Things Jesus Never Said
Part 2: “Follow Me and You Will Have Nice Things”
I made a statement last week, I love to hear people quote the words of Jesus! However, sometimes they may quote it wrong or conveniently live their lives ignoring some important teaching Christ laid out for us. Today we present Part 2 of our Sermon Series “Things Jesus Never Said!” “Follow Me and You Will Have Nice Things”
Have you ever had a time when you could truly say; “I don’t need anything else, I have everything I need” or “If I never went anywhere else than where I am, or felt any different than I do right now, I’d be okay with that?”
There are times in my life, when I’ve needed to go without food – either because of a planned spiritual fast, stomach disorder, a medical test requiring a fast, etc. or maybe just a time when work and situations did not afford eating for an extended period. When I was finally able to eat, a simple item such as a Saltine cracker or a plain piece of toast made my taste buds dance for joy! There was just nothing better I’ve ever tasted than that simple food item. Or perhaps being so parched and in need of water, that a lukewarm cup of water tasted so good, you couldn’t ever imagine wanting anything else to drink or needing your drinks to be chilled or on ice.
In both instances, the simplest item had an incredibly positive affect on your thought process. Those items sure were “nice!”
How about being stranded with a flat tire, in the middle of nowhere with no one around? You get out your spare tire, your jack and realize you have no lug wrench to allow you to change your tire. There you sit. A car goes by, you flag them down, yes, they are willing to lend you their lug wrench, but lo and behold, it’s one size too small, there’s just no way it’s going to fit. They go on and you wait for the next vehicle. You wait a couple more hours, you’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re thirsty, frustrated and you are going to be late for an appointment if something doesn’t happen quickly. Finally, you hear an approaching vehicle! A rusty, dilapidated old truck with a toothless old man at the wheel, slows down and comes to a stop beside you. You ask him if he has a lug wrench. He smiles a toothless smile, hops out of his old truck, rummages through the junk piled up in the bed and he pulls out a rusty 4-way tire lug wrench! Sure enough, you try the first one – too big, the next one, too small, try number three and it fits perfectly! Right then, you look at that old rusty lug wrench and it is the nicest thing you have ever seen. Why is it so nice? Because it’s what you so desperately needed! The old man helps you break loose your lug nuts, jack up your car and before you know it, you’re on your way!
What things are actually nice? Nice: pleasing, agreeable, delightful
So… In the context of your situation, the Saltine cracker, the cup of lukewarm water, a rusty lug wrench were all, by definition, “nice!” Certainly, in the context of what was going on in your life, they were all “pleasing, agreeable, and delightful!” However, if we had our druthers, we would rather be afforded our favorite snack, in abundance, plus our favorite iced beverage served to us and “self-inflatable” tires that re-inflated once punctured allowing you to drive up to 50 miles to the next service station where someone else would change your tire, allowing for minimum inconvenience. Now that – would be nice, right?
Jesus never said if you follow Him, become a disciple of His, you would have nice things, at least not by your definition anyway. He didn’t say you wouldn’t have nice things, nor did he say it was categorically wrong to have nice things, but He did say that your view of nice things would need a different perspective of “nice” when compared with the world’s definition.
What does Jesus offer us that’s nice, i.e. “pleasing, agreeable, and delightful?” Let’s find out!
Luke 14:25-33 - 25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ 31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.
Okay, it’s obvious by Christ’s words here, there is no guarantee your list of “niceties” are yours for the asking. So, let’s get a little more perspective on what you do get from Jesus as His devoted follower.
John 10:9-14 - 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.
Matthew 6:25-34 - 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God[e] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
John 14:1-2, 23-27 - “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Let’s start a list of “nice” things you get for being a follower of Christ!
In Closing, let’s look at another story about nice things found in the Gospel of Luke
Luke 18:18-30 - 18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’[c]” 21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. 24 When Jesus saw this,[d] he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” 27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” 28 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
You want nice things? Give everything up to follow Christ and be repaid by the Almighty God who was, and is, and is to come. And get nice things? “pleasing, agreeable, and delightful?” – Can you think of anything you’d want more important than what Christ can give to you? How about it?
In a book published in 1954, by Ivor Paul called “Bible Windows” we find a remarkable story:
The tale began with the death of the rich man and the auction of his household goods. The only person to bid on a photograph of the dead man’s son was an elderly woman dressed in shabby clothes, who was later revealed to have been the dead child’s nurse. Her charge, we are told, died at an early age, yet she had loved the boy dearly and so wanted his likeness as a keepsake. In that telling of the legend, when the poor woman examined at home the photograph she had just bought, she noticed a bulge in the heavy paper on the back of its frame. She made a small cut into the backing paper and pulled from the opening an envelope containing the wealthy man’s missing will. Said document clearly stated that his estate was to go the one who still held dear the memory of his beloved son.
This is what we know about following Jesus: Take the Son and the Father’s entire estate is yours. How “Nice” is that?