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A Drop in the Bucket
01/23/2011
Scripture: Luke 10:31-32; Luke 12:34; Joshua 1:8;Ac...
Track 3 of 9 in the Primal Christianity - Love4 series
Running time: 1 hour, 03 minutes, 24 seconds.
If God is speaking to your heart, don't let your head get in the way of what God wants you to do. Sometimes, loving God with all of your heart simply means listening to your heart instead of your head.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


The Heart of Christianity
A Drop in the Bucket

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the scale of a problem that you did little to nothing about it? Why?

Believe it or not, experts have a name for that; it is called “A Drop in the Bucket effect. Problems can be so overwhelming that it boggles the mind of people. When people feel they can’t make a personal impact, they have a tendency to do nothing or not to contribute.

True or False: Statistics about massive human suffering in Africa can actually make people less charitable. True.

Researchers discovered that focusing on statistics short-circuits a compassionate response by shifting people into an analytical frame of mind. When people think analytical, it hinders their ability to act compassionately. That is why I think the religious leaders in Jesus day could not understand what Jesus was all about. Worship to them was by the book (analytical perspective). We definitely see this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Basically, the head of the two Jewish rulers got in the way of their heart when they came upon a man who was left for dead on the side of the road.

Luke 10:31-32 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

The Samaritan reacted with compassion because his heart reacted. To give an illustration, two groups were measured on their response to the needs of others. Two different versions of a letter from Save the Children were sent. One version featured statistics about the massive need of children in Africa. The other letter focused on the need of one child named Rokia. On average, those who received the letter with the example of Rokia gave almost twice as much as those who received the statistical letter. The conclusion they found is simple, the mere act of calculation reduces compassion. Logical objections get in the way of compassionate actions.

True or False: It is commanded that Christians count the cost. We are to calculate our giving?

If God is speaking to your heart, don’t let your head get in the way of what God wants you to do. Sometimes, loving God with all of your heart simply means listening to your heart instead of your head.

The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

So, what does it mean to love God with all of your heart? From what we studied the past two weeks it means what breaks God’s heart breaks ours. We have God ordained passion that makes us glad, sad and mad. It means inaction is not an option in our lives; Christ is now the motivational power driving our actions.

How many of you would say that the American Church in general is greedy? How many would call yourself greedy?

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Do you know the one thing that never lies? (Show my checkbook) Your check book never lies because in it we find our priority list. Our checkbooks reveal our true passions. Our checkbooks don’t just tell us how we’re doing financially but it also tells us how we’re doing spiritually. Our checkbooks are the best barometer of our spiritual maturity that we know of. Jesus understood that thus the reason for talking about money so much. Jesus identified an invisible link between the heart and money. Here comes a very important point:

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.

Love without giving is not real love and the more you love the more you give. It is not complicated; our checkbooks demonstrates to us that very fact; that what are heart loves and has a passion for, we give to it and in some cases, we are willing to give a lot.

True or False: The Church today has spiritualized the American Dream and materialized the Gospel.

If true, can you tell me then what this means and how did we get there? How do we change this? Does this mean that God doesn’t want us to prosper?

Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Of course God wants us to prosper and be successful in life. But for many Christians, prosperity and success is measured in dollars. In fact, material prosperity has nothing to do with spiritual maturity. If it did, Donald Trump would be a saint and Mother Theresa would be a sinner.

What about the prosperity Gospel that is taught about so much these days? Is this correct or is this a false Gospel? Anytime we put an adjective in front of the Gospel, you distort the truth. The prosperity gospel has confused the ends and the means.

Let me ask you a serious question. This is a question I want you to seriously consider, how much is enough? (Consider this question knowing that 1.3 billion people live on less that $2 a day). What do you think would happen if every Christian follower had the courage to ask and answer this question with Biblical integrity? Can you put a dollar amount on how much is enough for you? What would happen if every Christian follower gave away everything above and beyond their predetermined income ceiling? Did you ever wonder how the church got to the point that they could do the following:

Acts 4:32-37 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

This was the radical example the first Christians set for us to follow. This is primal Christianity; loving God with all our heart. Is MPCC like the first church in loving God with all our hearts? Is it possible for MPCC to be like this? If so, why aren’t we like this now? What must change?

So what is your “GIVING” focus? What are you striving for? How do you know when you have enough?

• Are you focused on what you have or don’t have? That is the difference between gratitude and greed.
• Are you focused on this life or the life to come? That is the difference between stinginess and generosity.
• Are you focused on your wants or the needs of others? That is the difference between selfishness and compassion. It is also the difference between unhappiness and joy.

As your focus changes, so will your perspective. As your perspective changes, your life will change.

True or False: Your focus determines your reality.

What happens if your focus is on your wants? What happens to your desires? What happens to your heart? Your heart gets smaller and smaller. What happens if your focus is on the needs of others? You will discover that you have more than enough. What happens if your focus is on today, the here and now? Try to hang onto everything you have. What happens if your focus is on eternity? You will give away everything you have.

What helps a person not to make bad decisions? What kept you from making mistakes that could have changed your life?

Pre-Decisions: These are the decisions we make before we have to make a decision. When confronted by tough decisions, pre-decisions help us make the right decision. What are some of the pre-decisions you have made to help you not make bad decisions?

One pre-decision Pam and I made early in our marriage is to give no less than 10% of our income to God (tithe). God can do more with 90% than I can do with 100%. First of all, the 100% belongs to God anyways. He just lets me use 90%.

In the world’s economy: 5 + 2 = 7
In God’s economy: 5 + 2 = 5,000 R12

God doesn’t need any of my money but what he wants is my heart. Now many of us will agree with God’s equation on giving but how many of us really put our agreement to the test? Too many Christians today have a mental problem called:

Scarcity Mentality: The more I give the less I will have.

How do you know when you suffer from this mental disability? What are the things you say or the thoughts you think that reveal to you that you have the scarcity mentality? Oh, I can’t afford to tithe right now. I don’t have enough to do that yet. If I tithe, how will I pay my bills?

This way of thinking is false. In fact, the opposite is true. The more I give the more I have. This mentality is called the Abundance Mentality: If you give what you have your heart will grow larger and larger for the things of God. This mentality is talked about all over the Bible but Jesus said it this way:

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

When you give beyond your ability, God is going to bless you beyond your ability. God’s measuring rod is not like ours. 1 inch equals one inch…and so on. But with God’s measuring rod, you always get back more than you give. The simple fact is this, you can’t out give God. It is impossible. Once a person starts to give beyond their means, they always find that they end up with more than they started with.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

I like the word Paul uses for the word “cheerful”. He uses the Greek word where we get our word “hilarious” from. God loves it when we give to the point that it is laughable to how much you gave. This kind of giving doesn’t add up…it doesn’t make logical sense. But God will multiply it.

I want to end with this question: What do you think brings more joy to the heart of Jesus – singing songs of praise in Church or caring for the poor? Which one is a better definition of what it means to really love God with all of your heart? Which one is a greater act of worship?

The Talmud, the Jewish commentary on the Law says this:

Whoever destroys one life, it is as though he has destroyed the whole world; and whoever saves one life, it is as though he has saved the whole world.

Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing from what you can. Put your money where your heart is. It is not a drop in the bucket. Every one act of simple generosity creates a ripple effect that can change the course of history. It will also change your heart.