All In Week Three: Involved
Today we're going to continue the sermon series that we've been working on together over the past several weeks--a sermon series entitled "I'm All In!"
This series will help us see more clearly how we can live an "All-In" kind of life as we seek to follow Jesus together.
Throughout this series, we've been focusing on four fundamental aspects of being all-in: Invited, Included, Involved, and Invested.
We've learned that if we're going to be all-in, we should invite others into the joy we find in Jesus. We've learned that if we're going to be all-in, we need to welcome others and ensure they are included.
And today, we'll learn what it means to be involved as an expression of being all-in.
I'm going to share a statement with you and kind of let it sit there to see whether you think it's as accurate as I believe it is:
Busyness is the newest status symbol that demonstrates how successful we are.
We live in a busy world. I did some research and found the following figures, which were true before the pandemic, and I am sure are even more true now.
The average office worker receives about 121 emails a day. We spend 30-50% of our time in meetings, and about 60% of them are considered pointless. We have so much to do that only 1 in 3 say they can effectively prioritize their tasks. We spend, on average, almost 6 hours per day on digital devices. As a result, 40% of knowledge workers feel exhausted.
A group of sociologists experimented on this very thing using social media, and their study ended up in The Atlantic.
The study compared the reactions to several people's social media posts. Some people constantly posted about how busy they were, and others posted about all the leisure activities they were engaged in daily.
Another group was invited to view all of the posts and then was surveyed about them afterward. The overall impression was that the people who constantly posted about how busy they were, were more successful than those who didn't.
Busyness is a status symbol. It's the new badge of honor, a symbol of success.
Here's the reality. We are busier than we used to be, mainly because there are blurrier lines between work and personal life. Many also work from home, making the lines even more blurry.
We work longer hours, never shut down our email, never walk away from our phones for a while, and stay plugged into the internet, TV, and the like, so we are always humming with things to do and ponder.
Because we think if we unplug or slow down, we'll miss something or fall behind, or someone will take our place, steal our thunder... that we won't have enough if we don't keep grasping for it.
And all of this comes from the same source: Scarcity.
When we live our lives from a place of scarcity, we go around believing that there isn't enough, that we aren't enough. This leads to fear, leading to the worst behavior, self-centeredness, and destruction.
So yeah, it's pretty serious.
Jesus declared that scarcity is not part of God's purpose. He taught that the life that God means for us to live is one of abundance and joy.
In fact, our main point today is gleaned directly from the teachings of Jesus about scarcity vs. abundance. Here it is:
WE'RE ALL IN WHEN OUR INVOLVEMENT FLOWS FROM AN ABUNDANT LIFE
We're focusing on two verses today--both from Jesus' teachings on abundant life and the kingdom of God: John 10:7-10 and Matthew 6:31-33
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
This passage has been misinterpreted a ton over the years, typically by those who have a vested interest in it being a simple salvation message, which it is, and isn't.
Jesus is offering a referendum on the demanding religious leaders of his day, who heap all kinds of rules and regulations on people when they don't really keep them themselves.
The Pharisees are addressed here as people who lean toward religiosity, appearances, piety, and the like. They essentially teach that the path to God's heart is by the things you do rather than the condition of your heart.
The reason why this passage is so crucial for us today is that it has been used over the centuries to promote what has commonly been known as the Protestant work ethic, which stems from strict Calvinism, hyper-capitalism and a sense of entitlement.
In other words, you work hard because you want to show that you are among the elect, the saved, the righteous. Your work becomes the thing that saves you, even though you give lip service to grace.
This ethic is based on scarcity--as in there's only so much pie to go around, so make sure you get as much pie as possible, and you sure as hell don't want people who you believe don't deserve pie to get any.
Jesus resists this teaching in favor of an ethic of abundance and generosity. He offers an ethic of grace and forgiveness, a vision of God's economy which offers up the notion that there is always enough for everyone. He presents a theology of work that is based on human flourishing, not selfishness and greed.
And in his teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presents a way to live abundantly where you focus on this idea that there is enough for everyone in this verse: Matthew 6:31-33
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The idea that Jesus is presenting here is that by focusing on the things that matter most, the things that are eternal, grounded in God's reality, we truly live. We don't have to worry about anything else because it will be all right. There is enough.
What we can learn from these passages and the teachings of Jesus both here and elsewhere is that Busyness for busyness sake is a by-product of a life lived in scarcity, and it can keep us from being our truest and best selves.
So what do we do with all of this, especially as it relates to being all-in when it comes to our life together as a family of faith?
I think there are three questions that we need to ask ourselves on a consistent basis in order to avoid living in scarcity when it comes to our faith, our life, our time, talent and treasure.
1. How is what I’m doing contributing to bringing God’s Kingdom to earth? This is a question that we can ask of every task, every action, every aspect of our life. It's not so much a way to prohibit us from doing things that aren't holy, as it is to find the holy in the things that we are doing.
2. Am I clear about my “Why” when it comes to the choices I’m making? Discovering our why is one of the most important things that we can do when it comes to living in abundance, and focusing on the eternal. Tell the story of your why
3. What do I need to let go of in order to pick up something better? This is where we get to make decisions about things that aren't helpful and perhaps even harmful to our efforts to be our best and truest selves.
This brings us to our theme of being all-in, and also to the topic today of being involved.
Being involved in your church can be incredibly life-giving, but we have to let go of scarcity and live from abundance.
What are you uniquely positioned to do?
How can I offer my gifts without falling into the Pharisee trap?
What can I do today to let go of busyness in favor of wholeness?
WE'RE ALL IN WHEN OUR INVOLVEMENT FLOWS FROM AN ABUNDANT LIFE