A Full Share

Several times from this platform I have talked how we often come closest to God during those times when we are broken by our choices or even the hand of God.

We looked at what we want and what we get instead and how the difference can leave us broken, but somehow we can be grateful for the result.

A good example of this a parable told by Jesus that gave a classic example “The Lost Son” (Luke 15:11-32)

How people make choices that break us and how when we are ready to come back God (the father) is not only willing but overjoyed receiving us.

But at the end of that parable there is something that we can miss if we’re not careful.

Luke 15:11-32 (pay close attention to 25-32)

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

      “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “

What is expected and wanted by the Christian people can be seen in the older brother here.

There are some who can actually feel like their brother who has come home does not deserve a full share.

Who deserves a full share?

I have given you my testimony… What is my fair share?

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death”

Today, there are many among us who behave as if they are more deserving than others.  I have heard the harsh words and the posturing among people in this room today.

Now I believe with all of my heart that no one in this room comes here with the intention of being the brother at the end of this parable, but I bet some of you can relate a bit to his story.

I give a good effort here at South Side… etc, etc, etc…

No one is completely immune.

Why even the Apostles could be seen wrestling with each other over who had the largest stake in the ministry of Jesus.

Who is Greatest?

Mark 9:33-34

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

or The Sons of Thunder incident

Matthew 20:20-21

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

“What is it you want?” he asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

How many of you would want your mom to go to work and ask the boss (God’s son) to let you have a promotion. Uhg!

We all want to be respected. We all want someone to notice.

…Especially if we have done something good.

But the question Jesus asks is this: Matthew 20:22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

What Jesus is asking them is do you really understand the ramifications of what you just asked me for?

Do you really know that soon being on my left and right will mean hanging from crosses?

What is the place they have just asked to take?

But Todd, none of us have asked to sit on a throne of even to sit to the left or the right of it. Let’s look at that a minute. When you accept a place of leadership in the Church you have stepped to the front of the class. When you became a follower of Christ you have stepped to the front of the class.

Because as Jesus tells us in Luke 8:21 “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Hear that again…

So what is it that Jesus would have these leaders do?

Let’s listen to what he tells the Sons of Thunder

Matthew 20:22-28

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Brothers and Sisters We have a problem

We have been keeping score and jostling among ourselves to be sure that what we are doing is being noticed. Just like John and James.

Wooooo   Thankfully he isn’t talking about me.

What is score keeping?

Well it may be that you still don’t know what I mean. So let me give you some examples:

There is the Jesus way and the way of the score keeper.

If you are standing in a kitchen (particularly at Church) talking your fellow workers about how poorly someone else has done their job – you might be a score keeper.

If you go to that person and ask if you can help them do their job or find the resources to do the job – you are doing it Jesus way.

If you agree to help or lead a project, but you discover that you do not have the time or the ability to get it done. But you don’t let go – You are letting others suffer for your pride. – you might be a score keeper.

If you recognize that you don’t have the time and energy to do 3 things for God, but you can do 2 excellently and you gracefully bow out of 1 by explaining YOUR issue – you are doing it Jesus way.

Even Father God took one out of seven days off. Are you working seven to prove you are better than him. – That won’t score.

If you get angry because someone did not give you your proper respect or honor your work, shake your hand at Church, etc.  – you might be a score keeper.

If your making a list in your head right now of all of the score keepers in the room… Guess who you should count in your list.

If you go to your brother and humble yourself before them and do all you can to help them come out of Satan’s game – you are doing it Jesus way.

What was the score when Jesus washed the feet of his men? John 13

Who won that day?

What was the score when they hung Jesus on the cross?

Three days into the game what was the new score?

Why was he able to work it that way?

He knew that he was going to win if he just did his father’s bidding.

Where is all of this in the Bible?

Judas – Matthew 26 “This isn’t the program I signed up for”

Jonah – Jonah (the whole book) “God is gonna mess up religion”

Cain – Genesis 4 “Who am I my brother’s keeper?”

God “I will decide who I pay and how much”

Matthew 20:1-16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

AGAIN

“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Or how about the parable of the wicked slave

Matthew 18:23-34

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

There is little value in me standing in front of you today and declaring this one a dirty rotten score keeper and that one a loving Jesus lover. I don’t have the authority to do any of that. Anyone in the room examining the hearts of others through this message has completely missed the point.

The question is a simple one for each of us to ask each morning.

Matthew 6:9-15

“This, then, is how you should pray:

   ” ‘Our Father in heaven,

   hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

   your will be done

      on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

      as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

   but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Lord, am I giving others the forgiveness that I want from you.

See God is willing to let you keep score or use your own measuring stick. The problem is that if you do, then that is the measuring stick He will use to measure us.

Before leave this post I want to ask you to put away your measuring stick or better yet give it to God.

We are about to leave here and go back into the world. The world of:

·       Look what she’s wearing

·       I can’t believe they did that

·       Did you hear about them?

You get the idea

Before you do that I am going to ask you to settle the only score you have. Make sure that you have left all the points with the Lord.

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About toddcbrown

The body of Christ will never grow if the Pastor is the one using his gifts to MAKE IT grow through some cool program or inspiring turn of a phrase.
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