Who makes peace?
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a September 20, 2009
I always wondered what I would do if the church I was serving received $10 million dollars. What could be done with that kind of money?
I would evenly split $1 million dollars between the District and the Conference to pay down any debt either level of the church had so that what they would not ask us to pay anymore! Then I would set aside $1 million dollars for missions. We could send mission teams to anywhere in the world with this money.
Then we would pay off our debt. We could also give a cool $250,000 to our sister church to help them pay off any debt they may have. And just for good measure we would make sure our neighboring churches had their debts paid. This debt payment would take $2 million dollars.
Then there would be a million dollars for our food outreach. We could provide food backpacks for all the children in the county! Plus we would have a well-stocked food pantry.
Next, another million dollars would be set aside for utility payments, rent, and medicine for those in our county who were in need of such help.
Then we would give $2 million to help dig wells in Sudan, provide mosquito nets in Africa, and tents to displaced people in the Middle East.
Next to last I would give $2.5 million to pay off the debts of every member of the congregation and train the congregation to live off what they earn. If we all got our debts paid, then we would give the rest of this $2.5 million to our sister church to make sure their individual debts were paid. Think what would do for our lives! If there any of this amount left over, we could set aside some money for seminary scholarships for the District.
What would I do with the last $500,000? I would make an endowment fund to make sure the building and grounds are well-maintained.
In the process our giving to the church would be used take care of everyday expenses like utilities, salaries, and Conference and District Askings. We might even be able to have more money for children, youth, young adult, men, and women’s ministries!
That is what I would do with $10 million dollars. But, in order for that to happen we would have to have peace in our midst. As I heard the Kingsport District Superintendent David Graves say, “We are in this together.” We would realize that because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we are brought together and nothing could take us apart. How can we make sure this peace happens, even if we don’t receive $10 million dollars?
I believe James has the right idea. We find the wisdom from above. We live Jesus. We live not out of our own strength, but that of the Lord God. But we don’t do that. We have a different wisdom. How shall we live?
A. Which wisdom do we want? (3:13-18)
1. Wisdom brings action
2. What do we have in us?
3. Where does this “wisdom” come from?
4. Where does the wisdom come from that helps us?
d. Willing to yield
e. Full of mercy
f. Good fruits
g. Without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy
5. Which wisdom do we want? Do we want the wisdom that causes hurt to others? Or do we want the wisdom that results in peace? As we live with the wisdom from above, we will have peace in our congregation and our circuit. The answer to how we can overcome conflicts and disputes is to know whom we can draw near.
B. To whom are we drawing near? (4:1-10)
1. Conflicts and disputes?
2. What do we crave?
3. For what do we ask?
4. Submit and draw near to God
5. We know full well the hurt and pain that can come from church disputes. Yet we also know the peace that comes from being near to God. As we are friends with God, then we can truly live as Christians. We will be humble and submissive to God. Yet the world around us will see the love and strength of God in us. Doesn’t that sound good to you?
We might not ever have $10 million dollars given to the church. Yet we can live with the wisdom from above such that people would think we had everything in the world. You see, when we make peace with each other, God gives us righteousness that is beyond our own making.
What we do have is what each of us gives to the church. Maybe when we see those around us as friends of God, maybe then we can show the world the wisdom from above as we live in peace with one another and with God!