hey, what Jesus is saying is, ‘As long as you have enough faith, you’ll never have any need in life.'” That’s not true. The Bible is filled with stories of people who had faith and they had need. And yes, the Bible is filled with heartwarming stories of how God ultimately met those needs, but sometimes there was a gap between recognizing the need and seeing God provide, partly so that you could recognize that it was God, in fact, who was providing. But it is possible to have faith and need. In fact, check this out, this is what Jesus says. He says, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I love that. Well, I don’t love it but I’m glad he said it.

I mean clearly, Jesus isn’t saying, “If you have enough faith, you’ll never have any trouble,” He just said, “Every day has some trouble.” Jesus isn’t promising, “If you have enough faith, you’ll never have a need,” but what he’s promising is that, “If you have a faith in a God who provides, you’ll never need to be weighed down by worry.” This is all about worry. Okay? This is all about living free from the weight of worry, about things that we have no control over but our Father does. This is all about being free of the weight of those things that we find ourselves fixated on, and then, that lead to fear pushing our faith out. And they lead to that anxiety and that unsettled, clenched up feeling. He says, “I don’t want you to live that way, I never intended you to live that way and you don’t have to live that way.”

What he says is basically…he says, “Focus on God today and you won’t be weighed down by worry about tomorrow.” That’s what Jesus is promising. Focus on God today and you will not be weighed down by worry about tomorrow. But how do we do that? How do we focus on God? And the answer is the same way that we deal with all these other things that he’s been talking about throughout this whole teaching. The way we focus on God is the same thing that we’ve seen as talking about dealing with money or with bad bosses and now with worry. It’s all about generosity. Generosity is the one thing that ties this whole thing together. I mean generosity sets us free from the weight of money, right? Generosity is what allows us to have treasure but not to trust in it.

Apostle Paul writing to a pastor he was mentoring said…he said, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant or to put their hope in wealth which is so uncertain but to put their hope in God.” Just putting your hope in God sound a little bit like seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. Yeah, because it’s the same thing. He says, “But to put their hope in God who richly provides, who richly cares for all of us, who gives us everything for our enjoyment.” He says, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” He says, “In this way, they’ll lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.” Does that sound a little bit like seeking first the kingdom? Yeah, it’s generosity. Generosity keeps us free from the weight of money. But generosity, he also taught us, generosity sets us free from the weight of bad bosses, the weight of giving our loyalty to things that only add to our load. What did Jesus say? He said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you’ll hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. But you cannot serve two masters,” he says.

And the reality is that we end up giving our loyalty to whatever it is that we’re focused the most on. Right? Whatever we’re focused the most on, whatever we’re fixated on, that’s where our loyalty ultimately goes. And what is worry but a focus? So he said, “Generosity is what keeps us free from bad bosses,” and now he says, “Generosity also sets us free from the weight of worry.” Generosity sets us free from the weight of worry.

Why? Why is generosity so important to Jesus? Why does it sit underneath this entire teaching of how to travel light? Because here’s the thing about generosity. The more generously we give what we have, the less what we have has a hold on us. Does that make sense, church? It’s what Jesus says throughout this teaching. He says, “You gotta get free from these things that have a hold of you,” and the best way to do that is generosity. He says, “Generosity, the more generously we give what we have, the less what we have has a hold on us.”

So, let me ask you a couple questions as we wrap up this series. Question number one, where is there an abundance in my life? Where do you have the resources to be generous? You can think in terms of time, talent, treasure. But where do you have an abundance in your life? Where do you have more than you need? Because what we need to ask ourselves is, “What’s the more for?” What’s the purpose of having more? And, the answer, according to the Bible, is, so that we can be a blessing to others. Time, talent, treasure, God gives us more for the purpose of being a blessing to others. So, where do you have an abundance in your life?

And by the way, I think this is really important, when you think about abundance, you need to think about abundance from a biblical perspective. And what the Word of God tells us that abundance is, is that, “Abundance is having more than we needed today.” Not more than we worry we might need tomorrow. You with me? See, a lot times we define abundance only by our sense of, “Well, I think tomorrow I might need this much and I’m worried that I might need a little bit more than that so I’m just gonna…” And then, honestly, when we think that way, we will never recognize the abundance we have. We’ll never recognize the excess that we have with which to be generous.

Like, I’m gonna be honest with you, last week was a terrible week for me financially. Can I just tell you that? I would never have anticipated last week. My youngest daughter was in just a very, very minor fender-bender but the insurance company decided, “Yeah, the car’s totaled.” So we had to go car shopping. Found out I have a plumbing issue. I knew I had a plumbing issue, I’ve done a little kind of fixes along the way, but we finally went, “You know, there’s something really wrong going on here,” and we brought some guys in. They did a bunch of stuff, I really trusted them, and I really think they were giving us a straight scoop, but the straight scoop was basically $10,000 worth of plumbing repair. I know. Same week that I’m shopping for a car.

And my oldest daughter, so proud of her, she’s adulting and she’s actually buying a condo. And she actually asked us a while ago, “Hey, do you wanna like go in a little bit on? I’m gonna buy something that I can sort of fix and, ultimately, flip and raise the value, and so, it could be a little bit of an investment? So, do you want to…?” I mean she’s got almost all of it but she thought, you know, a few thousand here or there. And we’re really, “That’d be awesome.” See, as we committed to that, she’s closing on it soon. So like she needs that, and our plumbing needs that, and the car needs that. I’m like, “holy cow.” Listen, if I had known what last week was gonna look like and you back up a few more weeks when I was thinking about practicing generosity, I might very well have gone, “I don’t think I’m gonna have enough to be generous right now.”

See, listen, we cannot define abundance by what we worry we might need tomorrow. We have to talk more about what we have today. And the reality is, the last time that I got paid, I recognized, “Yeah, I have an abundance.” Yeah, I didn’t know about all that coming up, but it’s okay, and I’m glad I didn’t because I wouldn’t have practiced generosity, at least that would’ve been more of a struggle. And therefore, that stuff would’ve had more of a hold on me and I don’t wanna live that way. So where do you have an abundance in your life defined by having more than you need today, not more than you worry you might need tomorrow?

Second question is this, where am I allowing a fear of scarcity tomorrow to crowd out an opportunity for generosity today. See, where am I allowing a fear that, “Hey, I might not have enough of time or talent or treasure in some situation that might be coming up. Where am I allowing that for your scarcity tomorrow keep me from seizing an opportunity to live generously today?” Because today is what matters. How we live today determines how much we’ll be weighed down by worry about tomorrow.

This is why we say this at Mission Hills, we say, “Giving first honors God. Saving second practices wisdom, living on the rest builds contentment.” Giving first honors God, we don’t honor God, we don’t live generously by honoring God out of the leftovers, and certainly not by out of what we think might be left over once we’ve accounted for all the things we can anticipate could possibly happen tomorrow. I know there’s a bunch of stuff we didn’t know was gonna happen and we probably wouldn’t know, so maybe we would just hold on to this. No, you don’t do that way. And if you do, what happens is you’re gonna live a whole lot more weighed down than God ever intended you to. So giving first honors God, saving second then practices wisdom, and living on the rest builds contentment. I’m really glad in our family that we’ve followed that principle for a long time. I’m glad that we’ve given first but I’m also glad that we’ve saved second. Because last week was a bad week but I don’t have to go into debt. It hurt, I’m not happy about it, but I’m also not destroyed by it because we’ve been giving first, saving second, and living on the rest.

So, where is there an opportunity for generosity today that would allow you to practice that? And that just leads me to the third question, “What’s my next step of generosity?” What’s your next step of generosity? Why so much talk about generosity? Because the only way to travel light is to live generously. That’s what Jesus is teaching us. This whole section boils down to that truth. The only way to travel light is to live generously, with our time, or talent, I treasure, all of it. The only way to travel light is to live generously.

In a moment, I’m gonna pray, and then, we’re gonna take an offering. You’re supposed to laugh. You’re like, “Oh no, I knew it was coming,” I mean, it’s not. No, we’re not taking another offering because, as I’ve said throughout this, this is not about getting more out of you for the church, this is about what’s gonna be good for you. Jesus teaches this because it’s good for us.

I mean, think about this, this is crazy. Right? You cannot outgenerous God, right? God loves you so much, he sent his own Son to die for you. He paid for your sin, every wrong you’ve ever done, he did it in his blood. And then, God raised Jesus from the dead, those are facts of history. The grave’s empty. And then, he offers you salvation simply by faith, just by saying yes to a relationship with Jesus, by just trusting in Jesus you get saved and you spend eternity with God in joy and peace. Like you cannot possibly outgenerous God. And this incredibly generous God calls us to be generous, and it’s ultimately for our good. It’s so that we can travel light so we can not be weighed down by the burdens that he never meant us to bear. Like how crazy is that? You can’t even begin to match God’s generosity and his call for us to be generous is ultimately for our good. So no, we’re not taking an offering. This is for your good. The only way to travel light is to live generously. Let’s pray.

God, thank you. It’s humbling to recognize your generosity to us. And then, on top of that, you add this truth that, when you call us to be generous, it’s also for our good. Like how good can you get, God? Lord, we ask for your forgiveness for the ways that we sometimes hoard and hold on to, and especially when that’s driven by a fear that you can’t be trusted or a fear that, you know, if we don’t hold on that we’ll find ourselves hurting and lost. This is not true. You’re too good a Father. And so, we ask you’re your forgiveness as your people and we ask that you would help us to replace our worry with faith, with the focus on your goodness, or teach us to travel light by living generously.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, would you just do something for me? It’s so important. Would you just start praying for the people around you? Would you start praying for all the people who are watching online, joining us from around the world this weekend? Because I believe, I believe there’s some people that are hearing this. And you’ve heard something for the first time today, you’ve heard about God being generous. Maybe you had a picture of God before today that, you know, God was a demanding God. Maybe for the first time the light bulb went on and you’re seeing God in a new light, that he’s generous. So generous he sent his own Son to pay for your sin, to remove your guilt and shame, and that you can receive that gift simply by trusting what Jesus did, by saying yes to a relationship with him.

Maybe for the first time you’re seeing God for who he really is, as is the ultimate example of generosity. And if you’ve never experienced that generosity, if you’ve never experienced the freedom that comes from forgiveness for your sins, an adoption of the family of God and a new life with God that begins now and goes on forever, if you’ve never experienced that, you can have it right here right now. You don’t need to worry about any of this talk about being generous today if you’ve never experienced that. All you need to worry about is receiving God’s generosity because that’s what he wants for you today. And if you’ve never said yes to a relationship with Jesus and experienced his generous love, here’s how you do it, you’re just gonna say this in your heart. You’re gonna have this conversation with God, you’re gonna say:

God, thank you for loving me so generously. I know I’ve done wrong and I don’t deserve your love, but thank you for loving me so generously. Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross to pay for all the wrong I’ve done. I believe you rose from the dead. I do, I believe that. And I understand for the first time that you’re offering me everything simply by faith, by choosing to put my trust in you, by saying yes to a relationship with you I’m ready to do that. Jesus, I’m saying yes. I’m putting my trust in you, I’m gonna follow you. Come into my life, I’m yours, for now and forever. Amen.

Are you Human?:*