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2021 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - Handle with Care

Levi Lusko - Handle with Care

Levi Lusko - Handle with Care
TOPICS: Lucky In Love, Relationship, Marriage

But if you have a Bible, join me in Genesis chapter 24. We are in a relationship series through the week of St. Patrick's Day. We began at Valentine's Day we call Lucky In Love. And we're taking some time to go through a love story in scripture that is so beautiful and learned so much along the way about our relationships as well. We pointed out last week that Genesis 24, which we'll jump back in in verse 9 in just a moment, is the longest chapter in the book of Genesis, and is the second longest narrative in the whole book of Genesis, and is one of the longest and continual stories, really, in all of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. And there's a lot of crazy stories in the first five books of the Bible.

So the fact that God would single in on, hone in on, this story that really amounts to a love story between a man and a woman just shows us how much God cares about our relationships. The Bible opens with a wedding. Jesus's first miracle took place at a wedding. The Bible closes with a wedding. So all along the way, we are left with this inescapable reality. Marriage is something that is good, that's from God, that he cares about, and our relationships that can cause us pain, pleasure, and can be a blessing to us. They matter to God. The title of my message this week is Handle With Care. Handle With Care. That's something we see printed on packages. It's one of the top two things you'll see printed on a package if the package is fragile. That's Italian. Fragile. Handle With Care.

I put it on my Instagram earlier this week. Tell me your top horror, delivery stories. I thought I was going to get a lot of stories about packages that had been treated by Ace Ventura, kicked through the hallway, and treated badly and mangled. And it was so funny because I put that out there thinking I was going to get a lot of broken package stories. But I got everything except for what I was thinking I was going to get. I got one person who wrote, "Are you talking about food or birth"? Delivery horror story. She said "Food or birth"? I was, like, "Neither, actually, but I want to, now, I want, my interest is piqued. I want to know your horror delivery and your horror food story for birth". But then I got some other ones, actually, quite a few came in from people who had bought things and it just malfunctioned. Someone bought liquid laundry soap and it came open and everywhere. All right. I don't know that I would buy liquid laundry soap on the internet. Tons and tons and tons and tons of stories came in from people who had COVID related delays. They bought stuff, and one person said they paid a ton of money for First Class shipping, and that was the day before lockdown started.

So it came eight months later. A lot of people, quite a few people, got stuff delayed in their most recent ice storm. Texas, Midwest, I'm on that list . I've been buying some meals that come already ready to microwave or put in the oven. And they come on dry ice and you have to get them the fridge, of course, right away due to the thing, wherever it was messed up in the Midwest, these things came five days late, and not going to be eaten by me because they were warm. So lots of those stories. I got someone who, actually, quite a few people had bad experiences with robberies. Someone said they delivered pizzas for Domino's, and they got robbed at the door when they were delivering a pizza. Another person says, and I quote, "I got robbed at knifepoint by a meth addict while making a delivery". That's a problem.

And then my personal favorite, and not at all the kind of story I was looking for, was the person who said, "I was a pizza delivery person. The pizza delivery was to a hotel room. The man answered the door in a towel. And when I handed him the pizza, the towel dropped to the floor". Yeah, that is, in every sense of the word, a delivery horror story. Everyone say handle with care. Put it in the chat, handle with care. The Bible says in the book of Proverbs chapter 4, this is one of the most important, in my opinion, verses in scripture on relationships, in general, and how important they are. It says, "Keep your heart". One translucence says, "Guard your heart with all diligence. For out of it spring the issues of life".

Listen to me carefully. What happens in your love life will impact all of your life. You can't outlive bad relationship choices. So we must, the scripture is telling us, handle with care. We're living in a day when relationships are kind of just blase and taken lightly. Romantic relationships, oh, end up hooking up with someone on Tinder or here and this friend group. And, yeah, I hang out with them, but it's not really a big deal. Yeah, we might be hanging out here, but it's not really that big of a deal. It's not going to end up in anything. I wouldn't marry this person. I wouldn't even really be this person's girlfriend or boyfriend. We're just kind of hanging out. Code for usually hooking up. We're treating it casual. It's no big deal. Oh, that? It's no big deal. This person I slept with, it's not that big of a deal. And the Bible wants you to know, God wants you to know, even when it comes to just close friendships in your life that when your heart gets involved and it's involved in relationships, it's going to impact your life.

So the scripture says handle with care. Your soul is fragile. Your heart is fragile. Be careful who you let into your life. It is going to impact your life. And we see some principles that can help us handle our relationships with care. Here in Genesis 24, and if you have your Bible, I'm going to read to you starting in verse 9 a section that's kind of long but, like I said, everything in Genesis 24 is long, and it's full of detail, and it's beautiful. Verse 9, "So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham, his master". Everyone say handle with care. "And swore to him concerning this matter. Then the servant took 10 of his master's camels and departed". If you made me touch your thigh, I'd probably take camels and ride off too, yo. "For all his master's goods were in his hand".

In more senses of the word then. "And he rose," I apologize for nothing, "and he went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor, and he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. Then he said, 'Oh Lord God of my master Abraham. Please give me success this day and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Behold here I stand by the well of water and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now, let it be that the young woman to whom I say, please let down your pitcher that I may drink.' And she says, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.' Let her be the one you have appointed for your servant, Isaac. And by this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.' And it happened before he had finished speaking that behold, Rebecca," now we finally meet this girl that Isaac's going to marry.

"Rebecca, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. Now, the young woman was very beautiful to behold. A virgin, no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her and said, 'Please, let me drink a little water from your pitcher.' So she said, 'Drink, my Lord.' Then, she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand and gave him a drink. And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, 'I will draw water for your camels also until they have finished drinking.' Then, she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. And the man, wondering at her, remains silent as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. So it was when the camels had finished drinking that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel and two bracelets for her wrist weighing 10 shekels of gold, and said, 'Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please. Is there room in your father's house for us to lodge?' So she said to him, 'I'm the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah's son,' whom she bore to Nahor.' Moreover she said to him, 'We have both straw and feed enough and room to lodge. Then the man bowed down his head and worshipped the Lord. And he said, 'Blessed be the God, the Lord God of my master, Abraham, who has not forsaken his mercy and his truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren'".

Now, in the intervening verses, he and his whole entourage roll over to her house, is met by her super, shady brother who is just like a stereotype pulled from central casting who, the moment he sees the gold and the jewelry in this girl, realizes it came from them. And, all of a sudden, he's rolling out the greasy, red carpet and super excited to have them over, and real smarmy. And they all sit down. And the servant goes through the whole story, where he's from, shows him his identification, shows him his credentials, tells them all about the mission and his prayer and Rebecca giving water to him and also to the animals, and why he's there, and basically this whole thing rolls out. And then we will pick that story up in just a quick minute. But, first, let's try and come to some conclusions about what's happening here. And we'll do so with this method. We'll ask three questions. And the first question is what was in the servants' hand? What was in his hand? And the answer is, of course, his master's thigh.

As we begin, I promised you last week, if you were here, that I would explain what's going on here. So at face value, it's his master's thigh. The Bible says Abraham said, please grab my thigh as you make this promise. Now of course culturally, we have no frame of reference for anything like this. We would say the closest equivalent we could come to would be if you were in a court of law, we place your right hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth. That would be like the most solemn kind of oath, or basically some form of handshake agreement. Of course, pre-COVID. You can't do that now. But the handshake, or here's my word. Or I was talking with our college students, and one of them said, the pinky promise. And I was like, yeah, I think it's a little firmer than that, the pinky promise. But basically, him grabbing the thigh, many commentaries say the thigh was the strongest muscle in your body. They don't know about the tongue. The tongue is the muscle that can move mountains. But the thigh, that's where all your strength comes from.

So in that day, they say that grabbing the thigh would be a way of saying this is out of your strength. Promise me from the strength of your life that you'll keep this oath, just showing how urgent, how important, how solemn the promise was to Abraham. But other commentaries kind of dance around what is an uncomfortable reality. And that is the fact that the Hebrew word doesn't always get translated thigh. Sometimes this word can actually just be translated loins. Now this is going to get real awkward real quick, but let me actually spill the beans here and tell you what I think that the servant was actually holding in his hand, and that is he was holding Abraham's legacy. He was holding Abraham's legacy. Abraham, in having the servant touch whatever he touched on that day, it was a way, in that culture, at that moment, for Abraham, who, by the way, is nearing the end of his life.

And in fact, his last words recorded in Scripture are, do not take my son Isaac back to the land that I left. The final words of one of the most significant figures in all of the Bible, the one who we are told that if we believe in Jesus, we become, essentially, children, sons by faith of Abraham, this figure who looms so large in the Bible, his final words highlighting the significance of the Covenant God gave him being passed on to the next generation so that we today could be sons and daughters of Abraham, stars in the sky, sand on the seashore, one of the innumerable company of those who have come to God by faith, not earning our own righteousness, which we could never do if we had 1,000 lifetimes, but instead believing God's promise is fulfilled ultimately in Jesus Christ, his son who died on the cross for our sins, who rose from the grave on the third day and is willing to save anybody who comes to him putting their faith in him, that this covenant being passed on, that this not dying with Abraham, that the dying words of Abraham, who is old and advanced in age, is make sure my only son Isaac, the son of promise, the son that my wife laughed at the idea of us even having a child, but she came home from the hospital holding in her arms what she at one point in her life laughed at.

And I just want to speak into your life that what seems impossible to you, what you would laugh if I said this could happen to you, if I said you could one day be happily married, or God could use you to change the world in some incredible way, or you could start a business, you might laugh at it today. But I'm just daring you to believe there's going to come a day when you're going to hold in your arms coming home from the hospital what at one point you laughed at. And Abraham and Sarah did have this baby, and it was so important that like they came out of the land that they were originally from and went into a land of mystery, into a land of unknown, into a land by faith and dwell as strangers, that they had for their son a woman who similarly had that in her DNA, that she came out of that land and was willing to do so. And that's what Abraham said. Find a woman for my son who's willing to leave where she's from and come out and blazed a trail into the wild blue yonder, a new spiritual story.

So that was his dying wish. And he wanted the servant who had in his hand all that Abraham possessed, and Abraham was very wealthy. You get the sense of that when you see the bridal gift. If you read the part of the story we won't have time to go through, the bridal gift that he gave to Laban, the shady brother, character, to Rebecca. It was massive, which showed that Abraham was truly blessed in all things, not just spiritually and emotionally and relationally. But also, he thrived and prospered financially as well. And he was safe to bless because he knew he was blessed to be a blessing, and he lived this beautiful, generous story. So Abraham wanted the servant to understand what he was holding in his hand when he grabbed his thigh was legacy. He wanted him to understand, you're holding the most important thing to me in taking my son, picking a bride for my son. More important than any of my money, more important than any of my treasure, my son's spiritual well-being, and him being married to a godly woman who lives a life of faith and a bigger story than just this world, just this hotel room stay, we said last week, but the bigger story of eternity, of this infinite game that God wants us all to see life as.

This is what's in your hand. And the servant understood that. And you see the trepidation, you see the sense of holy awe as he approaches this relationship choice that he has been given the stewardship to make, that he knew that legacy was in his hand. And that's what I want you and I to walk away from this. Not that you would touch thighs. In fact, I think that the less thigh-touching is involved in your dating, the better, in fact, quite frankly. But I would say this. I would say that as you approach dating, as you approach who you're going to marry, who you're going to be romantically involved with, and even the friends that you keep in this world, the people you are allowing to speak into your life, that you have in your hand the awareness that your legacy is in your hand, what God is going to do through you, and what God is going to do through your family for generations, that the right choice of who you marry, that the right selection of who you're going to be with is going to very much have an impact on your grandchildren and your great grandchildren and what they're handed by way of a story of faith that God wants to do through you.

But if you end up with the wrong people, you'll start making the wrong choices, and it'll quench your spiritual zeal, and it will only ripple out for evil and not for good. It will only stop the things that God wants to do through your family, as he is faithful to 1,000 generations. So all I'm trying to get you to see is that there's so much more going on. There's so much more at stake than just this right here in the moment, and what's happening on Friday night, and what you're doing when you're hanging out with your friends, and these things, that it's so tempting to live only here. You're 17 years old, but I dare you to start thinking about and dreaming about what God's going to begin through you that's going to continue on long after you're gone. Legacy, legacy. I'm telling you to think follow through in all you do, to have in your mind something bigger.

The Bible says that God is faithful to 1,000 generations. And what if you and your wife, or you and your husband, and the godly dynamics to your relationship, and the passionate love, and the way you will fight for each other and fight for honor and remain faithful till death do you part can inspire your great grandchildren, who are going to be surrounded, no doubt, just like you and I are, by a relational marriage climate that's in chaos, that's tattered, where divorce is the norm, and people abandoning even the idea of relationships. And yet we can see examples rising up, where there are kids raised in a home with a mom and a dad who love each other and love God, and do so imperfectly but faithfully, and what a difference that can make, not only on the cities that we live in, but this whole country and the world. And that is meant to be a bright light for the kingdom.

Why does the devil attack marriage so violently? Because he knows that the marriage, the marriage is meant to be one of the most powerful forces for evangelism in the world, and that God intends for that marriage that is thriving and rocking and cranking, and full of struggles and full of setbacks, absolutely, but continuing on, for that to be one of the beacons of evangelistic light in this world, a for sure component of the salt and light, the preserving influence on society. And so hold in your hand the awareness of legacy. Much more important than money. Much more important than just what friends are doing and what seems good on social media. What was in his hand? Say it with me. Legacy. Second question. We've got three questions.

The second question is what was in her hand? What was in her hand, Rebecca's hand? Now of course, just like we know in the servant's hand was a thigh and a bunch of money, no, no, he was holding legacy, in Rebecca's hand, we could answer, just from the human perspective and say, a pitcher. The text actually says that she came to give water. She let a pitcher down from her shoulder. So she had in her hand a pitcher. But what I think she actually was holding was greatness. Greatness, because she, in watering the camels and watering the servant and all of those who came with him riding the camels, we don't hear much about his friends, but obviously he didn't just come with 10 camels. He had a whole crew that he was rolling with as well. She came to him, and as he had prayed, she had this willing spirit that she would give water to the camels.

Now he sort of set this whole thing up kind of on purpose, it would seem, knowing that at this time of the day, the women, which, in that part of the world, both then and to this day, it is often the job of the young women in the community to bring water, which, by the way, touches our hearts so much to be linked up with Charity Water, knowing we're making such an impact specifically on young women who it falls to them this horrible, dark task all around the world, to this day, of lugging gallons and gallons of water from wells back to the village, traveling miles at times just to bring any water at all for drinking or for washing clothes, or any water that exists at all, which is why we, as a church, are so thrilled and honored and humbled to be linked up with Charity Water. And just what we got to see just a moment ago, the fact that we just got to finish five well projects in Cambodia that will alter the lives of 174,000 people. And for us, we're like, when do we start the next one?

And I love, as a church, that every time $1.00 comes in, every time somebody watching this on television or a podcast says, I'm not just going to receive from this, but give back to this ministry, that God, through this ministry, like the funds that Abraham was trusted with, we get to be blessed, to be a blessing, and that we don't just get to make a difference by preaching God's word, but we actually get to meet needs of people like this young woman who was bringing water from a well. But the prayer of the servant was, God, when I go to this well, where all the young women are going to be, I'm going to ask one of them for a drink. And it would have been absolutely unthinkable for any of these girls to not offer water when he asked for it because the dictates of Middle Eastern hospitality just would have absolutely, you would have had to. They would have just been a pariah to not give a little bit of water as he asked for it. But it would have been very abnormal, when he asked for a water, and they gave it to him, for them to suggest from their own compunction that they would feel like, I need to also offer water to your 10 camels.

Now Libby and I were looking at the Bible this week, and we were reading it. And I said I said, how much do you think a camel can drink? And she said, I don't know, go on National Geographic website and I bet we could find out. So we got to Googling, which is where almost all of my Bible studies lead to at some point, I already told you I went to Instagram for this one. Didn't turn out so good. Just got naked pizza stories. So here we are on Google, on National Geo website. And I find this article, and it says the average camel can drink about 20 gallons of water in 13 minutes if parched. And we know these camels were parched because they had just traveled 450 miles from Canaan to Mesopotamia. And we're told that she, seeing this crew, 10 camel deep, that's a lot of camels. Anything over three camels is bunch of camels. When the servant says, can I have a drink of water, she looks up and goes, oh, you have 10 camels. I'll give you water for all of your camels. So she gives him a drink from her pitcher, gives all the others that are with him a drink from her pitcher.

And then, based on her own just free will, she says, I want to water the camels. So she pours whatever water is remaining into a trough, and then it says she ran back to the well. How long would it take, how buff was this girl, what was in her hand? In my opinion, greatness, because the text actually says she gave water until all the camels had had their fill. How tired would you be getting 200 gallons of water? Who needs Crossfit? You don't need no Peloton. You see what I'm saying? She's just giving water to these camels. And the text says, the servant was stupefied. He just sat there wondering at her. Why? Because he was witnessing an answer to prayer. He didn't just want to get a girl for his master's son. He wanted someone who had on the inside of them greatness. And listen to me carefully. There is nothing that shows true greatness more than having a servant's heart.

That's what Jesus said when two of his disciples got the wrong idea of what it meant like to follow Him, and they thought that greatness following Jesus must mean having authority, and getting to tell people what to do, and receiving glory for it. And so they sent their mom,you already know it's gone wrong, when they sent they sent their mom. They talk about helicopter parenting here. We're living in a day when more and more, parents, for whatever reason, are just wanting to be in on the Zoom call when their child has a job interview, and just not understanding just that these kids need to make decisions for themselves and develop the grit that comes from at times failing and having to learn the hard way from those lessons. And so these two disciples, they sent their mom in. And James and John's their names. And Mom comes to Jesus and says, hey, can my boys sit at your right hand and at your left hand in the kingdom? And Jesus is like, that's not how that works, just FYI. And then he goes to the rest of the disciples and addresses this.

And the text says when the rest of the 10 heard it, they were displeased at James and John. Yeah, I bet they were. But then Jesus used the occasion to launch into a teaching moment about the true nature of greatness in the kingdom. And what he wanted them, and what we all need to understand as well, is that it's upside down from how it works in this world. He said, you know how it works in the Roman Empire. Whoever's in charge is the one who gets to tell the most people what to do and receives the most adulation and receives the most glory for that position. But that's not greatness in the kingdom. He said, in Verse 43 of Mark Chapter 10, who ever desires to become great among you shall be your servant, for even the son of man, i.e. The most great person who ever lived in the history of the world, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. What are we receiving here? We are receiving, from Jesus and from the servant and from Rebecca's example, some of the greatest relationship advice you'll ever receive.

And that is if you want to succeed and thrive in relationships, be a servant. If you want to improve your marriage today, write down this goal, to be more of a servant to my wife. To be more of a servant to my husband. To serve in the home, to serve this person, to seek to unlock their greatness and not try and flex my muscles and get them to do what I want, but to want to serve them. What do you want to do? What are you missing out on? How can I make you better? Someone said that the definition of a wonderful marriage is two people trying to out serve each other, that there's that mentality of I want to serve you. I want to enhance your life. I'm not just trying to take. I'm trying to I'm trying to give. That's some of the best sex advice you will ever receive. Seek to serve your husband. Seek to serve your wife sexually. Jesus said is more blessed to give than to receive. There's far greater pleasure that comes from seeking to give than trying to get. It's the upside down kingdom.

And as you seek to bless your spouse, as you seek to serve them, you'll enhance your life in the process. And as you're seeking to choose who you're going to marry, try and find someone, the servant knew who is a servant. This would be someone who's going to be a phenomenal life partner with, to live alongside someone who has the heart of a servant, who notices, oh, you're not just thirsty. Your camels are thirsty. I want to take care of them. She just had this kind of spirit, like, I want to take care of your camels. It was just that mentality. She saw a problem and instantly wanted to fix it. That's amazing to me. What was in his hand? Legacy. What was in her hand? Greatness. And what did he put into her hand is our third question. What did the servant put into her hand? And of course you're like, well, he put a nose ring, and he put bracelets. No, no, no. Here's what I think he put into her hand, honor. He put honor into her hand. And that's what one always does in the presence of greatness. One realizes I'm to honor you.

Now the Bible talks about honor a lot. It's all over the scripture. Honor really just speaks of wight. If you want to understand what honor is, it's believing someone's weighty, ascribing weight or worth to someone. And the reason that definition of that word came into being as it did was because there was a day when the heavier a coin was, the greater worth it was believed to have because it was a greater valuable metal. So if it's a heavier coin, it was worth more. So if something was weighty, it was worth more. It's how you get fooled at a white elephant gift exchange when you pick the heavy one up, and you're like, oh, this one must be really valuable. And they know that, and that's why it's probably going to be one of the worst ones. They're tricking you, people. But this idea of weight and worth. And really what we're talking about when we talk about honoring is we're ascribing worth. We're ascribing worth to people. Were ascribing worth to situations. And when we honor someone, we're saying you're heavy, thus valuable. Thus you're to be treated as the value I recognize you have inside of you.

Now we at Fresh Life, we like to say that here, we're an uprising of honor in a world that has lost this virtue, in a world that just wants to cancel people and tear down people and criticize people, and just is so full of a venom towards one another. We want to show honor up, honor down, honor all around because that's what the Bible commands. Everything about the life of a believer in a world that lacks it. Even the basic levels of respect have gone out the window. But we are to be an uprising of honor. And this is to start with God because none has more value than Him. So that's the reason we worship God and we worship no one, else because there's no greater value, there's no greater heaviness, there's no greater worth than God. And that's why the Bible says that when we experience God's glory, we experience His heaviness. There's a heaviness to God's glory. When we worship him, a lot of times what you feel is you feel that heaviness. You've felt it singing praise songs to God. There's this heaviness that's a comforting heaviness. And you know what a wonderful thing that is, is that's instead of the heaviness of fear and the heaviness of dread that will come.

So when we honor God, the gift, when we say he's the heaviest, we receive the heaviness of His glory in our lives, and our lives take on a whole new weight. But our honor isn't to stop with God. It's just to begin with Him, and we're then to express honor to everyone who's been made in His image. The Bible says that every single person has the image of God or has been made with his divine stamp on the inside of them. That means that there's no person who's worthless. There's no person who's a throwaway. There's no person who doesn't matter. Every single person. That's why we believe in life. We believe that the moment God brings life into a womb, there's value. That's not to be taken lightly. That's not to be taken flippantly. We're to believe that that's a significant choice we're making when it comes to the baby, no matter how the conception happened. I know my wife and I, we planned to wait five years when we got married before we had children. And we got pregnant really rapidly.

And I remember we were just a few months into our marriage, and my wife called me one day on my old school flip phone. And she said to me, she said, Levi, I'm pregnant. And I almost drove off the road. You know, I was like, what the heck? I was so confused and surprised and stunned by the news. And I kind of assumed the pregnancy test was wrong, so booked us a time to go in to see our doctor. And he did a pregnancy test that I was convinced was going to be better than the one we got at Walgreen's, and so he would tell us this was all a mistake, and we were going to get our five years of getting to travel, and do whatever we wanted, and have no responsibility, and be young. And we were in our early 20s. And so this was just definitely not what we intended. And I think he could tell. And we were like, I don't know. This is crazy.

And he came back in, guy in a mustache, glasses, they were kind of on the tip of his nose, and clipboard, he comes in the room. I'll never forget. He says, Mr. and Mrs. Lusko, you are indeed pregnant. And we were like, whoa. Mind blown. And he goes, so what do you want to do about it? What do you want to do about it? And I was like, I don't know, man. I think we probably should get a crib. I thought you would tell us. Diapers, I assume. Figure out a name. I don't know if this is going to work. We have this tiny apartment. And then I realized at that moment that he wasn't asking me about my plan for being a parent. He was, in fact, offering to get us an abortion, to take care of this, in his mind, problem. What do you want to do about it? And I said, well, I don't want you to do anything about the pregnancy. And he goes, you mean you want to keep it? And I assume he doesn't have very many, at that point in my life, I assumed he hadn't had very many young parents in there who found out they were pregnant and then just automatically didn't, as their first reaction, want to terminate the pregnancy. And so he goes, he takes his glasses off, you want to keep it? It.

Now he's talking just, so we're clear, about my 15-year-old daughter, who brings joy into our life every day, Olivia Sky Lusko. And for the record, we did want to keep it. The way he said it was so cavalier and so nonchalant, like he was taking plates away from a table at a restaurant. Do you want to keep it? It would have been so easy to go, no, no, no. Go ahead, take it away. But we said, yes, we do want to keep it. He kind of took a step back and looked at us for the first time that day, and said, you know what? I think you two are going to be terrific parents. And I just thought, the bar must be really low, because two minutes ago, it was like, do we want to kill this child that's in Jennie's womb. And now we're just mother and father of the year simply by accepting the fact that there was a life inside, planned by us or not, that God had knit together within Jennie's womb. And we, though we were inconvenienced, certainly, from our scheduling standpoint, what did we do? We trembled knowing that there was someone coming into this world made in the image of God, therefore worthy of honor.

All life, every person, your color of skin or not, where you live or not, how you think or not, how you vote or not, is worthy of honor. Their sexual orientation. We are to honor people regardless of whether or not we agree with their choices. The Bible says honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Obey the king. We are to start at honor. Honor was what he put into her hand because he knew starting out she was a child of the king. But especially as we begin to navigate the complex choices that we make within relationships in our lives, I think honor is one of the most important ingredients because not only did he honor her publicly in this moment, giving her jewelry, treating her like a princess, which is, by the way, what a child of the king is, so every person you've ever dated, every person you've ever hooked up with, every person you've ever slept with, every person you've ever downloaded pornography and lusted at their image, that's someone who's a child of the king, someone who's made by God, someone who has value and worth. And I love that he here is treating her, it really is beautiful because he is not going to be the one to marry her. He's treating her like someone else's wife.

And I think, until you're married, that's how every girl should be treated. And when you're married, that's how every other girl should be treated. Someone else's husband. Someone else's wife. So there's an honor and a deference and respect, and he's being careful with her. He's guarding her here, guarding her heart on behalf of another. All throughout our engagement, even, that was a mentality we had in our heart. I was still treating Jennie as someone else's wife and fighting to save that gift of sex, even though I was saving it for me until I was married, the enemy would want to put that in your head, like, oh, you're going to get married in two weeks. What does it matter? But to fight and to save. Until that moment comes, she's someone else's wife. I was fighting for future me, fighting for future her. And I think that is a beautiful example here of the way that he honors her. But then he honors her again when he goes to her home. And even though Laban's sleazy, and he is, and he'll pop up again and again in Genesis. This guy is like whack-a-mole. He's relentless, used car salesman on steroids. He still, the servant does, honors Laban for what he is, the man in her life until she's married to another.

And so what does he do? He goes and seeks his approval, and he talks to him about it. And he not only honored Rebecca, he gave gifts to Laban, representing the bridal gifts that would be given to the family as a way of entering into all the customs of the day. And cultures have changed and times different, but what is that God wants this spirit of honor to be in our hearts as we approach relationships. This mattered to me so much when Jennie and I's courtship, whatever you want to call it, we were dating. We were moving towards, I wanted to ask her permission to marry me. I want to ask, would she marry me? But first I wanted to ask her dad. And I think these what feel old traditions are so important because I was saying before, I become that covering and that protecting man in your life as your husband. I want to honor that you've had a father who has been that to you.

And you would say the kid, Levi, the guy I'm dating, the girl I'm dating, she doesn't have a dad. Well, then, go to her mom. Go to her aunt. Go to any respected person in her life and just honor whoever has been protecting her until you step in that place. I just guarantee you God will bless that. What would you want whoever is dating your daughter one day to do? What would you want the person dating your little sister to do? How would you want him to treat her? And treat that daughter of the king in that way. I'm just telling you, these things might feel, that is so old school. What do you want me to do, start sending telegrams as well? I'm just saying this stuff is amazing. And there's a reason God has put it into our hearts. And start to be the change in the culture that God wants for you to be. I thought I'd get at least a name for some girls up in here. But no, it's all right.

I think that we learn from these three things a lot of beautiful things. And how it worked out, if you look at Verse 54, we're going to jump back in here now. It all worked out pretty well because he and the men who were with him ate and drank stayed all night. Then they arose in the morning, and he said, send me away to my master. But her brother and her mother said, let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least 10, that she may go. And he said to them, the servant got direct here. Do not hinder me, since the Lord has prospered my way. Send me away so that I'm going to go to my master. So they said, well, we will call the young woman and ask her personally. Then they called Rebecca and said to her, will you go with this man? And she said, and I love this, I will go. We'll get to why exactly Laban tried to slow them down a little bit here, what exactly was going on and why the servant didn't tolerate it. But first let me just show you, as we approach our relationships with care, just as we begin to wind this town, four quick handles, four handles that we can have on our approach to relationships that will help us to care for them as we share.

The first is creativity. Creativity. I love that the servant was creative as he tried to figure out, is this girl a servant? You'll notice he didn't just go up to all the girls at the well and go, y'all, who's a servant here? Anybody here have a servant's heart? And they'd raise their hands, because anybody can say whatever they want to when they're filling out their eHarmony profile. Anybody can say whatever when they're filling out their Christian Mingle or their whatever. And I'm not knocking that. I know plenty of people who have met over the internet, and God uses those things. But I'm just saying anybody can say whatever they want about what's in their heart. But these actions that we live out over time, they really do betray it. And so the servant was creative to see and to witness and to find out if it was there. What did he do? He put a situation together that would allow him to find out.

If I ask for a water and you give my camels water, too, that's a servant's heart. I'm watching you without you knowing you're being studied. And I think that's one of the most powerful reasons why it's important for us to be creative and to be careful about how we see, how we watch for opportunities during the dating phase to see what's really going on inside this person's heart. Is there really a servant sphere? I think serving within the church, serving God within your city and ministry you're doing, I think that is a powerful way to watch. How do they handle difficult situations? How do they handle having a team lead on this group of online hosts, who here's when you're supposed to be. Or do they show up on time? What's their work ethic like? This girl had that not only servant heart, but just an amazing work ethic. And he was creative.

I think creativity must be employed in really figuring out what's going on. Listen, you can suck it in for a little while. But over time, the reality comes out. What's really there comes out. And you must not be in such a hurry, oh, we're going to get married. You just met two minutes ago. And you're like, well, this guy did this. All right. Well, this is Abraham. So I'm just telling you, in our day today, we need to give time, give space to allow there to be opportunities to see what God has really done in their heart before we rush into a relationship with this person. Creativity is also necessary in marriage, in relationship, being creative at how you express love, being creative in how you approach date nights and connecting together and growing in your love for each other, being creative in how you approach parenting and leading a home. Finding things that are fun to do with your family to really continue to grow in those friendships and relationships. Creativity is so important.

Secondly, I want to talk for a second about attraction. It's the second handle, because Verse 16 says Rebecca was very beautiful to behold. And that's important. Why is it there? Because it's true. And he thought she was attractive, and Isaac, we'll find out later, he thinks that she's attractive. And I don't want to belittle the importance of that. I think it's oftentimes, in the church, kind of just like, oh, it doesn't really matter. That's not really that important. Hey, FYI, it is important. If you're going to be married for the rest of your life, it would be not a terrible thing to like what you see. That's not bad. That's not a bad thing at all, chemistry and how you feel and that you like this person. But listen to me carefully. It's not the most important thing. So for him, the prerequisite was where she was from, that she's willing to come and go out of the place that she lived, that she was a servant. And then down the list is this idea she's beautiful as well.

Proverbs 31 says charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. But the woman to be admired and praised is a woman who lives in the fear of God. So as you're thinking through who you're going to date and who you're going to approach and who you want, think about in your head something deeper than just the superficial, something deeper than just money, something deeper than just their looks, that there's something on the inside in their soul. You think about the marriage vows, till death do us part, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer. Think about, as you're choosing who you're going to make this decision to live with your soul connected to, that it's going to be someone who it would be an honor to suffer with, someone who it would be a joy to go through life with if one of you, God forbid, ended up in a wheelchair or unemployed, or God forbid, the worst happened and someone in your home dies, and just to deal with the suffering, that it would be someone who it would be just as much of a joy to walk with in lean times as in the fat times. So attraction is important. It's just not the most important thing.

Then third hand, resolve. There needs to be resolve in relationships. And resolve to do what? To do God's will. To do God's will. The servant, he had asked permission. Laban gave consent. He said, I can't speak about this good or evil. It's clearly God's doing that you're here. This whole thing, everybody recognized there in that moment, this is happening. They gave permission, you can marry her. But then when the day came for them to leave, he goes, you can leave, just not yet. And he said, stay a couple of days, perhaps 10, which many commentaries suggest is actually a way, in that culture, of saying up to 10 months. We'll figure it out. We'll keep talking about it as time goes on. You can go, just not yet. And kind of hoping that instead, Isaac would be brought back there instead of her going to be with them. And the servant saw through this for what it was, an attempt to procrastinate and eventually talk him out of God's will, which is one of the devil's most successful strategies. He won't just try and tell you not to do what God called you to do. He'll tell you to do it tomorrow. He'll tell you you can do it later.

JC Ryle once said, and I love this quote, he said Satan doesn't care how spiritual your intentions are as long as they are determined to be done later because the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And many of us have been talked out of doing the things we're called to do one day at a time, one year at a time. So the servant here, he said, I'm not going to be deterred. We're going to go. You said we can go. The time to go is now. He said, do not hinder me. Send me away. So there was resolve. You see that in his heart because he knew what was at stake. And then secondly, I see in Rebecca that there was resolve. And there had been for some time, because Verse 16 says, though she was very beautiful to behold, she was a virgin. And the choice that she had made led her to being in a place where no man had known her. Now clearly in that day, just like in any day, it would be easy to have compromise for her. But she's come to this moment, and she not only has the servant's heart as a single girl, but she's also said, I want to get to my marriage, I want to get to my wedding, whoever that man is, whenever that day comes, and I want to have saved myself, to have waited to be intimate with anybody, and to go into marriage with this gift of me to give to him.

And I just love that she had that kind of resolve. I told you last week there needs to be a purposing in your heart, that you would choose to fight for, and especially when it's difficult, to choose God's best for your love life. And I realize even in saying this, there's a lot of tension because some of you hearing that, I wish I could do that. I already gave that away. And I think the church has overemphasized virginity as some sort of Holy Grail benchmark of your love for God. And we've under recognized what it looks like to honor God after you've made mistakes that you regret, or after you've been through hard things that you didn't have a say in, whether it was a sexual assault, or someone molested you when you were very young. And so this praising of virginity makes you feel like a second class citizen or damaged goods, or somehow lesser in God's eyes.

But what I've always tried to preach, and what I believe to the core of my being, is that God is honored by us when we realize we've made mistakes, when we realize that there's a regret, or when we realize that we wish the past can be different than it is, that we say from this day forward, I want to honor you. From this day forward, I want to fight for your plans. I want to fight for my future marriage. I want to say, God, I don't just believe you can create. I believe that you can recreate, and that I can get back up when I've fallen, and I can move forward from a painful memory and say that marriage isn't on the horizon right now, and I don't know this person. But I'm going to choose to fight for them from this day forward. And it's going to take resolve. It's going to take intentionality.

And as we move towards week five and week six, I just want to tell you even just where we're going to be going. We're going to be giving you a roadmap, especially those of you single in the church, single online, to take an oath and to commit to whatever that looks like for you, to honoring God with whatever years and days remain between now and when God calls you to that person. And we're going to be giving out to all of our church online family, and to everybody in the church, a little commitment card that you can keep and have as a token, as a reminder of something precious and special and powerful of this promise that you've made to honoring God's plans for your love life. And so we're going to be so excited to be doing that in the weeks to come. But let me end here, and the worship team will come and help us begin to close. I want to give your fourth and final handle, and that is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm. I see it all over the passage.

When I say enthusiasm, I mean passion. I see it in Verse 17, when the servant ran to meet her. I see it in Verse 18 when she said, drink, my Lord, and she quickly let down her pitcher. I see it in Verse 20 when she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, and then ran back to the well to draw more water and drew for all 10 stinking camels. I see it in her willingness in Verse 58, when they called her together and figured she would be afraid to in and say, yeah, 10 more days sounds great. And he said, are you willing? And she said three words, I am willing. There was a willingness to her, because what she was saying? She was saying, I'm willing to leave my family and all I've ever known and blaze a trail 450 miles away to be married to this man who I've never met. There was a willingness, there was a fight in her. There was something going on here. She sensed God's hand on this. She sensed that God was stirring, even though she didn't understand it yet, to move away from the idolatry of her people and to move into this life of following God. There was something inside her, this enthusiasm which is such an underappreciated, under recognized thing in our day, where I think meh has kind of become a cultural slogan. Eh. Eh. Just kind of apathetic and I don't know, and just halfhearted. And I'll just change the channels.

And if this convicts me, I'll just go over here, and I'm involved here for a while. But then I lost interest, and so doing that. And just sort of a tepidness where there needs to be fire. There's a halfheartedness where there needs to be diligence. And I love this servant who served with all of his heart. I love this young girl who unleashed the greatness that God had put inside of her. And she didn't do it halfheartedly. I love that there was an enthusiasm that they were giving God something to bless. And I think in our relationships, one of the greatest dangers to a relationship being weakened over time is through a gradual loss of enthusiasm. This is true of all relationships, but especially our relationship with God. Didn't Jesus tell the church at Ephesus that their biggest problem wasn't what they were doing? It was the fact that they didn't have as much love as they did at first. So what did he say? Do the things you did at the beginning.

You see, the reality is, Jesus was least recognized and least given honor where? In his own hometown. Isn't it possible that over years and over time in a marriage, over time in a relationship, you really can lose that tender loving feeling? You really can lose that honor that you gave at the beginning. And it can eventually devolve, and you can stop pursuing the person that you married. You can stop dating your mate. You can stop given the earnestness, the wholeheartedness, the enthusiasm. I love that word enthusiasm because at its core is theos, the word for God in the Greek language. That's where we get enthusiasm. In theos, or the God within, God inside, or possessed by God. It's a way of saying, when you talk to someone who's fired up-p- you know what I'm talking about, when there's just a brightness in the eyes, when they're so excited you almost get swept up in their passion. You don't even care about what they're talking about. I'm excited just because you are.

Like that great old preacher story of the atheist who watched John Wesley preach, and his friends said, why are you going to watch him preach? You don't believe what he's preaching. And he said, yeah, but he does. He does. And I like to listen to him because I can tell he believes what he's saying. And I think that there needs to be more enthusiasm, that we get gripped by God. So where does that come from? It comes from willingness for God to fill you, willingness for God to invade you, willingness for God to meet with you as you seek him on your own in Scripture. As you get before him in prayer, as you take walks with him alone and the cool of the day, in the heat of the day, or whatever kind of day you're having, just walking with God, growing, not getting tired, not getting bored, not graduating past the basics. Just seeking God and knowing him and loving him and wanting to show that love to others, and wanting to serve people that are around you. Being creative in how to grow, and not become stagnant and lukewarm in your marriage or in your relationship or your friendships, or in serving in your church, making a difference.

I told you at the beginning that there are two things that are common written on packages that are fragile. One, of course, is, as we said, it's our title, handle with care. The other, of course, would be what? This side up. This side up. Keep this package oriented this way. I think a lot of times, if we want to have enthusiasm in our lives, it comes from living this side up, with our heart set on heaven, not just on things of the Earth. But we're thinking through follow through in all we do. We're thinking, how will this live out? How will this ring out into eternity? How will I feel about this decision? How will I feel about this interaction? How will I feel about this addiction standing before God in heaven looking back on my life? Let's live church this side up. It will cause there to be an enthusiasm, and not a going through the motions, not a eh, not a halfheartedness, not a sluggishness. There will be a zeal. There will be an urgency. We'll be passionate and stirred up and fired up and ready to do all that God's called us to do. So to recap, creativity, attraction, resolve, enthusiasm. These are our handles. This is going to help us to handle with care. Handle with care. Come on, you see what I did there? It's a whole thing. Handle with care.

Now my favorite verse in the text, and we're going to close with this, is Verse 27, where the servant says, as for me, being on the way, the Lord led me. Being on the way, the Lord led me. How did this all happen, he says. He says, it happened because I was on the way. What way? The way to Mesopotamia. The way to obedience. I found the girl that this person was supposed to marry. I found the right person when I was on the way. When I made sure to stay on the way, that finding the right person I was looking for worked itself out. Didn't Jesus say, I am the way, the truth, the life? No one comes to the Father except through me. I know there's a lot of you who are tempted to compromise or to make decisions, or to, I know that this is what God wants for me, but look, that's not realistic. It's not exactly like they're making guys like that in a factory, making girls like that in a factory. And so you're sort of thinking, I need to lower my standards just a little bit.

Let me tell you, you don't need to worry so much about who you're finding, and where he is and where she is, and how that's all going to work. What do you need to do? Come on, stay on the way. Stay in your relationship with Jesus. If you just trust in God with all of your heart, lean not on on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him. He will direct your paths. The servants looked back and said, as long as I was on the way that Abraham, my master, told me to go, I was able to be marvelously helped by Him. That's how this thing worked out. And I believe that's how your love story is going to unfold, that you'll be able to be telling the story to your kids and your grandkids one day. And the story will be written, I was just following Jesus. And then God just took care of it. I didn't have to go worry and concern and stress out over this thing. As I followed Jesus, it all just worked out in the end. You receive it in Jesus' name.

Father, we love you and we thank you that just like the servant came with gifts, the servant sent by the father on behalf of the Son, coming to get the bride, brought gifts. And we thank you that your Holy Spirit, sent into the world by the father, to get a bride for the sun out of the world, has also given gifts, given gifts to us. Each of us have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit to use. And I pray for all of us, whether we have an awareness of what those gifts are or not, that we would all have a willingness to see you reveal to us what those gifts are and begin to use them with enthusiasm as we serve and contribute in this world.

If, as we're praying, all across the church you would say, I want to be open to what God's gifts are, His gifts the spirit's given me, whatever those might be, I want to be open to that. Or if you would say, there's some decisions I've made when it comes to honor, when it comes to sex, based on what I've heard today, God has opened my eyes to see some things I need to change. If you would say I'm open to God's holy spirit moving in my life, if you would say, I want to act on and respond to out of obedience to this revelation. Could I just ask that all across the church, every single person watching on Facebook and YouTube and in every location and watch party, every part of the world, on demand or on a podcast or on television, if you would say, I'm responding to the Holy Spirit even now. Just raise a hand up. God will see you. Raise your hand up, raise your hand up all across the church.

Thank you, Father, for what you're doing. Thank you for what you're building. Thank you for you stoking the fires of revival even in this moment. I pray to bless each, fill them with your spirit. I pray for a new wind to fill their soul like a sail. I pray for fire upon them. I pray for forgiveness and healing. I pray for restoration and redemption. I pray for you to rise up, a generation who will honor you, most of all, and honor those made in your image.

You can put your hands down. I'm going to offer now a moment in time for anybody who has not made a decision to follow Jesus the Savior. Just like this girl was asked, are you willing, the Bible says that God is able to save you, able to heal you, able to promise you heaven. But you have to be willing. And if at this moment, you're willing to open your heart up to Jesus, He will come in. He will heal you. He will make you knew. This could be your first day born again, with living, eternal life flowing through your veins. All you have to do is open your heart to Christ. I'm going to say a prayer. Say it with me, and God will hear you, and Jesus will come in. Say this:

Dear God, please come into my heart. Make me new. I give myself to you. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for living to give me Resurrection power. I give you my heart in Jesus' name. Amen.

Come on. Let's celebrate with those making that decision. If you did just pray that prayer, grab your phone and send a quick text message to 97000. Put the words Fresh Life in the text so we can encourage you and walk you forward in the next steps walking with Jesus. God bless you, church. Thank you so much for being with us today.

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