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Becoming Less Important

Shane Willard

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Becoming Less Important Even in Hell, the rich man still thought he was better than the beggar: send Lazarus here to serve me in Hell; send him back to Earth to serve my family.

God is not looking to make ‘rich men’, but a nation of ‘wealthy stewards’, who use their money as God would have them use it - for the glory of God and the kingdom of God.

God would want every one of us to be so wealthy, that other nations would call us ‘blessed’ - but it's not wealth for our sake, so we could build bigger barns to store it, but wealth to take care of the people who can't take care of themselves.
Philippians 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vanity; but in humility of heart, let everyone consider others better than themselves.

Let everyone consider others better, consider others better. Now if we're honest, we have a problem with that. We have a real problem with that.

We have no problem saying: someone's better at something that me - he's a better singer than me; but to say somebody's ‘better than me’ - now we've got a problem.

But Paul's yoke, when he was summarising the way we're supposed to live, he says: consider others better - and I think, in one sentence, he summarises a successful life.

If we really considered others better, can you imagine what that would do to stress? 90% of the time we get stressed out, it’s about... other people. If we consider them better, it takes away our stress.

What would it do to anxiety and anger? What would happen to our anger problem if we simply could consider others better? What would happen to your job? What would happen with your relationship with that guy at work, you know, the one that you just really believe God should just go ahead and take him to heaven? That guy! What would happen if we could consider him better?

What would happen to road rage, when someone cuts you off on the busy streets of Hastings? This illustration works better in LA, but what would happen if someone cut you off in traffic? Do you point your finger at the sky - because he didn't get the memo, that where you were going is actually more important than where he's going? And then you drive by, and you have a little fish on you.

Does the girl at KFC know you're saved even if she messes up your order? Do we consider others better? Are we committed to bringing heaven to earth, or are we simply a group of people who are committed to going to heaven one day? Are we committed to bringing heaven to earth today? What would happen to our life, if we consider others better?

Could you imagine a marriage, where that was the case? Where both people were committed to considering the other one better?

Wives, what would happen if you committed inside yourself, to consider your husband better - to meet his needs first, whether he deserved it or not? It would be happier, and a lot less stress. It's pretty simple; we have like two needs (three if you count food). Both of our needs are free, and relatively enjoyable to you.

Husbands, what if you considered your wife better, and you made a commitment to meet her needs first? She has like 100 of them... So what if you husbands made a commitment to meet her 100, and she makes a commitment to meet your 2? I can tell you this: if you meet those two needs consistently, and predictably - that man will serve you, and die for you. Shout me down if I'm lying - am I telling the truth, men? Everybody say Amen!

Men, what if we could make a commitment to meet our wives needs - if we could get in there, and figure out what they are? That stuff will make you go crazy! But what if we did? What if, in our heart, we considered the other person better?

It's a summary statement of a successful life; of peace in our heart; of what it would be to overcome anger, of having peace in our home. It's a summary statement of a happy marriage; happy parenting; being happy in our job.

I want to talk about two aspects of that, and it's from the most disturbing passage of scripture that Jesus ever taught, in Luke 16. This is the only time that Jesus used the word ‘Hades’ in regards to somebody going there.

There are two mentions of hell; the first hell was called Gehenna - and that was hell on earth. There was a Gehenna hell, and it was an actual place in Jerusalem. Jesus used the word hell 18 times; 15 of the 18 times was Gehenna.

Gehenna was the place in 2 Chronicles 28, where they sacrificed children in fire. King Josiah in 2 Kings 23 desecrated it, and he said: we're not going to sacrifice children in fire any more. The problem was, the land was now worthless, and so there was this place of land called Gehenna in Jerusalem that was worthless - so they made it the town garbage dump.