What will it hurt to share a smile? Or to buy a homeless man a meal? Or volunteering some of your time in an elderly home center or a hospital? What if that homeless man was your father or grandparents? Or that hospital that you frequently pass which cares for left behind relatives of those who sacrificed their lives in the war just to keep America free? We make sacrifices everyday hoping the good prevails over the bad choices we could make. There are some who don’t see it this way. Their self centered attitudes are affecting the choices of a generation of people who will not sacrifice random acts of kindness. Here are two stories taken from the Bible.
The Rich Young Ruler
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Matthew 19:16-30 NLT)
Dr. Frederick K.C. Price when teaching this lesson said that the possessions had him. The Lord revealed to me that when you have an overflow of money, you tend to buy people to cater to and serve your every need. This rich young ruler couldn’t relinquish the power associated with lording over the people he brought. Needless to say, the rich young ruler didn’t sacrifice his (now) possessions to gain (later) eternal life. Some people don’t get the whole story. Jesus promised in verse 29: “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. “ What an awesome deal, 100 times more to enjoy on this side of heaven and to also get eternal life. God is good. He always multiplies. See, there is a benefit for sacrificing what you have to bring joy to someone else. You just need to learn how to make a demand on the promises of God and once you do learn, God will get it to you.
The Rich Fool
“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Then he [Jesus] told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12:15-31)
Having a rich relationship with God can be as simply going about doing good to others. (Acts 10:38) You see, everyone who hasn’t received salvation belongs to the devil. God is trying to redeem as many people as He can before the appointed time. Your sacrifices and acts of kindness gives people hope that there is a God and that they can come to Him to help them in their time of need. (Psalms 34:17) As a result of you helping someone, they may give their lives to the Lord so they too can be used by God to help someone else.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. (Luke 16:19-25 NLT)
There is a penalty for not helping others. It’s assessed in hell. Reading to the end of this story, the Rich Man all of a sudden wanted to help his brothers by warning them of what it’s like in hell. He begged: “If someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.” But Abraham said, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.” (Verses 30-31) How sad but so true, Jesus rose from the dead but yet, many still refuses to believe Him or His Word. In fact, the greatest sacrifice given by God for you is when the Lord Jesus, sacrificed Himself on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
We are promised that we will be rewarded one hundred times more that what we sacrificed on this side of heaven and yet we refuse to give. When we allow money and power, fame or fortune to rule over our decisions of giving, stagnation comes to our once pliable hearts turning us into uncaring, unloving gobs of the “me” generation greed. It’s time to appreciate the people who make up your world. Start by handing-me-down the morals and principles you were raised with. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9 NLT)
Our sacrifices should consist of us sacrificing our poor self-esteem, our being poor in spirit, lowly, afflicted and destitute of Christian virtues to live a life to honor the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is the exact opposite of the devil and the hell you would live in if you don’t repent. Instead of mourning, the kingdom provides comfort. Yours is a gentle and humble spirit not chasing after all the evil desires of your heart. And just for sacrificing all the things which pleasure your senses, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, (1 John 2:16) which is all the sins that gets you into trouble, you will be filled with righteousness because of your hunger and thirst for doing the right thing. That’s when good things start suddenly showing up in your life. Learn from this: there are two ways in dealing With people. 1. Being gentle and caring 2. Being harsh or curt. Whichever way you chose, expect to receive the harvest of your seed. Prophetess Anita said yesterday: “when you are merciful, you receive mercy.” Receive and be blessed