Greed works in secret and often disguises itself so we don’t even know it’s there. God gives us good gifts, but what we do with them says a lot about us. In this message, we unpack what Jesus has to say in Luke 12 about how to fight the deadly sin of greed.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, so glad you're tuning in with us. Like she said, last week was so amazing getting to be together and gather in person. It was also such a tease. I know for me, I spoke too soon last week during the announcements, and I am just sick that we did not get to be together this week, but I am trusting that God is good. He is faithful, and I am just thankful we still get to gather through technology, that we have the opportunity here to still meet together. So wherever you are, thank you for joining us tonight, and I know God still wants to speak to us even amidst all the crazy.
So if you're joining us for the first time, we are in a series called Seven Deadly Sins, where we are identifying different sins that a lot of people have said, "Hey, these sins specifically… Although all sins are equal, these sins, if you let them have a stronghold or a huge grip in your life, they can ruin you. They are deadly in their nature, so you have to be on your guard against them."
We've talked about things like anger and pride. We've talked about self-indulgence in terms of laziness and gluttony. Tonight, we get to talk about the deadly sin of greed. I know for me…by the way, if we haven't met, I'm JD…one thing that's true of JD is I don't have a lot of stuff. I'm just at that stage of life where I'm 26, and I just don't have my own house. I've moved a lot in my young 20s, and I for sure don't think I have a lot of money compared to some.
So when I first was given this topic, I was like, "Man, greed. I mean, I guess I can tap into something. I guess I can hit something," but as I learned more and more about what greed looks like, I realized, "Wow, I am such a greedy person by nature." I think a lot of us will be agreeing with that by the end of tonight. So let's lean in together and see what God's Word has to say about this sin of greed.
So here's one way I identified what greed has looked like for me. There was this thing because of corona, because of all the effects it has taken on our economy and all the things it has done to us financially, our government passed something where people got what's something called a stimulus check. I had never heard of a stimulus check. I didn't even know if I would receive a stimulus check. I was like, "All right, am I going to get some form in the mail? How will I know if I'm going to get my stimmy?"
So I guess one day I was checking my bank account like I do every day, and I was like, "What? Cha-ching!" I saw a deposit I didn't sign up for. I didn't know how it got there. I was like, "I guess the IRS from my taxes know my stuff." I don't know, but I'm not really asking questions. All I see is I got money that I didn't work for, and it felt good.
What was my first reaction? I was like, "Man, I'm going to save this." No! It was like, "I'm going to go out tonight. Dinner is on me. I'm going to buy those new pair of Nikes I've been looking at over there." I just was like, "This is time for me to get myself something," because this was money, you know… I know for me, I mean, praise God, I know there's a lot of people who really desperately needed that money, and I'm so thankful you were able to be provided for in that way.
But for me, luckily, I've gotten to keep working, and so this, in my selfish mind, just looked like some extra cash. So what do I do with my extra cash? I spend it on something extra with the extra self I am. So I get my check, and the first thing I thought was, "What can I do for myself?" What it for sure was not was, "Is there any way I can use this for others?"
Think about what a Christian claims to be about. You would think that somewhere in there in my heart, somewhere inside of me, I would think, "There are so many people right now who don't have a job. JD, you have a job." There are so many people out there who have never had a job. There are homeless people. There are sick people. There are families in need. You would have thought maybe, just maybe, I would've thought to help others out with my check. But no, my first reaction was to spend it on myself because that's what greed does.
Greed makes life all about you, and it makes it nothing about others. But a lot of times we can't really see greed because greed wears a lot of masks. It disguises itself in forms of things like, "Man, I'm being resourceful," or, "Hey, I deserve this. I've been working really hard," or, "Hey, I'm putting that into my savings. It's good to save," or, "Hey, I'm just trying to be a good steward. I need this money because one day I have a plan to upgrade for my family. We're going to have more kids."
It disguises itself in so many things that look good on the outside, but on the inside, the motives are all out of whack. We're doing all of these things, although them in themselves are not bad, we do them with wrong motives, and deep down, we do it for comfortability, and we do it for our own desires.
I want to tell you this before we get started. If you live this life, if you live a life where you are convinced you're not greedy, but yet somewhere in there you're motivated by greed, you're going to live this way that tells you, "Okay, in this I'm going to find security and satisfaction," but you never will. Instead you're going to find an upbringing of anxiety and worry and comparison and discontentment and exhaustion from striving to succeed to achieve more and more and more.
So I think it's important we expose tonight greed for what it really is so that way we don't live a life enslaved to it. So I'm not going to teach you. I'm going to let God's Word teach you. So if you have your Bible, let's see what Jesus teaches about this idea of greed. As you get your Bible… We're going to read a lot of Bible tonight. So wherever you're at in your house, if you don't have your Bible, go get your Bible, grab it, and open it up with me to the book of Luke, chapter 12.
While you turn there, for all my note‑takers, here's what we're going to be covering tonight. Tonight we're covering the difference between what greed says and what God says. Okay? The difference between what greed says and what God says.
So the first thing greed says, before we read the text… Greed says everything I have is from me, but God says everything you have is from him. Okay? Greed says everything I have is from me or because of me, but God says no; everything you have is because of him.
So Luke, chapter 12. Hope you're there. Jesus teaches more on this. Here's a little bit of context. A great crowd is gathering around Jesus, and they're asking him all these questions. He's starting to be identified as a great teacher. This guy…we don't know who he is…raises his hand, and he's like, "Hey, Jesus, my brother won't give me my half of our inheritance. Can you go tell him…" Like, "Dad…? Can you go tell him to give me half of our share?"
Jesus looks at him and says, "Dude, I'm not the boss of you or your brother." But then he kind of like goes off and gives a quick little "dad" lesson. Here's what he says in verse 15. "Then he said to them, 'Watch out!'" Warning. Caution. "'Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.' And he told them this parable…"
A parable. We talk about them a lot here. Luke is filled with parables. That's just a way of saying a story that is kind of laced in wisdom and deeper insight for us to takeaway. He says this parable. "'The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, "What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops." Then he said, "This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.
And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'"'" Talk about the American dream. Verse 20: "'But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.'"
So here's what this looks like today…just really quick…like modern-day, this story. Everyone at one point hopefully…if you haven't, no shame…if you've moved out of your parents' house, you have built up things for yourself from your childhood, and you have accumulated a lot of things. And then you get to this point where you have to now move maybe to college, and you have to move into this smaller room, a dorm you're sharing with someone else, and everything you have cannot fit into this small space.
So what do you do? You give it away to the needy and the poor. No! That's not what you do. You get your extra stuff, and you put it in plastic bins, and then you put it in like an attic, or some people go as far as to purchase or rent these things called storage units where they literally pay people to keep their extra stuff they think one day they'll need, but in reality, it'll just collect dust, and they might not ever see it again. It's crazy, and it's very normal here in America for us to build bigger barns like we see here in this guy's story.
A lot of us though, we don't even store our extra stuff. We aren't even trying to hide that we're extra. I know for me, I have stuff lying everywhere that I don't necessarily need, and it's a whole lot of extra. Things like shoes. I love shoes. I have a lot of shoes. For some of you ladies, you might have a lot of extra purses out there. I know I'm treading on whatever. But clothes. I know for me, I have a lot of hoodies. I'm a big hoodie guy. I don't understand it.
Money. Some of you right now are like, "No. Trust me, that's the one thing, pal, especially right now with corona, I do not have an extra amount of money." But then, I think Jesus would even lean in and say, "Okay, well, then how are you paying for your Spotify Premium or Apple Music? How do you have Netflix? Hulu? How do you manage to somehow go out to eat all the time or go out every weekend? That Xbox you have. You have extra money."
Some of you, it might be extra time. You might say, "I'm too busy. I don't have extra time. I have too much going on, and any free time I do get, I need it for me, for #selfcare. Haven't you ever heard? I need to rest." Some of us, it might be our emotions. "Hey, I just only have so many… This is my personality. This is the way I am. I can't be giving away all these emotions that are a lot of work for me."
So we protect these things, and we store these things for ourselves, and we think that all of the extra we have has a place, and that place doesn't usually involve other people; it involves making our lives more comfortable. These things…hear me…in and of themselves… Music isn't bad. Xbox, not bad. Netflix, eh, but not bad.
God has given us things like music. God has given us time and emotions, but how we steward these things, how we use these things, the why behind we have these things says a lot about our relationship with those things and says a lot about where we are at in our hearts with greed.
I believe if you are so unsure, if you don't want to help other people and use your things with other people, if you protect your time and your space and your money and your things, and if you're the only one, I would say that Jesus would want to share this story with you. So I think he still wants to share it with us tonight.
Hear this. A lot of the reasons why we think everything we have is ours, the reason why we're so quick to believe that greed, when it says that what we own is ours, is because we think we did something to get it. We think we earned the things we have. So it's only natural to think, "Oh, well, if I earned this, if I achieved this thing, if I put in the work, and then I received the benefits from it, if I received the results from all of my work in my earnings, it's mine. I get to dictate what I do with these things because they're mine, mine, mine."
In verse 16 of this story, we see this in this man's life. He says, "The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'" That's what greed does. Greed keeps you isolated, and it leaves you to make decisions on your own. You don't invite God into your resources. You don't invite God into your decisions of how you use your things and steward your things.
He thought to himself. He didn't invite his friends in. Maybe if he was married, he didn't invite his spouse in. He thought to himself, "What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops." I'm reading this, and I'm going, "My crops? What do you mean my crops?" Everyone knows in this day, if you're reading this, if you're hearing this, there was no machinery for farmers back in this day. Everything they got, their harvest was solely dependent on the ground, and the ground to have good soil was dependent on…what? The rain and sun and light.
I want to ask: Who is in control of those things? God. God was in control of the ground. God was the one in control of his bountiful harvest, but greed doesn't let us see things that way. Greed doesn't let us see our harvest through the lens of God being gracious and giving it to us. Greed says, "Look at what you did. Look at how you earned. Look at how you succeeded. Look at all of the things you now get to dictate what you do with it because you earned it."
I was thinking about this. Sorry, I was just reading my notes, and it says, "Remind them of what a toddler is like." I was thinking about how crazy it is that sometimes we think we can look at God and say, "Mine." It has been like this from the very beginning. Toddlers. You give them a toy, and they start playing with it and start figuring it out, and they're like, "This is nice." Then you're like, "Hey, share with your brother, or share with so-and-so," and they're like, "No!" They start crying, and they're like, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"
What's crazy about that is it's not theirs. It was given to them by other people who worked and got the money and went to the store and bought the toy. A toddler cannot do anything for himself. He only got the toy because his parents gave it to him. So it's the same with us. For us to look at our things and to basically communicate to God, "Mine. I did this. I paid for this. I earned this," is crazy.
I'm here to remind myself and remind you guys tonight that everything we have is from God. Nothing is ours. Greed will say, "It's mine," but God says everything is his. Greed will say, "No, I took the extra four years of college to get this doctorate degree." Greed will say, "No, I put in the work on Saturdays when everyone was out partying."
Greed will say, "No, I came out of the hole that was my family and came out of my small town and am now living the Dallas dream of success. No, I put in the workouts and the dieting and the discipline to get to where I am today. I. I. I. So therefore, because all of this was because of me, when I receive the benefits from my labor, it's mine."
Why are we so quick to claim the things that are good? Like this guy was like, "My crops. My harvest." If I'm like, "My promotion. My paycheck. My new shoes." Yet the moment things go bad in our lives, the moment things don't go how we want them to, that's when we're like, "This one's yours, God." That's when I realize I'm quick to put the blame and the power in God's hand. When things go bad, when I'm in a wilderness season, when I'm in a dry season, when storms come, I'm like, "God, it's yours. It's yours Take it. You're in control. I know you're in control."
But when life is good, when I don't need to depend on God, I'm like, "It's mine. I've got it. I got myself here." But that's crazy because the reality is nothing has ever been ours to begin with. I don't care how bad your life is right now. I don't care if you're flourishing and thriving, and corona has brought you more work than ever before. All of it is God's. God has always been the provider and sustainer of our flourishing, of everything we have.
First Corinthians 10:26 says, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." Everything in it. I know for me, when I start to get puffed up with my work ethic, when I start to get puffed up with my success or my promotion or my pay raise or my gifts or the things I can do, I have to go to the Word of God and remind myself that pride always comes before the fall. Greed is tricky. It tells you, "Hey, you have to do these things. You have to do these things so that way you can be comfortable. You have to earn."
So I have to go back to the Word of God and say it has never been about us earning. It has never been about man doing. It has always been about God's provision, God's faithfulness. When I read the Bible and I remind myself of the stories the Bible tells, that it has always been God… God spoke, and the earth was formed. It was God who split a sea so his people could walk through it. Then when they walked through the desert after, he provided manna from heaven and sustained them and fed them.
It was God who flooded the earth and then refilled it, repopulated it, and gave man a second chance. It was God who sent up a man named Elijah in a tornado of fire. It was God who defeated an entire army with nothing but a jawbone of a donkey. Go read it. It's in there. It's a crazy story. It was God who fulfilled prophecies. It was God who brought his Son to the world as a perfect God-man to pay for the penalty of all of mankind and defeated death.
It was God who told Peter to walk on water. It was God who fed 5,000 plus their families. It was God who blinded Saul, a man known for killing Christians, and then converted him and made him Paul, the leader of the church. It was God who gave the blind sight. It was God who gave the deaf hearing, the lame walking.
And it's this same God who is giving everything we have today. It's the same God who has you listening today because he wants you to hear it has always been him who has provided for you. You haven't done anything. You've always needed him. So come to him like a child. Don't go out and think you earned something. Don't go out and think everything is yours. Life is so much better when you admit that everything is his and none of it is yours.
But greed doesn't want you to believe that. Greed wants you to think you have a part to play. Greed wants you to think that life is all about you. When life becomes all about you, it becomes less about him, and then life at first might seem like it's more enjoyable, but it only gets more sad. Then if you believe that, it'll lead us to our second thing greed says.
Greed says trust in yourself, but God says trust in him. Greed says, "Trust in yourself. You've got this." But God says, "No, trust in me." Jesus just keeps telling this story. He looks at his disciples now after he has shared this parable, and he says, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." Verse 24:
"Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon…" Which was just a king, a character in the Bible who was very wise and very rich. "…in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you–you of little faith!
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them." But this is important. "But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."
Here is the problem of thinking we have to earn our things, of thinking it's up to us to provide for ourselves and for our families and for our children, to think it's up to us to have a comfortable life and joy-filled life. When we believe it is up to us to fulfill our needs and desires, then we send ourselves down a path that has no end.
It just keeps going, because we were never created to satisfy ourselves. We were never created to give ourselves all we need. God created us in his image and in such a way he would know we were thirsty. He would know we were hungry. He would know we would be in need. And then he made himself where he could give us everything we need and that he could know us better than we could even know ourselves.
But if you go down the path of thinking, "I can provide, I can do, I can earn, I can grow my savings account, I can grow my business, I can build a bigger barn," you're only going to become more worrisome. You're only going to become more anxious. He says here you're only going to continue to chase after something you're never going to find.
But somehow, we think life is easier if we can just work harder. We think, "If I can work harder, so I can earn more, so that way I can feel more secure and have more control, then I'm set. I'm good." But if we truly have control, then why are we so full of worry and doubt? Think about that. Why? If I have control, if I'm doing so much, why am I so fearful, and why do I worry? It's because most people think the core issue of greed is selfishness or needing more, but the actual core issue of greed is fear.
The core issue of greed is fear because when you think you have to earn, and when you think your plan, like you have to build a bigger barn to store your things, when you don't come to God and ask him what he would have for you, you're saying, "Hey, I have to control everything because I have to know I'm going to have enough," which is also communicating, "I'm afraid, God, that you're not actually who you say you are."
I know it says right here in this text that God looks at me, and it's like, "Hey, if he gives the food to the birds, and if he clothes the flowers, how much more would he give you the things you need?" He knows you. Just seek him. He knows you. I don't really believe that, or I would just trust him, and I would ask him, "Hey, what would you want me to do? What are your plans for my life? How do you want me to steward my things?"
I would take myself out of the equation, and I would let God lead, but we're fearful. We're afraid to give up control. I don't know what it is. It could be different for every person. Something might have happened to you. Someone might have abandoned you who was supposed to provide for you. Someone might have broken your heart when they were supposed to bring you satisfaction and security. Someone might have withheld something from you out of maliciousness. I don't know what happened to you for you to project this onto God, but I'm telling you, God does not fail.
God will not let you down. He knows you in your needs more than you could. So all he asks you to do is trust. Trust in him. Not in your things. Not in your money. We were talking about this earlier, how funny it is. Did you know that on every piece of money we have… I have here a $1 bill. It reads, "In God We Trust." In God we trust. It's as simple as that.
But if you look right at America, no we don't. We clearly don't trust God because we put more trust in this. We think this can bring us something God can't. We say, "I need more. I need more. I need more money. I need to wear the on-brand stuff. I need a better job. I need a bigger promotion. I need a bigger house. I need more. I need more because God isn't enough." That's what greed communicates, and it's because deep down we're afraid God isn't actually good, that he isn't actually a Father.
So that's why greed says trust yourself because when you trust yourself you think you get control, but that only leads to fear and worry. Trusting God is where true joy and peace is found. But if you follow greed, and if you think that what you own is yours, and if you think that you can trust yourself, you're naturally going to think the third thing greed says.
Greed says life is about what you can get, but God says life is about what you can give. Luke 12. Let's continue reading. Let's wrap it up. "Do not be afraid, little flock…" That's what he's saying. Don't be afraid. "…for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Why did the guy in the first story Jesus told build a bigger barn? Why did he think that was the right move to make with his extra? Because he thought, "I need to store up for myself on this earth because this earth is where it's at."
This earth is going to bring me joy. I'm going to work hard. I'm going to put stuff into my 401(k). I'm going to build so one day I can work hard, and work hard, and work hard because I have this dream one day that I get to retire and take this long trip around the world with my wife, or I get to one day pay for my kid's college. And I'm going to work and work and work and work for this idea of this day that is not promised to us.
Like the man in the first story, he did all of this work to save and store all of his stuff, and then God looks at him and says, "You fool. You're going to die tonight." You can be disillusioned to think you have control of all of these things, but one thing you cannot control is the number of your days. You just can't. God is the only one who knows when we are going to leave this earth.
So are you going to trust in yourself in your limited view of life, or are you going to trust what the Book, what the Bible, is saying about how we're supposed to steward our things? Because it says here that you need to store up things in heaven, not on earth. Don't build bigger barns on earth. Who's going to get those things? But store up things in heaven. How do you store up things in heaven? By giving away things on earth. The weapon to greed is generosity.
So just a simple application I had to deal with this week is have you ever tried asking yourself, "Lord, what do you want me to do with my stuff? What do you want me to do with my extra? What bigger barns have I built in my life that I need to take down and give away?" Take some inventory, identify your resources, and ask God what he wants you to do with it. Ask yourself. I mean, get honest with yourself tonight. Make a list and say, "If God asks me to get rid of all of this, could I do it? Could I give it all away?" Trust God is who he says he is.
I know that would be hard for me, especially if I'm following myself, and if I'm the one in control, because I would fail. But if I'm putting all my chips in with God, that is where an active faith like this can take place. Life is not about what this man thought. Life isn't about your retirement. Life isn't about taking it easy and eating and drinking and being merry and getting more so you can do more. That is a sad view of life if you think that's where life is found.
Jesus says here that life is nothing. It's a vapor. But heaven is everything. So if you're going to invest, invest in heaven. How does he call us to invest in heaven? By giving during our time on earth. So I'll close with this, talking about investment. If I could go back to JD at January 1, 2020, and I could say to myself, "Hey, man, you should invest in Zoom. Invest in Zoom and Purell," JD on January 1 would be like, "What? What is Zoom? Why Purell? I'm a Germ-X guy." Or is that the same thing? I don't know.
But point is I would look at myself and be like, "You're crazy. I am not investing in Zoom. No one uses Zoom." I'm like, "No, trust me, man. You're going to want to invest in Zoom." And I'm like, "Ah, get out of here. You don't know what you're talking about." Then now, how would I view that conversation? I'd be like, "Ah! I should've listened to future JD! I would be making a fortune right now. It's crazy that I did not listen to him."
In the same way, it's crazy, crazy, if we live our lives listening to greed and not listening to God because God says that everything we see is his, not ours. God says when we trust him, we'll experience joy and peace and life. God says life is not found in what you get but what you give. That's where life is found. But it's like, "But I'm getting less out of the deal. I'm literally losing something. How is that more for me?"
This week, I came across a couple of hundred bucks I wasn't expecting to get, and for me, that's a really big deal. I don't get to just take those things lightly, and I was like, "Wow, I have a couple of hundred bucks." Then I started to lean toward new shoes, and I was like, "No. Save it. Save it." I put it on the table, and for the last couple of days I've been prepping at the same table that the $200 was sitting at.
I'm writing this, and I'm looking at it, and I'm like, "I have been writing all of this message and not once have I asked God, 'God, what do you want me to do with that?'" So I tried it. I took him at his Word, and I was scared of what he was going to say because it was uncomfortable. I was like, "Please don't ask me to give it away. Please don't make me give it away."
What did he do? I read the Scripture, and he asked me to give it away along with some other things. One of those things being my time. I'm really selfish with my time. He asked me to start giving away…I talked about it earlier…my emotions. There are certain people I'm so closed off with because I don't trust them. That's just wrong. That's not love. He said, "Hey, none of these things are yours."
I have to ask myself, "Why is it so hard for me to give away something that God says is so small?" It's because I forget the biggest thing that has been given to me. I forget the biggest act of generosity came in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem in a manger. God sending his one and only Son. He wasn't greedy. He was generous, and he sent him for me and for you. He sent him down to live a perfect life and to pay the price you and I could not pay by dying a sinner's death.
Philippians says he was equal to man, yet he did not sin, and he died a sinner's death on the cross for you and for me so that way we could live a life of joy and peace and trust that the Father is going to provide for us in ways we never could provide for ourselves and in ways we were never designed to provide for ourselves. The Father is the answer. A relationship with Jesus is the answer.
When I start to remind myself that because Jesus was so generous with me, I now want to live my life to be as generous as I can be. I want to live my life the way he has called me to. I'm sitting here going, "God, okay, I'll surrender it. If you've called me to give it all, then I will give it all. If you call me to move to Africa and live in a hut and never get married and share the gospel with people, I'll do it."
That terrifies me, because I somehow still believe that this earth is endgame, but my Bible says that this earth is nothing compared to what's to come in heaven. So when I am fighting greed, when I am not longer wanting to be generous, what do I do? I remember heaven. I remember Jesus. I remember the price he paid. And that compels me to put myself aside, to put my things aside, and to make everything about the thing, which is Jesus.
It's so crazy, this view that's so upside down for us, especially those in America, where it's like, "Hey, life is found when you give away your life." You try it, you take the risk, and he does what he says. It may not look like what you think, but that's the point of following a God who knows what we truly need.
So just to recap. I'm done. I'm done thinking that everything is mine, and I'm trusting that everything is God's. I'm done thinking that I am enough and that I can trust myself. I'm going to start trusting God. I'm done thinking that when I somehow get to this plan for my life, that when I get enough it'll satisfy me, and I'm going to start believing that true life is found in giving, just like Jesus gave himself for me. Let's pray.
Father, I understand I have such a limited view and understanding of who you are. I have such a small understanding of what you truly want from me on this earth. But I pray tonight that we would be a people, if we are in Christ, that we would trust that it's the greatest decision we can ever make, that it's the greatest thing we could ever obtain. Not because of something we did but because of all you've done.
If there's someone here tonight who says, "Man, I'm just having a lot of trouble letting go of control. I'm afraid. I've been testing out the waters of this whole God thing and this Christian thing, and I'm so afraid to dive in because what if God withholds from me? What if God isn't all who he says he is?" I pray tonight you would reveal yourself to them, that they would open up your Word and read the Scripture and see it is not a lie, it is true, it is trustworthy, and it is for them. No matter what they've done, no matter what they've gone through, it is for them.
You are for them. You are a gracious Father who loves to provide for his children who just open up their hands and say, "I trust you." So that's what we do in this time. We respond with opening up our hands. All across the country, all across the world, we are a people who are coming, opening up our hands right now and saying, "I relinquish my rights, I relinquish my things, I relinquish my control, and I trust you, the God who has always been and will always be in control."
Let's respond to that and agree to that in worship.