my teeth hurt – faithfulness

Here are the slides from this week’s ManSchool uprising 11 faithfulness

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We talked about faithfulness this morning.  There was much to discuss.  McManus talked about saving for retirement.  If you are 21 and plan to work for 50 years to 71 and then live to age 91 – 20 years of no working – you’re going to need a retirement fund.  If you save $284 a month, every month and invest it, when you are 71, you’ll have $1.2 million.  A present action determines a future outcome.  But, of course, this takes discipline.  It’s hard when you want to stop by Starbucks or buy another coat or finance that new car when you are supposed to be saving $284/month.  Very typically, we sacrifice the future for the present.  We overspend and hope it will just work out.

He talked about their church where 2,000 adults give a $3 million annual budget.  That’s an average of $1,500 each a year.  As he said, that’s good if you make $15,000 a year however, if you make $30,000 a year you’re falling short.  They rent their building and in six years will need to move.  However, if these 2,000 adults could give just $60 a week more, in six years the church could write a check for $5 million to buy that building.  But we trade the future for the present.  A present action (or inaction) determines a future outcome.

This same theme is true for losing weight or exercising.  We all want the outcome but very few of us are willing to do the work.  Perhaps it is a lack of faithfulness to the mission.

One of the men this morning shared he had been struggling with debt and was living with a bit of shame but he took the Dave Ramsey course 5 years ago and set up a 7 year plan to eliminate debt in his life.  He’s almost there!  Just 2 years to go.  But as he said, it wasn’t easy.  He had to take it one day at a time, one step at a time and he had to remain faithful.  A present action is determining his future outcome.

Yesterday, I got Invisalign for my teeth.  As I’ve aged, my mouth has started to crowd and my teeth were crossing over causing some discomfort.  My dentist has been after me for more than a year to visit an orthodontist.  Well, finally, I did and yesterday, I had the “pleasure” of getting these trays installed on my teeth.  I have to pry them out when I eat and shove them back into place afterwords.  My teeth hurt and prying these things off is NO fun.  And guess what, I get to to this for the next 9-10 months.  Every day.  Every meal for the next 300+ days.  I want the outcome but I’m really not too excited about the day to day struggle this will be.  A present action will determine a future outcome. 

Here’s the thing – nowhere are we promised a smooth and easy ride.  We are going to fail.  A lot.  We are going to fall down.  A lot.  There are going to be struggles – just in our small group alone, man, the struggles!  But we get back up again and again.  We don’t do this alone.  We have our community around us, our brotherhood.  We call each other UP to a higher standard.  We take it one day at a time.  One step.  One breath.  Rinse and repeat.

Read Luke 19 and the Parable of the 10 minas.  The key takeaway from this passage is this – God is going to hold each one of us accountable for the gifts He’s given us.  The good news is that he will not compare my results to yours.  My gifts are different than yours and God will only be concerned with with how I used my gifts.  For you, He’ll only be concerned with how you used your particular gifts.  He won’t compare us.  He won’t compare you to Andy Stanley or Keith Cowart or Erwin McManus.  That’s good news!

God gives each of us gifts and He expects us to use them.  Too many of us are settling for mediocrity.  Too many of us are willing to be average.  God is calling you up to more than average.  He dreamed you up with great abilities and talents and He can’t wait to see what you do with them.  Shouldn’t we strive to be the best in world at what we do?  If I am passionate about my work, shouldn’t I dream big dreams and develop the disciplines to be the very best at my job?  What about my marriage?  Shouldn’t I strive to be the best husband in the world?  I know those are crazy statements but think about that – how are you living your days?  Humdrum and just do it again tomorrow or are you living with a grand vision for your life/marriage/mission/fathering/physical conditioning?

Faithfulness is the key.  Walking daily with the Lord.  Step by step, breath by breath.  God’s only concerned with what you do with these gifts He’s entrusted to you.  As we see in Luke 19, He rewards the faithful steward with exponential responsibilities.  This is a picture of the Kingdom.  Faithful in the small things = a rich future outcome.

A present action will determine a future outcome.  It requires faithfulness.

LiveUP!

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