As we continue our Outsiders series, we take a look at Luke 18:18-34 to see how Jesus is our true treasure. He is our prize, our provider, and our provision. When we see Jesus truly, we will be able to love the outsider fully.
God Loves Outsiders
Our True Treasure
Why We're Reluctant to Rescue Outsiders
Warming Cold Hearts
Forgiven Much, Loves Much
Jesus Came to Bring the Outsiders In
Well, good morning! I'm excited to be here this morning. We are coming at you, again, live through the month of July moving through our Outsiders series. As Jeff did say, it is my birthday today, and not just metaphorically. It's great to be here. If you have your Bibles, go ahead and turn with me to Luke 18. That's where we're going to be this morning. It is my birthday, and I'm excited to be here. I'm 31. My hairline is 54. There you have it. As you turn there, let me pray for us one more time before we jump into our passage this morning.
Father, I just thank you that we have a reason to meet. Thank you that you know the situations of every single person in this room. You know their hearts. You know their struggles. You know their pains. You know their joys. Yet, God, the answer for every single one of us in here is you. It's you!
I'd like to invite you now to pray for yourself and really just pray this question to God: "God, what in my life do I value more than you or I'm tempted to value more than you?"
Lord, I know for me it can be my comfort. It can be my performance. It can be what other people think of me. Father, I pray for myself and for everyone in here that before we get going this morning we would just lay that down before you. Lord, we love you. Be with us this morning. You do what you want. In Jesus' name, amen.
Well, I got some bad news in the mail a few weeks back from an old friend of mine. I've known him for years. He sent out this little postcard to close friends and family just basically telling us he didn't have a lot of time to live. In fact, at this point, he only has a few months.
On December 28, just a few days after Christmas, my buddy will be dead. He's getting married that day. I know! It's tragic. It's tragic because everyone in here knows your wedding day is also your funeral. The single part of your self dies on the altar before God and everyone else. The single you is no more. It is dead. Amen!
You have to die now to yourself every single day (die to how you spend your time, how you spend your energy, how you spend your money). As you unite yourself to another person until death do you part, you are committing yourself to dying every single day, so, ladies, I'm sure your wedding day was beautiful.
I'm sure you looked beautiful. I'm sure your hair looked beautiful. I'm sure the dress looked beautiful. I'm sure, as you walked down the aisle, birds and butterflies just chirped alongside you. I'm sure it was beautiful, but it did not take you long before you realized you married a dude. You married a man!
Men are smelly. Men are hairy. Men snore. Men make noises when they stand up and sit down that only belong in a zoo. Men don't get you about 95 percent of the time, and that's on our good days. Right? I don't know what you dreamed about regarding your wedding day, but it did not take you long to realize you married a man, and you have to die to yourself about how you spend your time and energy and money and all of these different things until death do you part.
Men, I don't know how you dreamed married life would be, but you found out really quickly things changed when you got married. Your schedule changed with not just what you do in your free time. Rather, the mere fact that you can get anywhere on time anymore… You used to be able to wake up, get dressed, and leave. Not any more, because you have to wait an enormous amount of time to leave for anything. You'll be ready to go. Then, you'll hear that dreaded, "It's just going to be five minutes. I'm getting ready. It's just five minutes."
Let's be honest, ladies. That's called a lie. It's just a lie! Just own it! You can't leave when you want to leave now. Not only that, your friendship groups radically changed. You used to be friends with people who you knew and enjoyed and got along with. Now, you're just friends with whoever's husband your wife is friends with. Your best friend is a guy you don't even like but is a friend by proximity and marriage. You married into his friendship.
Not only that, what you do with your friends radically changed. Your priorities changed. Once upon a time, you could be hanging out with your friends and they go, "Let's go watch the game! Let's hang out. Let's do stuff together." You'd go, "Great!" You could go and do that. Not anymore because what you have to do now is this. Everyone is going to be going to play games or hang out or watch the game. You go, "That sounds great. One second… Babe, is it cool if me and the boys go and watch the game at Tim's house?"
"Okay. I'll meet you at Bed Bath & Beyond. I love you, babe." "Sorry. I have to go shopping."
Your friendships change. Your free time changes. You used to be able to come home after a long day and just kind of zone out to the world. Not anymore because when you come home from a long day you have to debrief the day you just lived to your wife, and when you listen to her, you can't just be looking at the TV.
You have to listen not just with your ears. You have to listen with your face. You have to be attuned to her because she wants to know details about your day, and a whopping, "It was good," isn't going to cut it. She wants to know details about the day you just lived and the details about those details and further details about those details, including how you felt about those details you just explained within a detailed context.
Then, she wants you to ask her details about her day. You have to say things like, "That would make me feel that way," or "I can't believe she said that," or "How did you feel about that feeling you just expressed with the feelings you felt?" You have to be attuned to her. You're going to be in tune to what she's saying, and as she is relaying a very simple detail about her day, she's going to start crying, and you're not going to know why.
Then, you're going to do the dumbest possible thing you can do in that moment, gentlemen. You're going to try to fix her with your talking, and that has never worked. In the history of marriage, it has never worked, so stop trying it. Listen. Engage. Nod. That's what you're there for. That's the purpose of your existence in that moment.
As she starts crying, you're going to try to fix her. Then, she's just going to start crying more. Then, you have to tell yourself in that moment that you have to draw that circle around yourself and somehow own your percentage of things you now have messed up with her even though you're like, "I think she's 95 percent at fault, but I'm going to own 100 percent of my 5 percent, and I have to do it first because I want to be the initiator in this relationship."
You're reminding yourself the entire time that you committed to this mess and that you have committed to die to yourself every moment of every day for the rest of your life until you die. That's marriage. So why are people getting married? Why isn't anyone trying to stop my friend? Because we've seen the way she looks at him. We've seen the way he looks at her. We've seen the way he spends time with her, and it's the same way I look at my wife, and it's the same way, gentlemen, I hope you look at your wife.
If I were to stack all of these different things up about what marriage is when you really get into it, he would look at all of that. Then, he would look at her and he would say, "She is worth it. She's better. For better or for worse, whatever I have to give up and whatever I have to do and however much my life changes after this moment on December 28, I'm saying, 'Yes.' Why? Because I want her. I want her."
The truth is, as we come into a relationship with Christ, it's really no different. We come into this relationship with Christ, and there are certain things about this new relationship we have found that have to change. There are certain things we do that we never thought we would do. There are certain things we no don't do that we always thought were going to be a part of our lives. There are going to be relationships that begin to shift and change.
Yet, if we were to stack everything up of all of the things we would have to give up in order to follow Jesus, if we were to truly see Jesus rightly, all of us would say the same thing. "He's worth it. He's worth it. For better or for worse, whatever I have to give up, I want him and him alone." Yet, the tragedy is many of us in here, if we're honest, don't see Jesus as more valuable. We don't see Jesus as worth it. We don't see Jesus as the most important thing of our lives.
Maybe once upon a time we did, but over time we begin to replace him with all of these different counterfeits. We go to things like our jobs and our money and our possessions and what other people think of us and where we are on the hierarchy level of our work or what other people think of our kids or whether or not our kids are succeeding in the way we've kind of predetermined what our kids should succeed in.
We start to make these tradeoffs in our lives. We trade Christ for our comfort. We trade Jesus for things that are ultimately going to end up in a junkyard. We trade our true treasure for some trinkets we can buy on Amazon Prime Day. We've made this horrible tradeoff. Then, we wonder why we're stressed, why we're anxious, why we're afraid we're going to lose everything we have even though we have more than we've ever had in our lives. We go to the world and we drink saltwater, and we wonder why we're still thirsty.
This morning, all I want to do is realign our hearts back to seeing Jesus for who he truly is because when we see Jesus for who he truly is we'll be able to love others rightly. This morning, we're going to be talking about Jesus as our true treasure. In order to do that, we're going to be in Luke 18, a very familiar passage of Scripture for those who have been around church for a while, about the rich, young ruler. This is a part of our series over The Outsiders about how we engage with those who are outside of the people of God.
How do we engage with those who don't look like us, don't believe like we do? The unique part about this individual we're going to see is that he actually looks a lot like us. He looks a lot like us. He has everything going on. He has everything we really want. As we move through this passage, we're going to see Jesus for who he truly is, our true treasure.
We're going to spend the bulk of our time really looking at him and seeing him. We're going to see him as our prize, we're going to see him as our provider, and we're going to see him as our payment. When we see Jesus for these three things (who he truly is), when we see Jesus truly we'll be able to love outsiders fully. That's what we're doing, so let's jump right in. Jesus is our true treasure because…
1._ He is our prize_. He is what our hearts long for. He is the thing by which we were made to enjoy and live life with and have life and life to the fullest, so let's pick up in verse 18. It says, "A ruler…" Let's pause. We find out from other gospels this ruler was rich and he was young.
Another way to say it is he has power, he has possessions, and he's in the prime spot of his life. He has power, possessions, and the prime spot of his life. This man who is talking to Jesus, this ruler who is approaching Jesus, has what we all want. He is the personification of the American dream. He has everything we desperately want. We want power, we want possessions, and we want to be in the prime sweet spot of life, however we define that.
The thing about any commercial you can think of… What do they offer? It's power. It's possessions. It's how to get that right spot in life, that prime area. If you just get this or get this or buy this or purchase this… If you have all of this stuff, you'll have what your heart wants. This guy has everything we want.
To be honest with you, one of the reasons why we don't love people like this is because we want to be people like this. He's living in north Dallas. He has a nice house, a nice car, 2.5 well-behaved kids, and on the outside he has everything the world can offer, but on the inside what we're about to see is he's delusional, he's depressed, and he's depraved because he doesn't have his prize. He doesn't have Jesus.
Where do I get that? It's whenever he opens his mouth. It says in verse 18 that the ruler came up. He had everything going on with him and had everything we want and we desire. It says this in verse 18. He's talking to Jesus. "'Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: "Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother."'"
Notice he leaves out, "Do not covet. Do not desire things in replace of me." The rich, young ruler says, "All these I have kept from my youth." **This was a lie."When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack." Then, Jesus says two things. **"'Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich."
This man has everything the world has to offer. He has power, he has possessions, and he's in the prime spot of his life. He has everything we really want, but notice he's delusional. He's delusional. He's delusional about God. When he sees Jesus, he doesn't see Jesus as deity. He sees him as a good teacher, an elevated version of himself. He just goes, "Okay. Jesus, you're a good teacher." He doesn't see Jesus as deity. He's delusional about God and who Jesus is, but he's also delusional about himself.
He looks at himself and goes, "There has to be something I can do in order to get eternal life. There has to be something I can give or earn or possess that would get me to the level of Jesus," so he thinks too highly of himself, and he thinks too lowly of Jesus. He's delusional because that's what power, that's what possessions, and that's what striving after that prime spot of life does to us. It makes us think too highly of ourselves and too lowly of Jesus.
He is delusional, but he's not just delusional; he's depressed. Do you get it? Do you see it? When he comes to Jesus, he's depressed because he knows all of his possessions will one day end up in a junkyard. Yet, he knows none of this stuff will get him what he really needs, which is eternal life, so he's sad coming to Jesus saying, "What do I need to do? I don't have what I ultimately need."
Did you notice it says he was sad leaving? He's sad leaving Jesus. He's depressed leaving Jesus because, though everything he had wasn't getting him what he really needed, he didn't want to give up what he had to get what he really needed. It says he leaves sad. He's depressed, but he's not just depressed. He's depraved because the end of this story is him just simply leaving Jesus.
You see, the problem with possessions, the problem with power, and the problem with us striving for this prime spot in our lives, whatever we define that to be, is it creates a counterfeit Christ. These things create counterfeits of the real thing, which is Jesus. Most of these things aren't bad, but they leave us with a watered-down version of the real thing.
We go to our homes to give us protection, we go to money to give us provision, and we go to a job to give us purpose, but they're counterfeits; they're not the real thing. When we put them in the position of ultimate, it only leaves us delusional, depressed, and depraved. We go to these things thinking we'll have life, but it ends up robbing our life from us.
Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, had everything the world had to offer. He had power, he had possessions, and he was in the prime spot of his career. Everyone wanted to be him. Yet, all this led him to was trying to overdose on some pills so he could commit suicide, because he had everything the world had to offer and everything wasn't the answer.
Jim Carrey at the height of his career after Dumb and Dumber and Dumb and Dumber II and Ace Ventura and Ace Ventura II and all of those wonderful classic movies said, "I wish everyone could get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they would see it's not the answer." And like the great historically accurate documentary of our time, The Greatest Showman taught us,
All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the nightsky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it'll
Never be enough
Never be enough
That little home-wrecker went straight into depravity because it wasn't enough. She even sang about it! The reality of it is we know this. We know this is true. I had dozens of illustrations played out just in this moment alone because this is the declaration of anyone who gets everything they've ever wanted.
They say, "It's not enough." This pursuit has been tried and found wanting, and the tragedy is we still want to try it. We still think the next level and the next level and the bigger bank account and the more this and the more that and more stuff will fill our hearts, and the reality of it is they don't because they were never meant to.
All of us have counterfeits we run to. All of us have things we trade our true prize of Jesus for as we drift toward it and run toward these other counterfeits, so what is it for you? We all have them. Let me ask you this another way. What do you daydream about? Where does your mind naturally go when it's left unchecked? What do you do with uninterrupted time? When you have a free night or a free evening however frequent or however rare that is, what do you do with that time?
What do you spend money on without even thinking about it? Without even thinking about what your budget is or anything like that, what do you spend money on without even thinking? What do you guard above everything else? You just found your counterfeit. You just found what your heart really prizes, but your heart was made for a better prize. Your heart was made for a better prize.
C.S. Lewis said it this way. He said, "It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition…" Put your counterfeit in that quote. "…when infinite joy is offered to us, like an child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." We end up playing in the mud of this life thinking there is life found here when there is an ocean of God waiting for us to swim in.
It's infinite joy. Jesus doesn't lead us to delusion or depression or depravity. He leads us to the light, because he is our prize. He is our prize. Jesus is calling us here to do what he's calling the rich, young ruler to do in verse 22. He says, "There is one thing you need to do. Leave your counterfeit and follow your Christ," or as Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Years ago, I was the rich, young ruler. I was fresh out of college, and I had my dream job. I had a house. I never thought I could get into a house that early. It was a house I didn't think I could afford, but we had no debt and disposable income coming in. On paper, my life looked amazing, and I was absolutely miserable.
I had a relationship with Jesus, but what started to happen was I started to pursue things to try to give me what I knew Jesus had called me to run to him for. I started to turn to my job and my performance and what other people thought of me and my boss and all of these different things to give me what I knew only God could really give me.
What would happen was that over years of doing that my time with Jesus became mechanical. It became forced. I would go to Jesus with my list of my demands and no dependency. All that did was lead me into depravity, depression, and delusion so much so that a guy who was investing in me at that time said, "You're so close to a mental breakdown right now that you're just a few steps away."
Then, I went through a hard season of burnout bordering on a mental breakdown. That's what that gave me. I tried to find life where it couldn't be found, and I forgot about the one thing that mattered most which was following him. I had to give up my job. I had to move out of our house and move into a 48-square foot apartment. It felt that way.
We have two big dogs, and they are territorial. I had to move out. I had to give up. I took a crazy pay cut. I used to tell people, "I'm making a humorous amount of money," and I didn't mean that in a good way. I had to give up everything I thought was giving me life only to find out those things were actually taking it from me.
Over the last couple of years (my wife can attest to this), because of this day by day truly following Jesus and truly seeing him as my prize and my treasure, I've had more joy, I've had more comfort and more peace, I've had more love for other people, I've had more love for outsiders and people who don't look like me, and I've had more (this is what surprised me) laughter in our household.
I used to cry every day, and now I really only cry when I'm laughing so hard, and it's all because of my prize, my God, my King, my hope, my joy, my Savior, my friend, my Father, the one who is always there for me, my comforter, my guide, my King, my Jesus, my prize. Jesus is our treasure because Jesus is our prize, but he's not just our prize.
2._ He is our provider_. He's the provider for the outsider, and he's a provider for the insider. He's the provider for the outsider. If you read in Luke 18:24, he says it this way, that he's going to provide for the outsider. "Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, 'How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For 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.' Those who heard it said, 'Then who can be saved?'"
They had this false theology, that if someone had more power and possessions God somehow liked them more, and Jesus says to them, "It's impossible! It's impossible! It's impossible for somebody to be saved!" All of their power, all of their possessions, and everything they have… If they bring to the altar of God it all equates to one thing: an impossibility for someone to be saved. With man it's impossible, but with God everything is possible. Everything is possible.
You can gather all of your possessions, all your provision, and everything in your life and you bring it to the altar of God, and as Isaiah says, "All of our righteous deeds look like filthy rags before him," so Jesus became the provider for your life. The provider for your deepest need of rescue in salvation is not your stuff. It's not your junk. It's your Jesus, and when you see him rightly he brings you from outside to in, and when you're on the inside he continues to provide for you.
That's why Peter said this in verse 28, "See, we have left our homes and followed you." Peter is doing what Peter does. He speaks first and thinks later. He said, "Jesus, remember what you just told that guy to do. We're doing that." He's playing the victim card, and Jesus looks past that and says, "I am the provider."
"Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." There are no victims in the kingdom of God. There are no victims because Jesus takes care of us. He is our provider. He's our provider for our deepest needs as we begin to realize all we really need is him. It's him!
I had to learn this or kind of be re-taught it again this past year or so. I graduated from DTS a couple of years back and graduated from our institute program here at Watermark, so I was used to getting paid in food stamps and hugs to getting paid what I would now consider a normal human salary.
I started daydreaming about all of these different things I could purchase with this newfound money, and the reality of it was I started kind of moving in this direction of, "I can get this, and I can get this, and I can get all of these different things," but what was funny was God had different plans.
In 2017, my wife and I entered into what we now lovingly refer to as the 10 plagues of 2017. In 2017 there were 10 things that slammed into the Mathews household. I'll read them off for you because I had to write them down because there were so many. Let me read them off. First, we had foundation issues. Welcome to north Texas! We had a fly infestation, rat infestation, and fleas on our dogs. We are clean people. The people before us were not.
We had a gas leak. We had a small fire in our kitchen. Luckily, those two were not related. We had a flood from a busted pipe. We had hail. We're getting biblical now. We had hail destroying our roof and one of our cars. The other car broke down the same week, leading it to be totaled. To cap all of that off, both of our dogs (our firstborns) were hit by the same car on the same day. Now, they lived, but they owe me like thousands of dollars so they can continue pooping and peeing all over the place.
Let me be clear. There were tears. There were fears. There were frustrations. There were moments my flesh wanted to go to God and go, "Hey, God! Didn't we just leave everything to follow you?" The reality of it was those problems and those plagues did not mark my 2017. God's provision did as he continuously reminded us that he will provide all we need when we realize all we need is him.
It was amazing to see how he would provide for us. He provided for us spiritually as he kept bringing us closer into him. He provided for us emotionally as he gathered community around us to speak truth into our lives. He provided for us financially as he, once again, brought community around us and friends and family who would chip in to cover some of the costs we literally could not afford to keep our dogs alive. He continuously provided for us. Why? Because he is the provider.
Maybe you're in a season right now in which you go, "There are so many things in my life. I just feel like I'm getting hit with my own problems and my own plagues." It's so tempting in those moments to play the victim card or to turn to other things for provision or, if we're honest, to begin to ignore people around us who are in pain because we're so fixated on our own problems.
The question for you is…What would it look like if instead of being fixated on your problems and ignoring your provision you were so fixated on your provision that your problems seemed a lot smaller? What would it look like if you were so focused on your provision that not only do your problems look in the right place but it frees you to actually love others and love outsiders who are in pain because they begin to see you who are going through the gamut right now?
Yet, you're not complaining and grumbling. "I can't believe this and that." Rather, you're celebrating the fact that you have a God who is going to provide for you, so your back might be at the Red Sea with mountains over you and with people bearing down on you, but you know God can split those waters, and he will, because he is our provider. Jesus is our true treasure because Jesus is our provider.
3._ He is our payment_. In verse 31, Jesus says it this way. "And taking the twelve, he said to them, 'See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.'"
The following verse says his followers didn't really understand what Jesus was talking about here, but what Jesus was saying was he is the true rich, young ruler. He had the riches of heaven. He ruled all things, and at a young age when the rich, young ruler held everything back and didn't love people, Jesus gave everything he had to give us what we truly need, which was the payment for our sin.
Jesus lived a life we could not. He died a death we deserved, and on the cross he paid what we owed. When he rose from the grave, it was proof that the check cleared. He is our payment. He is our prize. He is our provider. Jesus was rich but became poor so that we who are poor might become rich in him. He's our provider.
The reality of it is all of us have different things in our lives that kind of get in the way of us seeing Jesus rightly, and the reality of it is, as we don't see Jesus rightly, we don't love him rightly, we don't love others rightly, we don't see ourselves rightly, and we don't love others (outsiders) the way God wants us to love those people, so if that's true of us, that all of us have things in our lives that block us from truly seeing Jesus rightly as our prize, as our provider, and as our payment, then how do we see Jesus for who he really is?
How do we get rid of the counterfeits in our lives that so easily want us to believe that they can provide for us what only Jesus really can? How do we rid our lives of these things? You do it the same way Romeo got rid of Rosaline. You all remember Romeo and Rosaline. Probably not. You remember Romeo and Juliet, but at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, what do you see?
You see Romeo hung up on this girl named Rosaline, and he thought Rosaline was so beautiful that she reminded him of the moon. When it turned out he couldn't be with Rosaline, he barricaded himself in a room, isolated, and just put stuff up on his walls and blocked out the windows because any form of light reminded him of the beauty that was Rosaline.
His friends do what I think good friends do in that moment. They went, grabbed him, and brought him to a party to forget about Rosaline. It was at that party that Romeo sees Juliet and he forgets about Rosaline. After the party, he finds out where she lives and breaks into her backyard and looks at her through a bush, which I'm not recommending, but that's Shakespeare. When he looks up, Romeo, who just said, "Rosaline reminds me of the moonlight," sees Juliet. Do you remember what he says?
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she…
How do you remove the counterfeits in your life? You replace it with the real thing. These things are good. They're beautiful. Yet, when we see the sunrise that is Jesus the things of this world will grow strangely dim at the light of his glory and grace. When you see him truly, it frees you to love others and to love outsiders fully. When you see Jesus truly, it will free you to love outsiders fully because the truth is we don't love outsiders because we don't see Jesus for who he really is.
When we see people who don't look like us, we either ignore them or we want to use them to get us what our hearts really long for. We want to use them to get our prize, our provision, our payment, and we end up not loving them, but when we see Jesus as our true treasure, when we see him truly, it allows us to love other people fully, to love the outsider the way God intends for us to.
You see, one of the beautiful parts of this passage actually isn't found in Luke. It's found in the gospel of Mark when Jesus looks at this individual, this guy who has everything going on. It says Jesus looked at him and had this one emotion well up inside of him. It wasn't anger. It wasn't frustration. It wasn't envy, like, "That guy has some sweet camels!" It was one thing. It was love. It says Jesus looked at him and loved him, so if we are called to emulate Jesus to the outsiders, then what does love look like? Three things and we'll close.
First, as you see this passage, love looks past the façade. Love looks past the façade. This guy had everything going for him (power, possessions, prime of life). Even Jesus' disciples thought this guy was better off, but Jesus looks past the façade and sees this scared little kid who just desperately wants somebody to tell him he's loved and he's cared for. He looks past the façade.
There are so many people in your life who have everything you think the world has to offer. They have power. They have possessions. They're in that prime spot of life. You look past that façade. You discipline yourself that when you see people just go, "God, is there anything else here I'm missing?" You hear their words. You hear their heart. You look past the façade.
Secondly, love leans in. When Jesus sees this hurt, little kid give kind of a watered-down answer… "Yeah, I've already done all of that, Jesus." He leans in. He leans in and points out the counterfeits in his life so he can see who Jesus really is. In community, are you leaning in when people are giving you their watered-down answers? When there are hard situations, are you leaning in? When there are people who are celebrating their counterfeit Christs in their life, are you leaning in? Because love leans in.
Lastly, love lays down. Love lays down its life. Jesus knew the only thing that would be the provision this man needed was for him to lay down his life, so we now lay down our lives. We lay down our time. We lay down our commitments. We lay down those interruptible moments throughout the day that we just get frustrated because that guy just came in and now wants my attention. We lay down our time so we can share with others the man who laid down his life.
One last story. I was a youth pastor before I came here. I would go to these summer camps. There was this one summer camp specifically I was remembering and thinking about with this message and this moment. There was this kid there who was popular. He was well-liked. He was always the center of attention. Every time I looked around he was the guy in the middle of every conversation, and all of the conversation was kind of pointing at him. I mean, he was the Zack Morris of camp. That might have dated me a little bit, but I don't care.
The reality of it was he was the guy everyone wanted. He was the guy I said, "I'm 10 years older than him, but I kind of want to be his friend." He was that guy! The last night of camp rolls around. We're all about to go off to this party. It was a hoedown or something. I was dressed like a cowboy for the children.
I see this kid, and he's not in the center of attention anymore. He was off by himself, and he was sitting alone, so I go over and just sit next to him. In that moment his façade just fell off. He started telling me about the fact that his dad had left him and his mom and that he really didn't believe anyone really loved him and that he puts on this mask because he's so afraid if people really knew all of the hurt in his life they wouldn't love him back, so everything he has been doing (all of the jokes and every part of his façade) is simply a mask that's hiding what's really underneath.
By God's grace, I got to be there. I got to look past that façade. I got to lean in with truth, and I got to tell him about the one who laid down his life because that one loved him. That little boy's façade fell off as the love of God flooded him. When Jesus came, he proclaimed that he is the true treasure. He is our prize, he is our provider, and he is our payment, and when we see him truly, we can love others fully.
There are so many people around you who have a façade on. They're at your work. They're at your kids' soccer practice. They're in your family. We're called to love them. Who in your life has everything but the one thing that matters most? Do you love them? Then, look past the façade. Do you love them? Then, lean in. Do you love them? Then, lay down some of your time so you can tell them about the one who laid down his life because he's worth it. Let me pray for us.
Father, it is only when we see you truly and see Jesus truly that we can love others fully, so, Lord, help us. Help us, Lord, because we are blind unless you give us eyes to see. Lord, give us eyes to see the beauty and the joy and the life that is Jesus and that Jesus offers. Rid our hearts of our own Rosalines and show us the Juliet that is Jesus, the sunrise that is him, the grace and the kindness that are him.
Father, as we see people around us, let's look past that façade. It's so easy to just look at that and even want it but help us, God, to lean in with truth and lean in with the gospel that we might lay down who we are to proclaim the one who laid down his life.
Have you ever felt like an outsider? Like everyone else around you knew someone else and you were all alone? Take heart, Christ came to earth for the outsiders!