CONTENT #1 a Stewardship Series
I want to start with two questions this morning. First, what is it about human nature that causes us to be defiant and disobedient? Why can’t we follow the rules? Why can’t we do what we’re told? Why do we always seem to do what we’re told not to do?
When he was about three, I remember my telling my youngest son, Don’t touch that. He looked me straight in the eye and with a little grin on his face, stuck out his finger and just touched what I’d told him not to touch.
I also remember going to Six Flags years ago with my family, my brother and his family and my cousin and his family. While we had a great time one of the things that I remember the clearest was when my cousin’s oldest daughter stepped on my toe. There are two reasons I remember it. First, I had an ingrown toenail and it hurt like the devil when she stepped on it. I asked to her to be careful and not step on my toe again because it hurt.
The second thing I remember is that she looked up at me, looked me square in the eye with defiance in her eyes, and then she stomped on my bad toe. Why can’t we do what we’re told? Why do we have to do what we’re told not to do?
Second question, what is it about good news that makes us want to share it with anybody and everybody? One of my favorite old stories is about the elderly woman who received a telegram informing her that she had just won $100,000. She was so excited that she was shaking. She went to the phone to start spreading the good news to all of her friends and family but she was so excited and so flustered she couldn’t remember anyone’s number. So she dialed the information operator who asked whose number she wanted. The elderly woman was so excited she said, “Oh, I don’t care, just get me anybody.” Is it the endorphins firing or the serotonin flowing or the adrenalin pumping? What is it that makes us not only want to share good news with others but compels us to share.
The reason I ask those two questions is because of the events in today’s Scripture from Matthew 9:27-31 (MSG)
 As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!”
 When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”
 He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.”
 It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.”
 But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.
I. THE ANSWERS:
A. We know the answer to the First Question as well as we know our own names. We are defiant and disobedient because we are a fallen people. We can do better, we can be better but because of the fallen and sinful nature of humanity we almost always choose our will over God’s Will.
We know the answer to the Second Question as well. There truly is something emotional and physiological that takes place within our minds and bodies when something good happens in our lives. Endorphins are released. The adrenal glands do pump that adrenaline that gets our heart pumping. The serotonin does flow raising our sense of joy and excitement. And finally that cocktail of feel good chemicals hits the accelerator of the engine of our soul. Our mouths shift into gear and our jaws become completely unhinged. It feels like we’re going to explode with excitement if we don’t tell someone, ANY one. Our heart and mind and brain just can’t contain it all the excitement that happens.
B. Both of the answers to those questions were played out in the passage of Scripture. And just as they were played out in the lives of the lepers, they are played out every day in our own lives. You see how we answer and what we do determines whether we will be Content with the contents of our lives or not. This morning we begin our yearly highlight of Stewardship. And for most of us good Stewardship can be equated with how Content we are. Sometimes our level of stewardship determines our level of contentment. But one thing is for certain, contentment doesn’t come from the contents of our house, wallets or bank accounts. It comes from less concrete aspects of life, which we will explore in the next couple of weeks.
II. COMPELLED TO SHARE:
A. The healing that took place in the lives of the lepers in the passage this morning changed everything. It changed their lives from a life of discontent to one of contentment. With the healing, suddenly, these outcasts were human again.
If you’ve ever been the last one picked for any type of team; if you’ve ever been passed over for a promotion; if you’ve ever been left out of a conversation or had the room go suddenly quiet when you walked in; then you’ve got an inkling of what the life of a leper was like.
These lepers probably hadn’t had any good news in their lives in a very long time. Lepers were religious and social outcasts. They were cut off from their families, their friends and the rest of society. There was no support group except other lepers. They were complete and total outcasts.
Now, all of a sudden, these lepers looked down and where they had once been rotting flesh; now there was pink, smooth skin. These lepers could see their healing and they were ecstatic. They could hug their wives again; their kids could sit on their laps. They could go to Synagogue once more and hang out with all their old cronies.
Once the healing was accomplished, Jesus became very stern and told them. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.”
Of course they didn’t keep it to themselves. How could they. They were compelled to Share the story of how they had been healed. They HAD to disobey; they HAD to be defiant and tell someone, ANYONE, besides the priests. Everything in their lives had changed. They were no longer cut off and alone. They were no longer part of the living dead. They could enter the land of the living once again.
The news was just Too Good To Keep. And so these lepers started telling anyone and everyone what Jesus had done for them. They HAD to share. And they were CONTENT to Share.
Jesus understood this because He too was compelled to share. That’s why He came. He came to share the Good News. He came to Share Himself.
III. THE CUP OF BLESSING:
One of my favorite Danny Kaye movies is the Court Jester. And I think this is one of the funniest scenes out of the whole movie.
Did you get that? The Vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison while the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true. The scene goes on and gets even funnier when his suit of armor gets struck by lightning becoming magnetic and then the Vessel with the Pestle gets broken and is replaced with the Flagon with the Dragon. Danny Kaye had to remember to drink from the right cup.
Two weeks ago we talked about the Gethsemane Prayer and the spiritual struggle Jesus went through on our behalf. We talked about how He wrestled with his own will and how in that struggle He shaped His will into God’s will.
At least three different times Jesus fell on His knees before God and in soul searching anguish Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” What cup was He talking about?
“In Jesus, A Theography, the authors write, “Scripture speaks of the cup of divine blessing and fellowship and also the cup of divine wrath and judgment.(a)
Jesus, having the full favor of God, drank from the cup of God’s blessing. We, who deserved death and judgment, were on course to drink the cup of divine wrath and judgment. In Gethsemane, Jesus Christ decided once and for all to do the unexpected. He decided to switch cups with us! At Gethsemane, Jesus resolved to drink the cup of wrath and judgment which we deserved.(b) In turn, He would grant us the cup of blessing and fellowship, which we did not deserve.(c)” (1)
And this morning, we come to Drink from that cup of Blessing once again. To remind ourselves of the cup we deserved and the cup we received, not of our own doing but because Jesus chose to surrender His will to God’s will and switch cups with us.
He chose to Share the Cup of Blessing with us and in so doing became the very cup of our blessing as well as the bread of life and hope. Jesus was Content to share, not out of disobedience but because He had Good News that He couldn’t keep to Himself.
You and I have the same kind of news. We have news that should compel us to share. The Lepers news was good news, ours is great news. You and I have the Good News of Salvation. You and I have the Good News of our worth in God’s eyes.
You and I have the Great News that all is forgiven; that we’ll be welcomed home if we’ll just turn away and come back.
You and I have the Great News that there are second chances no matter how badly we’ve blown it.
You and I have the Great News that God loved us so much that Jesus came and died on the cross just to prove how much God loves us. We have the Great News that because of Jesus, we can hit the reset button. We can start life over again. We can stop being a part of the living dead, lost in our sin and step into the land of the living; the land of Eternal Living.
We have Great News that is just Too Good To Keep To Ourselves. Let’s not be disobedient and NOT tell. Instead, find Contentment in that Good News and share it with someone you know.
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.
1. Sweet, Leonard: Viola, Frank, Jesus, A Theography
a. Ps 11:6; 75:8; Isa 51:17; Jer 49:12
b. Mark 10:38; John 18:11
c. 1 Cor 10:16