Read this message transcript from the "In ____ We Trust" message series
Harold Bullock: Have you ever wanted to do something great, something just really outstanding? Yeah. When we were kids, that kind of vision sort of floats out there somewhere. As we get into our teen years, it very often rises up. And then we get into the work world, turns out great is harder than we thought. Then somewhere in our mid 40s we're just hoping we can survive. On into our 50s we're glad we have survived so far, and life moves on...but every now and then, you have one of those moments. Maybe you get to see an eagle fly. They're pretty majestic when flying, your heart sort of rises. Or maybe you see a beautiful scene, maybe mountains. You see the heights and all and, you know, your heart just rises. There's just something in you that wants to rise up, do something. And actually, that stays with us our whole life long.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes that God has put eternity in our hearts. We've never been there, but somehow there are echoes of it all throughout our life in our hearts. Greater things than we've seen, greater things than we've known. There's just that desire there. Sometimes you go to a movie. You see a movie where some really noble things were done, great things, and your heart just rises to that. Then you walk out and you think, "Yeah, but I'm just me." Actually, that's true. You're one of billions of people on the planet, but you know, the “you” that you are is much more important than you think. Actually, you've been given a noble calling.
We're going to take a look at that this morning. We're going to be looking at “In what do we trust?”, during this next few weeks, with the thought of trying to understand what it is God's really calling us to and the difference we make. Today we're going to talk about being God's entrepreneurs, but first we have to start with this. Everything is God's. Now, the Bible says that and, if you're not sure the Bible is correct, if there is a God, it would sort of make sense that things belong to Him, maybe. But the Bible's very firm about this. First Chronicles 29 in the Old Testament deals with a tremendous celebration that was going on, and the guy who's at the celebration is the most glorious, powerful, and splendid king yet seen in the nation. This is his prayer: "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor." Now here is mister greatness, power, glory, and splendor, power and glory and majesty and splendor, saying this to God: These belong to You.
Everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Wealth and honor come from You, You're the ruler over all things. In Your hands are strength and power to exalt, lift up leaders, and to give strength to all. It all comes from You. It all belongs to You, it all comes from You. Again in the New Testament, that same thing is affirmed: "Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?" Question: Is God indebted to you? Have you done something for Him where He really owes you? Nah. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. Everything comes from Him. It was developed through Him and everything is going to end up for Him, to Him. All things. To Him be glory forever, amen." All things are His.
Not just the earth, the land, and the sea, or the stars, but also the animals that roam the land, the cows and the lions; everything in the sea--the fish, the whales, and the jellyfish. It's all His, but even more than that, you and I belong to Him. This is a statement from the book of Ezekiel: "For every living soul belongs to Me, the Father as well as the Son, both alike belong to Me." I belong to God. Everyone does, whether or not they know God. Father and son, we've had children. Now the children we had were our kids, and they were God's kids. They all belong to Him. Dad belonged to him, kids belong to him. This is the way it is throughout the earth. Everyone belongs to God.
You know, we have the idea of ownership. Well, let me ask you a question. Do you have a car? Question: Is it your car, or is it God's car? The answer is yes. Now, we have a house that our names are on the deed of the house that belongs to us. Actually, it belongs to the bank. We're buying it from them, but it's our house. It's also God's house. The car is God's car. Everything we have is God's. Guys wear belts. Fellows, even your belt is God's. “But I paid for it.” Yeah, you did. It's still God's. “Well I made my own money.” Yeah, you did. It's still God's. This is sort of hard for us to get ahold of because it's “mine”. Two year olds have that down. "Mine!" Forty year olds have that down."That's mine." This is just part of the way we are...but it's God's.
God made us as vice regents. A regent is the one who rules over an area, the one who reigns, and the vice regent is someone, a sub ruler, under him. God made us to be vice regents. Genesis one talks about this. "So God created man." These are some very important statements. "God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female. He created mankind as male and female." The way the Hebrew is written, by the way, these identities as male and female go to the very core of who we are. They're not simply our external trappings physically. These are the very core of our identity. "Male and female, God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number.’” He gave them that capacity as male and female. “‘So fill the earth and subdue it.’" Interesting word. “Fill the earth.”
God likes families, likes people. "Rule over the fish of the sea and birds of the air and every living creature that moves on the ground." These are very interesting statements. First of all, God made us like Him. There are all kinds of ways we're not like Him. Like He is completely; He will do only what is right. Yes, we do, right or wrong. He has all power. If we walk into a room and say, "Let there be light," we have to flip a switch. He's the one who said it originally and it existed. We're made like Him. We're not just simply smarter chimps. We are people, we’re persons, persons made like him. We have a capacity to think. We not only think, we think about thinking. Think about that.
We don't only use tools. You know, chimps use tools; they stick sticks down in a hole to get ants on it. We don't use tools. We create fabulously complex things that can take people to another world. We create societies that are incredibly complex. It's amazing what we can do because we're made creators like Him. He created everything. He created everything out of nothing. We always have to use something.
There's a story told about some fellows who challenged God, some scientists who could create life now. They've come to the point in science that they could create life. The story of course is fictional, but it goes like this: The challenge was given. “‘God, we too can create life.’ He said, ‘Okay,’ and He said, ‘So?’ They said, ‘Well, we want to challenge you. We want to show you that we can do what you did.’ He said, ‘Okay.’ So they set up, they got their equipment out. God said, ‘Lets go.’ They reached down, get a handful of dirt, and put it in a beaker, and God says, ‘Get your own dirt.’"
We create out of something. He created out of nothing, but we do create. We have abilities. These words, subdue, “subdue the earth,” the Hebrew word is kabash, means to stop something down, to get victory over, to conquer it. The rule is a word chazaq, means prevail over, you know, win. it picks up on the idea of conquer, and then have dominion that is rule over this realm. Some translations say “have dominion”. You are the ruler of this. God intended for us to exert our minds, to exert our bodies and resources, to mold and develop creation.
people ask the question, "Well, but didn't God make it perfect? Didn't He make everything good?" The answer is yes. "Well then why don't you have to exert yourself?" Because you're made like Him. He wants you involved in the process of wrestling this thing and creating stuff out of it. He wants you taking initiative. He wants you to participate with Him in what He's doing in the world. So there's exertion involved. So, we're to exert ourselves. God's intent was that we would get things under control and develop them aggressively under his leadership. We develop them for Him and enjoy it. Enjoy the process of developing and the results of it.
There's joy. There's actually joy in the work of working with God on something. We tend to just see the work-- "There's so much to do!"-- but God is working with us and through us. All the stuff that you're doing during the week, He's actually working with you, if you walk with Him. Enjoy the process, enjoy it, enjoy it! Whenever kids are little they take a lot of work. I never enjoyed changing diapers. I changed a lot of them. I never enjoyed it. As my kids got a little bit older, they enjoyed it because, "Ah, that feels better." I never enjoyed it. It took a long time for them to actually do things for us. We did so much for them. They're just a lot of work, but there's a lot going on here. We were to enjoy the work, not just the achievement. It's good to have goals and to achieve things, but somehow, once you achieve the goal… that was always yesterday. The joy’s in the process. Don't miss it.
But the human race became rebels, talented but selfish, and we've continued that way since then. When we come to Christ, there's a shift for us. We become God's children. He loves us. If you have yet to come to Christ, this is what lies in front of you. You step into a relationship with God as your father. We become His children. Why do you love your children? Because they're your children. They just don't do a lot for you. It takes years before they can really even help, and yet you love them. You don't love them because of what they did, you love them because they're your kids. You just love them. We're not only His children though, we're also his entrepreneurs. That's an unusual word to use for the way we think about our lives, but it's true. We're his entrepreneurs. He's actually expecting R.O.I. If you're in business, you know that term. It's return on investment. Investors invest money because anticipated return. God has given us stuff. He's anticipating a return promise. He's looking for a return on investment.
Jesus tells the story in Matthew. You have a reference for it on your handout, but the story goes like this: That there's a very wealthy guy who goes on an extended business trip and he leaves three managers in charge of large sums of money. To one, he gave five talents. If these are talents of gold, that's a weight talent as a weight. If it's talents of gold, it would be about a million and a half bucks today. One talent, so five, that'd be about seven and a half million. Another one, he doesn't quite have the capacity of the other guys, he gives him two. That'd be about 3 million. To another one, who seems to have lower capacity, he gives him one, a million and a half bucks. He says, "Okay now, this is my money. Make money with it and we'll check up when I get back." He's gone for a while.
He comes back and he says to the guys, "Okay, show me the books." The fellow who received the seven and a half million, he says, you gave me seven and a half million, five talents, here's ten talents. This is 15 million bucks, I made you seven and a half million. The owner says, "That's great. That makes me really happy. I have good things waiting for you." Next guy comes up and he says, "Well, you gave me $3 million and here's $6 million. I have four talents for you. You gave me two." He says, "That is great. I'm happy with that. I got good things waiting for you." The one guy who received one, and had the least challenge, comes up and says, "You know, I now realize you're an investor. You don't really work for your stuff. You just put money into it. Everybody else has to work and I was afraid I might lose the money. So I just, I put it in the safe. Here's your million and a half back." The boss says, "You knew I invested, why didn't you at least put it in a savings account and I'd get at least one percent?" He says, "This guy's lazy. Take his money away from him. Give it to that guy that had a lot. This is how it's going to be guys."
Jesus says God expects return. It's not that we have to return so He'll love us. He loves us. I mean that's given, but He does expect return. We have a role to play at creation. We have a role. As God's entrepreneur, there are some things that I need to do. He's given me resources. I need to take it and work with it for Him. An entrepreneur is a person who, this is the definition, who organizes and operates a business, and he takes greater than ordinary, normal financial risks in order to do so. A guy who creates a company usually is not only working, he's put a tremendous amount of money at risk here. The guy who created Amazon, I remember reading years ago as they were getting going, they were losing $300,000 a month. He made the statement, "It'll be like this for about another three years and then we'll turn the corner and it will take off. Three years at $300,000 a month, that's a risk. He recently passed Bill Gates; he's the richest guy in the world because the risk and hard work pays off.
So as His entrepreneur, I'm going to have to take risks. I'm going to have to trust God. If I'm going to do what He wants. I'm going to trust Him, but He's given me an assignment where I can sub create under him. I'm going to have to trust him, and then an entrepreneur not only takes risk, it takes initiative to use my abilities. I've got to get in gear and get going. It takes initiative--risk and initiative. I use my initiative to use my mind. I think about things and I try to make stuff work. I use my abilities and use my initiative, my money, my resources. I want to return good to God, so I want Him to have good return. I'm going to bring Him my honor, I will have a profit, what he's interested in. I want make that God and I then I want to count for good in God's universe. He's good. I somehow want to account for good, but I'm actually going to have to use my brains.
We go through schooling and we get used to somebody spoon-feeding us everything. If you've got a year and a half old, you sit there and stick the food in their mouth, and you stick the food in their mouth, you stick the food in their mouth. After a while you, you really want them eating on their own. You don't want that to last till 20. We tend to, educationally we tend to sort of go to class, and once we graduate we think, "Thank goodness that's over. I'll never have to use my brain again." You haven't really used it yet. You get that thing out and limber it up. God wants you to use the mind He gave you, and He wants you to bring it to bear on what He's interested in. So I want God to have a good return.
My dominion, the realm that I'm responsible for, includes some things. Originally, the earth was the dominion of mankind. There would be some responsibilities for different people, but that was broken. We still go ahead and take charge of nature, and we develop it for ourselves. Sometimes we develop it well and other times we ruin it while we're getting what we want; that's just the way people are. But we individually have realms of responsibility that we can bring under God's leadership and create in, and bring Him good through.
When you come to Christ, this becomes an issue for you. You want to be the person that He wants in these areas. Here's the list: myself, I want to watch him grow, want to train him, want to develop. My work, my job, I may have a business, but that's a lot of work. I may work in a business, that's still work, but whatever my work, if I'm a homemaker, whatever work I have, that's an opportunity to put some extra into it and bring good through it. It's pleasing to the Lord. My dwelling. I may have an apartment, maybe in a house, I may own a house. This is a realm where easily they become storage buildings or just dumps. I mean there's so much that we have to deal with; however, I can take my dwelling, and I can do a little extra with it and make it a place of delight. It doesn't have to be something that gets into a magazine. Just add the delight that God would enjoy.
My talents. We all have different kinds of talent. Some of us are great working with our hands, we love it. Others of us love to work with ideas. Others of us are really good at working with people. We are very, very different, but take what you have, develop it, and use it for Him. My treasures, my money, my possessions. These belong to Him. I'm using them, which He delights in. I need to use them to bring benefit to what He thinks is good. Time. Everyone gets the same amount of time every week. Nobody gets any more, no one gets any less. It's during that time that whatever's going to happen in my life happens. It is hard. It is just hard to really get perfect control of everything.
First of all, life keeps wiggling around. You get it wrestled down, then it wiggles loose. Then secondly, we're sort of squirrelly ourselves, really. We have a hard time just managing us, but with the help of God, we can actually move forward in these things. Influence. I have influence, both online and in person. Did you know God reads your Facebook page every day? Yeah. Now you should know that your employer may also. I mean a lot of people have lost their jobs over that. You on Facebook, you're representing the Lord. You can count for what's good or not, but we have influence. Our votes. Influence in family. Family is one of those areas where it tends to get sort of the backhand, not the real strong serve in life. It tends to get the backhand. We tend to be very focused on all our activities, but actually family, if you have family, that God calls some people to singleness and then some people never have children, but if you have family, this family is an opportunity for the future. You're actually creating the future. Actually, as you invest in people who are moving on into the future, you're helping create the future.
We tend to just see problems in people. God sees tremendous opportunities. If you're a mama, and you've had little ones, understand this. You have done something that Microsoft cannot, and even though Apple has created Siri, they can't do what you've done. Nothing Amazon has done could ever come close to that. You have literally created the future here. You want to train them well. You want to help them grow. We get caught up in all the details--"I'm just so glad the day's over. They're finally in bed." When they're little, they are a problem; they get older, they get in teenage years, that is really a problem. It's continually an opportunity and a struggle to train. They're actually continually learning from you about your attitudes, the way you handle issues. They're learning from you all the time, but they're going into the future beyond you. They can be good people for the Kingdom of God. You want to raise them to do that.
Sometimes people say ,"Well, it's a few more years and they'll be out of the house." That's right. Do you know what you'll be talking about then? “Do you remember when so-and-so was three years old and this happened, or five years old, or when they were a baby?” The joy is in the process, it's while it's occurring. There's a lot of work. We tend to get caught up in the mess and miss the joy of the process. Live it while it's happening. There are different stages in life. Live it while it's happening. God is with you now and God is working with you.
Now, sometimes we think about ourselves and we say, "I'm just one of six billion people on the planet, or seven or a whole lot more, and I'm just one." Yes you are. You may never get on the TV news, but God knows you. God designed you and God wants good to come through you. Lift your eyes, lift ‘em beyond the mess, and in the middle of all the treading down, and all the attempt to conquer, and all the attempt to rule, enjoy working with God. There are things that'll come that'll be good for God and they will be good for you. God has a different take on these facets of life, but when time is done and we stand before Him, that will be the take that counts. Get to know what's on His mind, trust Him. Go ahead and take the risk.
I've heard people say, "We just don't know if we want to have children in a time like this." Well friend, the world has been in a lot worse shape. Been awful, awful, awful times, but no matter what the time, trusting God does His will and God brings good. What do you trust in? Your money? Your control? Your fear? Or in the one who made you, the one who's willing to walk with you, the one who treasures you? Step out. You're going to find a lot of good things. Challenges? Yes. Work? Yes...but good. One point of your influence is, I thought I'd just share this with you since we're coming down close to election time, one part of your influence is your vote. You want to use it. Right now, it's a pretty confusing realm if you're trying to make a decision who to vote for in which elections.
Sometimes people say, "Well, I just don't think a Christian should vote for a person like that." Well, after seriously considering that issue, I decided the only person I would ever vote for is Jesus, but unfortunately he's not running for office. He has an appointed position--ruler of heaven and earth--and it's not up for election. In terms of human beings, particularly in a fallen world, you get easily deceived by this. Let me show you a verse in scripture, Proverbs 25, 26: "Like a muddied spring or a polluted well, is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked." People back off pretty easily, but those of us who follow Christ, we're willing to put ourselves in the way of those who want to do damage. So the thing you need to understand is candidates are candidates, but the candidates represent agendas. If this candidate gets elected, this agenda is going to be pursued. If this candidate gets elected, this agenda is going to be pursued, and that will impact people. It'll impact the society. So the question is what are the platforms? What are the things that are going to be rolled into action whenever this person takes power? Because there will be one. That's a question you want to ask. We vote for the agendas, not for the person.
Now sometimes people say, "Well, they're both wicked. I don't know which one to vote for. I don't think I'll vote." Well I promise you, whichever one won, you voted for. Pick the less wicked. “That sounds like just the lesser of two evils.” It is, but I promise you there are different kinds of evils. This is a very practical world. I'd like to suggest a book for you. I'd encourage you to get this and start chewing on it. This is Wayne Grudem. He wrote a book called Politics According to the Bible: The Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues. Politics is a very, just a scrambled arena. It's hard to get hold of what's really going on. Wayne Grudem is a major scholar. He's very committed to scripture, very broad understandings, and he will help you get hold of what the issues are. That's available on Amazon, I wish I’d put it on your handout, but Politics According to the Bible, Wayne Grudem. This is not just an ignorant Christian misunderstanding what's going on, this is a very intelligent guy. This would be a real help to you.
Whenever you see the eagle fly and your heart rises with it, know the echoes of eternity are going through you. Whenever you do see a majestic mountain scene and your heart just rises with that...you were made by God to be a co-creator under Him, taking what He's made and developing good out of it, and whenever you have those moments in the movie where the moving and really good thing happens and your heart rises, understand what you're experiencing is a part of what God made us. You, even though you walk out of the movie theater and no one knows your name, God does and He's willing to partner with you...and real good can come through that.
I'd like to lead us in prayer. Father, thank You for granting us the ability to know You. Thank you for making us more than just the chimps. Thank you for making us like You. We admit the brokenness that we are. We also thank You for accepting us in Christ Jesus, and for opening up possibilities that mankind just forgets. Father, help us to grow into the people You want and turn our influence into what would honor You and bless people. Use our work, use our money, use our abilities, and show us how, Father, in the middle of just all the mess and business, show us how, Father, to create good this week and in coming weeks. We ask You, help us, in the name of Jesus. Amen.