Life was designed to be lived in community.

07/31/16 Great Balance!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Monday, August 1, 2016 Under: Sermon
Great Christians Series – Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

Intro: Here is a question many Christians will never ask you; are you deeply and richly enjoying your life? Balance is a common word in our everyday communications. You might have a problem keeping your balance if the boat is rocking back and forth. If you have ever been ice skating or roller skating you no if you lose your balance and fall it could be a painful experience. With the Olympics coming up the Gymnast need flexibility and balance so they can compete well. You might hear someone say about somebody else they have a good sense of balance. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has said to lose weight, you need the proper balance of diet and exercise. Last but not least how often have you heard the statement made; it’s important to keep your life in balance. Balance defined is the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall. It is the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling and a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal amount of importance. If you are not enjoying great moments, if you are not enjoying life you are off balance. Great Christians enjoy great moments, they enjoy life, they have a good sense of balance.

In the previous weeks we have learned great Christians pray great prayers, think great thoughts, read great books, pursue great people and dream great dreams, take great risk, and make great sacrifices. This week we find that Great Christians enjoy great moments; you might say they have a great balance towards the events of life!

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. 12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (NKJV)

Did you catch what verse 13 said? Being happy and finding satisfaction are gifts from God. A lot of good Christians are busy and stressed and enduring hardship without understanding the joy that comes from God, but there aren’t any great Christians like that.

Text: Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (NASB)

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. 19 Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.”

Are you filled with contentment from simply being alive, knowing God loves you, and seeing the opportunities He’s placed before you? Or do you find yourself looking back with regret and looking forward with anxiety-busy and stressed, focused and driven, chasing after the happiness that never comes?

1. Great Christians Have A Stability: “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.”

Great Christians are focused and disciplined, making great sacrifices and taking great risks. They get a lot done, but they’re also fun to be around. You can’t be a Mannequin for Christ and expect to really enjoy life.

I believe scripture gives us at least five reasons that we are to enjoy great moments both for our own well-being and to fulfill God’s purpose.

A. It reminds us of God’s Goodness: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 (NASB)

God is into giving good things to His people, the promise of this verse is that He has plenty to give and desire to give it. But if we can’t stop long enough to enjoy His gifts, we forget them. We take them for granted, turn our focus to all the challenges of life, and then struggle with all the anxieties that come from such a negative focus. When we enjoy God’s blessings, it reminds us that all good things come from Him, more than that; it reminds us that He is good!

B. It sustains us in Adversity: “Then he said to them, "Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10 (NASB)

The example of Nehemiah is a powerful reminder that even in the rubble of destruction the joy of the Lord is your strength, so according to the Word of God, they threw a party. The joy of the Lord was their strength, it’s also ours.

C. It honors God as the source of Joy: “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 (NASB)

Enjoying great moments is important because it honors God, who is the source of all joy. If I asked your spouse, your best friend, or one of your children if you were a happy person-someone who really enjoys life-how would they answer?

You might have a problem if your monthly calendar stays so full there is never time just to relax and enjoy life. So what does your calendar look like?

D. It connects our heart to those we love: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NASB)

We may enjoy some great moments when we’re alone, but most of them are a shared experience. When all these people came to see Mary and the son of God, I believe there were some great moments. I would ponder too!

We have little slices of time that fills us with joy, the birth of a baby, a beautiful sunset, a wedding day, graduation, the day we accepted Christ, and God wants us to treasure them. But we treasure them even more when we celebrate them with others, especially those close to our heart. I just like to refer that to fellowship! There is a great example of this when Jesus is in the upper room with His disciples just prior to leaving for the cross He had a Passover meal with them.

E. God uses the joy of great moments to renew us: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 (NASB)

We got some church members with some dried up bones, that’s not good. Great Christians enjoy great moments! I think we forget that the Sabbath wasn’t about what we can’t do. It’s God’s way of telling us not to stress like unbelievers who feel they have to work seven days a week. He urges us to stop, rest, worship, kick back, take a deep breath, and enjoy one another. The Sabbath is a required vacation day because God knew we’d never get around to it as an option. It’s a chance to look back over the last week and say “Isn’t God good? Let’s enjoy what He has given us.”

That’s one of those verses that modern science confirms completely. Laughter builds the immune system and restores health. God designed us to enjoy life.

2. Great Christians Have A Steadiness:

“For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.”

If heaviness is always the tone of your life, you’ll be out of balance, and a lot of other areas of your life will be negatively affected. Balance is important, even in our discipleship, I should say especially in our discipleship.

  • “Joy is the serious business of heaven,” C.S. Lewis

Are you deeply and richly enjoying your life? Most people are waiting to enjoy life, how long have you been waiting? Why are so many of us discouraged all the time and weighed down with seriousness?

There are some factors that undermine our ability to enjoy great moments; first there is a distorted view of God. If you have ever been to a carnival and gone in the funhouse and look at yourself in the mirrors, your amazed how distorted the image of you is. Many good Christians miss out of being great because they see a distorted view of God in their mind. In the parable of the prodigal son the older brother had a distorted view of how God should have dealt with the wayward brother. When you don’t experience joy, you don’t have the strength of the Lord, and you end up in a performance trap that’s steeped in self-effort and absolutely no fun. Another factor that undermines our ability to enjoy great moments is a warped Theology of pleasure. Pleasure has been polluted and distorted to the degree that many consider it the opposite of godliness. That’s one of the ways Satan has corrupted the goodness of God’s creation. It’s a live-for-today, go-for-the-gusto philosophy, and exalts worldly pleasure above godliness. We have equated pleasure with sin, WRONG! God invented pleasure.

When you walk with God and are able to stop and enjoy what He has provided, you get refreshed and renewed. Learn to enjoy the little things! I think God wants us to stop sometimes, look to the right and the left, and notice that it’s a beautiful life full of blessings like spouses, children, parents, friends, wonderful meals, fascinating landscapes, and awe-inspiring skies. The early church transformed the world, and joy was one of the main reasons. They owned a Honda right? “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17 (NASB)

Enjoyable, renewing activities are the key to healing and effectiveness in leadership. If you feel guilty having fun, maybe it will help to remember that enjoying the richness of God’s gifts is a command. Not to enjoy life is actually disobedient! As C.S. Lewis said: “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

Conclusion: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)

Get serious about having fun; SLOW DOWN, speed kills joy. Spiritual development and intimacy with God are impossible in a hurried life. “Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 (KJV) SLIM DOWN; this isn’t a weight-loss plan-not literally, anyway. Slim down in other areas of your life: simplify your schedule, don’t let yourself get overextended. Realize that your priority in life should be a relationship with Christ, not an agenda for Him. Be careful not to always be the Martha and not the Mary; Mary sat at the feet of Jesus while Martha was busy being a good hostess. SIT DOWN; learn to live in the present. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NASB) “Rejoice always; (present tense) 17 pray without ceasing; (present tense) 18 in everything give thanks; (present tense) for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Life will become a lot more enjoyable when we take stock, focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have, drink it all in, and thank Him! What blessing from God can you celebrate today? You got an Ocean nearby? Family…? Is your life Balanced? Are you enjoying any great moments? Great Christians do!

In : Sermon 

Tags: "book of ecclesiastes" "great christians series" 
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