Peanuts Coconut Blessing and Money -- There is a story saying in Africa and India, the natives use a technique to catch monkeys. They hollow out one end of a coconut and put peanuts in. The monkey puts his hand in the coconut making a fist to grab the peanuts, but is trapped. The natives will capture the monkey as the monkey will not release the peanuts captured by selfishness. Stuff traps us – peanuts – and stops us from experiencing the freedom we want.
Peanuts Coconut Blessing and Money – sermon video audio notes
Peanuts Coconut Blessing and Money – sermon video audio notes
Scriptures: 2 Corinthians, Mark 10:17, Mark 10:21-22, Mark 10:23, Mark 10:24-26, Romans 8:32, (Amplified) Genesis 12:2, Luke 19:17, Matthew 25:35-40, Proverbs 19:17
Life Gate Church Reaching Up and Reaching Out
Peanuts Coconut Blessing and Money – sermon video
Peanuts Coconut Blessing and Money – sermon notes
We are talking about LIVE TO GIVE. However, most people live to be selfish. We all are tempted to be selfish at times, but selfishness actually stops God from giving us his best.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 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.
Giving is from the heart. So is selfishness. One opens the hand of God. One closes the hand of God. We make it possible for God to move in our lives in ALL situations. Some people say, “I can’t ever catch a break.” Then, how’s your giving?
Today I want to talk about BE A BLESSING. One day a very wealthy young man came to Jesus.
Mark 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
It’s a pretty good question. Jesus answered, “You know what the scriptures say. ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother” (Mar 10:19). The man said, “I’ve done those since I was a boy.” Jesus was waiting for that response. Though he said he kept the commandments, he was a very selfish person.
Mark 10:21-22 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and GIVE to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
He was willing to trade his eternity for his selfishness. Isn’t it interesting how a person can keep the commandments and Jesus can love them, but selfishness in their life can affect their eternity? We need to know God is aware of our selfishness and, if not cautious, it will affect our now and our eternity. “One thing you lack,” Jesus said. What would Jesus say about your ability to give? We can’t experience all God has for us if we “lack” the ability to give to people. We need to learn how to LIVE TO GIVE.
I want to ask you, do you lack in this area? Most of you said you were going to do the Isaiah fast with me. How are you doing with it? Jesus went on…
Mark 10:23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
We consider “rich” to be a millionaire, but when compared to the world, every one of us are rich and live in the top 10% of the world’s income. However, you don’t have to be rich to be selfish.
Mark 10:24-26 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, HOW HARD IT IS TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God…”
The kingdom of God is God’s best now and best eternally for us. The enemy uses selfishness to keep us out. Jesus expects us to give not so we will be poor, but so we will have abundance. Living to be selfish is human nature and is of the kingdom of darkness. LIVING TO GIVE is living in the kingdom of God. So, where are you in relation to your giving or selfishness?
Let’s get practical. Most of us have things laying around our house, or in storage, we will never use. Why not give those things away? Why not give those things to someone who both needs and will use them? Those things in your attic, garage, closet, or basement are simply sitting there getting older when someone could use them. Why not use those things to learn to LIVE TO GIVE?
Not long ago, I gave away a boat and trailer. It was a small boat and sat in our backyard for years unused. It was a perfect size little John Boat for Queen City reservoir. However, it was full of leaves and had flat tires on the trailer. It was going to waste in my backyard. It had sentimental value to me. Before my dad passed away in 1999, he enjoyed going with me to Queen City reservoir and fishing. Also, our grandchildren would play in it pretending to fish. One day I felt impressed of the Lord to give it away. I thought, “What? Its’s a memory for me.” We come up with all sorts of excuses to be selfish. I heard back, “Some memory – full of leaves, seats rotting out, flat tires.” Being the spiritual person I am, I pushed the thought out and kept my boat. However, every time I walked passed it, I felt convicted. I knew it would be sitting there five years from now, so I decided to give it away. Well, let me be honest. First, I was going to sell it for $100. Someone had seen it and said if I ever wanted to get rid of it let them know. In my attempt to find the person, someone I knew expressed interest in it. I said, “OK Lord. I get it. You said, ‘GIVE IT AWAY’.” I gave him the boat, but only after I cleaned out the leaves and got the tires fixed. I also gave him a nice electric trolling motor I had sitting around also.
I’ve got so much “stuff” I don’t use and much of it is pretty nice stuff. I’ve decided I am on a mission to give stuff away. Most likely you have “stuff” lying around you will never use – clothes (I have so many clothes to give away), cooking utensils, baby clothes, lawn mowers, books (I have so many books to give away. I think I am going to pile them on a table and say, “Help yourself.”)
“There is a story that says in Africa (and in India), the natives use a technique to catch monkeys. They hollow out one end of a coconut and they put peanuts in there (I’ve also heard bananas… but same concept). The monkey puts his hand in the coconut and when he makes a fist to grab the peanuts, he’s trapped. The natives will pull a string attached to the other end of the coconut and capture the monkey.”
The monkey was captured by selfishness. To be free, all the monkey needed to do was let go of the peanuts. Stuff traps us – peanuts – and keeps us from experiencing the freedom we want. We hold on to our peanuts never experiencing the kingdom of God. Let go of your peanuts, or banana, or whatever it is holding you. God has way better things ahead for you if you will let go. Open your hand to others. Be a giver instead of only a taker. There is a whole world out there needing help and you are never more like God than when you give.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
God gave his most precious Son to the world and desires to give us all things. Surely we can give our peanuts.
God promised Abraham he would bless him, but notice the entire promise.
(Amplified) Genesis 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will BE A BLESSING[dispensing good to others].
The promise included not only Abraham would be blessed by God. It also included Abraham being a blessing in return – dispensing his stuff to others. I want to make certain we get it. Abraham needed to “BE” something in connection with getting blessed by God. Abraham was to BE A BLESSING. He was blessed to BE A BLESSING. He was to BE A GIVER. Abraham was to LIVE TO GIVE. If we are not willing to be a blessing, we will not be blessed the way God desires to bless us. God will pour out his favor and amazing blessings in connection with and if you will BE A BLESSING to others. So, who have you blessed this week? You told me you would do the Isaiah 58 fast.
“But Delbert, I don’t have a boat and trailer to give away. I don’t have anything to give.” Sure you do, but first let me say, it’s not the size of what you give as much as it’s the attitude to BE a giver. You’ve got to BE faithful in the small things before God will trust you with much.
Luke 19:17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have BEEN TRUSTWORTHY IN A VERY SMALL MATTER, take charge of ten cities.’
People say things like, “If I win the lottery, I will give the church 10%.” If you can’t give $1 when you only have $10, you won’t. If you can’t give up your peanuts, there’s no way you will release big stuff. Let me tell you something. It’s difficult if not impossible to sit down and write a $10,000 check to the kingdom if you can’t give a tithe of what you have now. It’s not the size coming into play. It’s the heart. Abraham had to BE A GIVER and you know you are if you are faithful with the small.
You have something you can give. This is really not the question. The question is “When will you BE A BLESSING?” You must begin right where you are. If you will be faithful with your “small,” God will take it from there.
You may not have a boat to give away, or a lot of money, but you could buy someone a meal. You could help a transient find a night’s shelter, or provide some clothes for someone less fortunate than you. You could maybe check on someone who is sick and take their family supper. Have you ever visited someone in prison? Now is the time to develop an attitude of giving – to BE a blessing. Now is the time to learn how to LIVE TO GIVE.
Nothing we do touches the heart of God like our helping others. He loves it when we come together and worship and celebrate his goodness. He loves it when we sing, pray and study his word, etc, but nothing touches God like when we determine to “BE A BLESSING.”
There’s an amazing story Jesus told. It broadsided me when I read it in the context we are speaking today. I didn’t see it coming. He was talking to his disciples telling them about the time of judgment of all nations meaning EVERYONE. When Jesus did this, he wanted them to know even the Jew would be included in the judgment. Some people then, as now, think they will miss this. He said all people would be divided into two groups, only two. He would separate people as a shepherd separated sheep from goats. The sheep would be placed on his right hand and the goats would be placed on his left. He would then speak to the sheep on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the KINGDOM prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Here’s why… not because they could quote scripture, or obeyed all the commands. Here’s why…
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me SOMETHING TO EAT, I was thirsty and you gave meSOMETHING TO DRINK, I was a stranger and you INVITED ME IN, I needed clothes and you CLOTHED ME, I was sick and you LOOKED AFTER ME, I was in prison and you CAME TO VISIT ME.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, WHEN did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? WHEN did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? WHEN did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, WHATEVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS OF MINE, YOU DID FOR ME.’
WHEN did I be a blessing? WHEN I learned to “LIVE TO GIVE.” I don’t even want to talk about what happens to those who refused to let go of their peanuts on his left. Isn’t this an amazing thought? A person who learns to BE A BLESSING does have an effect on their own eternity.
Make certain we get it. Jesus didn’t say to give money to the person who needed something to eat, or money to the person who needed something to drink, or money to the person needing clothing, etc. We think we have to give money. No.
We learned a long time ago to avoid giving money if at all possible. Obviously, some people who need something to eat or drink can’t handle money. Years ago, we had a woman in our church. She told us she was broke and needed food for her children, so we gave her money to get some food. Later the same afternoon, I received a phone call from the woman’s neighbor and was told the woman to whom we gave money was sitting at her table drinking beer, smoking pot, and laughing at us because she outsmarted us. I sent a couple to check out the story. It was true. She had more food in her cabinets and refrigerator than any of us had. Don Dowda oversees our benevolence giving for Life Gate Church. It’s seldom we give money. We will pay an electric bill, but the check goes to the place of business. We will send them to Shop Rite to see Doug Eaker if they need food. Don will work with the hotel/motel if they need shelter. We will call the gas station if they need gas. My point is you can do this. It’s not about your money. It’s about letting go of your peanuts.
When we give anything to people, we are actually giving to God.
Proverbs 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and HE WILL REWARD HIM FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE.
I’m telling you to BE A BLESSING. Nothing touches the heart of God as much as when we LIVE TO GIVE.
Someone needs exactly what you have to give. You may not have money, so you must have time. You have an encouraging word and a hug. Surely you have a cup/bottle of water. I want to leave you with this thought today: WHATEVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS OF MINE, YOU DID FOR ME.What have you done for someone lately?
Is there “one thing” in your life you lack as did the wealthy young man who came to Jesus? Jesus loves us, but we can go away sad if we are selfish and never enter the kingdom of God.
How difficult is it for you to give? Is it as difficult as getting a camel through the eye of a needle?
BE A BLESSING. God’s blessing your life is in direct connection with your being a blessing to others.
If the end judgment came this moment, on which side would the Lord align you?
Peanuts Coconut Blessing and Money – sermon video audio notes
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