Thursday, December 03, 2009

Luke #65 – Crumbs or Buffet?

Luke #65 – Crumbs or Buffet?
“And when it was day, He departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought Him, and came unto Him, and stayed Him, that He should not depart from them. And He said unto them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.’ And He preached in the synagogues of Galilee” (Luke 4:42-44 – King James Version).

I am notorious for picking up hitchhikers. The way I figure it is that for a few moments, at least, I have a captive audience to share the Gospel with. I also figure that if a person is walking somewhere and is trying to get a ride along the way, then they aren’t walking because they necessarily want to walk. That tells me that person may be experiencing some difficulty or some laziness…either way; I think they are people to whom I can minister.

While in Roxboro, NC I picked a fellow up one day who told me that he had been walking from Georgia to Virginia. He’d been sleeping under bridges and eating hand to mouth, as he was broke. We went through a fast food drive through, and I headed toward South Boston, VA where the man said he was from. Along the way (I was driving slowly) I shared God’s love with the man and shared God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. He listened, but did not respond. He wanted me to drop him at the Hardees in South Boston. As we stopped in the parking lot the man asked me for some money. I immediately gave him enough to use the pay phone. I asked the man did he own a copy of the Scripture; as he did not, I gave him a Bible. I also attempted to give him an Eternal Life tract, but he refused. I guess he wanted a ride in my car and the food I could provide, but he didn’t want the greatest gift that I had offered, which was Jesus (not that Jesus is mine to give, but you know what I mean). Here’s the kicker…while the man was on the phone I put a $20 bill in the tract. He didn’t take the tract, which was of greater importance than the money, and he missed out on the money too. The only other money I had was $7 and some change; I gave it to him and headed home. He got the crumbs when he could’ve gotten the buffet.

As was plainly stated yesterday, the people of Capernaum did not want Jesus to leave. They begged Him not to go. I could not help but notice that when Jesus says that He must go preach, not one of them says, “OH, PLEASE STAY HERE AND DO THAT!”

You know, it seems like the folks in Capernaum then are just like the people around here now. They want Jesus, but only on their own terms. They want the healing touch of Jesus and the salvation that would keep them from hell, but they don’t want to give their lives to Him. They want what He has without obeying what He says. It seems people want God’s love without God’s requirements. People seem to want to experience Christ’s healing hands without heeding His call to holiness. It seems people want the power without the preaching! They want the call without the conviction!

Those folks in Capernaum wanted what was good for them, but were not concerned about the kingdom. That’s the way of most people and churches these days. If it doesn’t help them personally or grow their own church, they seem to not be interested. Christ wasn’t concerned with putting Capernaum on the map (so to speak), rather He was concerned with the Kingdom which is never limited to a map or an individual.

Human beings, by our sinful nature, are selfish and self-centered. Christ ministry on earth was centered on the will of God and He stayed focused on that. He looked beyond what was comfortable for Himself to what was good for us all and profitable for the Kingdom; had He not, He would have never died on that cross. Human beings, also by our sinful nature, tend to worry more about pleasing our bodies and satisfying our minds than seeking what’s best for our souls. The body is like grass that fades away. The soul, whether in heaven or hell, lasts an eternity.

The problem with that mentality is that if we seek to please ourselves first and God second, not only will we lose what we put first but will lose what we put second as well. Also, the opposite is true too; if we put God first and ourselves second, then we will gain God and He’ll take care of us (Matthew 6:33). That man to whom I gave the ride refused the sermon and missed the $20…he missed the greater temporal blessing and the more important heavenly blessing. I see that happen a lot with the way Christians spend their money. We work hard to buy a boat, a new truck…whatever ...during the process many forsake giving SACRIFICIALLY to God, or even forsake tithing. Ten years later, if that long, the boat is gone; the truck is gone and all that money that was spent didn’t make a hill of dry beans to the Kingdom of God. Sure, we can use boats and trucks and bigger houses to serve God, but how often is that done? Most of the time we are just trying to please self. I wish it was only a little money that was at stake. Take Jesus and get the whole package…salvation and security (salvation alone is plenty security!). Try to create your own brand of security and you’ll miss the whole deal.

Who is Jesus to you today? Is He simply your personal assistant; someone you call when you need help or when there is something you want? Are you heeding the things He says? Do you want His sermons or simply His favors? Do you want God to only give you what you want and leave everything else alone? Will you take the cross or only the crown? If any of us want Jesus, we’ve got to take the whole package. Don’t take the crumbs and miss the buffet. Beg Him to stay for a healing touch AND for a convicting sermon that heals the soul eternally.

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