What are you giving birth to? If you are a guy, that might sound like an odd question, but it is for you too. What new thing does God want you to bring into this world and how much are you willing to sacrifice for God’s vision? Get ready for an amazing message from Pastor Jeremy Jernigan on how God can use you to do incredible things if you are willing to be selfless instead of selfish.
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Well, hello, Central and Happy Mother's Day. It is so great to be with you. My name is Jeremy, and just what an honor to celebrate this day together with you. And so I do want to say to all the mothers, with me in the room, watching online, watching another campus Happy Mother's Day. We want to celebrate you today.
[00:00:17] And today we're going to talk about selflessness over selfishness. Which I think is an incredible subject to talk about on a day like today when we celebrate the role of mothers. And so if you've got your Bibles, I want to encourage you to get those out. We're going to be in Acts chapter two. And if you want to get your spot there, we're going to dive into that in just a moment.
[00:00:38] And as we celebrate Mother's Day, I also want to slow down, catch our breath and acknowledge that for many of you, this may be a day filled with so much pain. And so much hurt and we want to make space for that as well. Now, I don't know what this day triggers for you. For some, maybe it's the loss of your mother and you're reminded of it on a day like today.
[00:01:01] Maybe you're a woman who has wanted to have kids, but haven't been able to have any. Maybe you have endured the pain of a miscarriage. Maybe you have just struggled as an adult with your adult kids. And you're a mom who doesn't have the relationship or it's strained. Or just the ever changing demands of what we think a good mother should look like, especially in a year like this, with the pandemic and remote work and kids at home and, and all the challenges have been added to it.
[00:01:30] And so part of the church is we mourn with those who mourn and we celebrate with those who celebrate. And so today needs to be both. Needs to be a celebration of all that Mothers Day is, and also an acknowledgement and creating space and creating a room for those of you that, that are coming today with mixed emotions or with mixed feelings as well.
[00:01:48] I want to be transparent with you. I consider myself extremely fortunate on a day like today when I realized how much I have that many people don't have. I have an incredible mother who raised me and I continue to have an incredible relationship with her today. And, and I have learned so much from my mom and as I've gotten older, I've realized so much of my personality comes from my mom.
[00:02:10] And one of the things I love about my mom whenever we're together, we laugh a lot. And it's just always dominated by laughing. I'm talking like big belly laughs tears coming out of your eyes. And it's just often the experience when we're together, especially with my mom, my wife and I, and just so much laughing there.
[00:02:27] And I just so appreciate this about my mom. One of the stories I was thinking of that still makes me smile. It makes me chuckle whenever I think about this, but a couple of years back for Christmas, my parents gave me a gift. And I don't know if you have any gift explainers in your house. You know what I mean?
[00:02:43] Like soon as someone opens it, like, all right, let me tell you a story on this before I get that right. My mom is a gift explainer. And so I start to open this box and it wasn't, it was just a box. It wasn't even like an Amazon box. I'm like, what is this? I open it. And there's this crumpled, Yankee jersey inside.
[00:02:59] Now if you know me, I'm a diehard New York Yankees fan. And so I'm thinking, awesome. My parents got me a new jersey to wear. This, this'll be great. But as soon as I open it, my mom goes into explaining mode. All right. So here's the deal. So like we have this friend, who's like friends with a friend and like they know this like Yankee player.
[00:03:16] And so we got an autographed Jersey for you from this guy. Like he's not, he does not play any more, but he used to play. And, and this was the line, that was my favorite. I don't know if you've ever heard of him or not. Now I'm a fairly diehard Yankee fan, I would say. And so I'm thinking, I've probably heard of whoever you got to sign this jersey. Having no idea though, right?
[00:03:38] Like clearly my mom doesn't know this is, I wonder if I'll know who this is. I pull this jersey out and M my jaw just drops as I recognize Mariano Rivera. All the baseball fans in the room just acknowledged what I'm acknowledging in case you're going, who did he just say? Mariano Rivera, here's a photo of him, is considered by everyone,
[00:04:02] the greatest closer in the history of baseball. And in case you're like, oh, he's being exaggerated. This is his hall of fame photo. He was the first person ever to be unanimously voted into the hall of fame in the history of baseball, ever. One guy, one out of one. And I was holding his jersey autograph sign crumpled in a box.
[00:04:25] Right. And I'm looking at my mom and it was just one of those moments where I'm like, you have no idea what you have given me. And she's like, do you know who that is? I don't like, you don't know who this is. She's like, Oh, I'm so glad you've heard of him. I'm like, mom, no world has heard of him. This is, this is unbelievable.
[00:04:46] And I, I just was so blown away and I'm like, You crumpled this into a box. I'm like, this is an incredible, so I went and got it framed because what the Jersey looks like today, treating it as the priceless relic that it is. All like the story of this though, is so fun of like, thinking about my mom, having no clue, the gift that she was given, giving me and just the story behind it.
[00:05:10] I absolutely love that. And so I just got to tell you, I just know I'm incredibly fortunate for the ongoing relationship that I've had with my mother. I count myself doubly fortunate because I'm married to an unbelievable woman who I get to partner with and watch her mother our kids each and every single day.
[00:05:29] My wife Michelle is incredible. And I always laugh when people talk about like, Oh, I don't know if women can lead. It's just funny to me because I watch it happen every day. And so I'm like, okay, I don't know how to tell you this, but like it's already happening. I live with an incredible woman who I get to just witness this,
[00:05:46] day in and day out, who sets the tone, sets the bar for what a mom can be. And again, I look at our kids and I'm like, you have no idea what you have in your mom. I mean, someday is gonna make sense to you, but you have no idea. And I just consider myself so fortunate for the women in my life. And then I look at my daughter Adelin and go, man, this is just legacy getting passed down to you.
[00:06:07] And so I did want to show you a photo and I might get in trouble for showing this. So we had this little itty-bitty photo that I took of my mom, my wife, and my daughter on my daughter's toy Polaroid camera. Okay. So the thing's literally like this big and it's on our fridge, but I just love this photo.
[00:06:26] And so I thought let's scan it and blow it up huge and see how it looks. So here's a photo of the three women in my life. And I just got to tell you. I'm just gushing over them. I'm so grateful. And so I cannot talk about mother's day without celebrating the women in my life and just being real up front with you.
[00:06:42] I'm incredibly blessed. And so, again, partly we want to do today is if you have a story, like mine are going, yeah, I got some celebrating to do. Let's celebrate that together. Let's highlight that. And if you're not, and you're going, hey, I got a lot of pain. We're making room for that as well. And all of this together, we just want to hold it in our hands and be the church community,
[00:07:00] together. Now I was thinking about what is motherhood. If you take a step back, you know, what is this all about? Really motherhood is the joy of giving birth to something, right? It's the joy of bringing something to life, but then immediately following is giving yourself for it. Is the immediate selfless act of now this will require something of me.
[00:07:22] Now I will give to make sure that this, this new life will be flourishing. And for many women, this happens physically. But today I take a step back for all of us guys and included and say that this metaphorically is part of the journey of following Jesus. You may go, Whoa, this is getting weird. I didn't come here today to hear that, but I want to show you what the scriptures do with motherhood.
[00:07:46] And perhaps you've never seen this. I've never thought about it. And it might be a little strange to you, but I want to show you what the apostle Paul says in Galatians chapter four, and then we'll get to our passage in Acts two. And Galatians four 19, the apostle Paul says this, Oh my dear children. I feel as if I'm going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. Whoa
[00:08:11] that's kind of strange. Paul's like I'm going through labor pains for you until Christ is fully developed. It's an incredible relational image of the way that Paul is engaging, the way he is giving himself for those. And again, these are not literal children of his, this is a metaphor for the church community.
[00:08:31] And I'd like to invite us into that metaphor today to go, well, what world do we have to play in this mothering image as we experienced the church together. And so if you're with me in Acts chapter two, you are going to go to verse 42. And we're going to read what is perhaps one of the most often quoted passages about the early church about this community.
[00:08:50] Because it is beautiful. And if you've never read this before, you're just going to, like, it just draws you in, you just lean. And you're like, Aw, I want some of that because this is so beautiful, so good. And we get to learn like, Hey, when they gathered together after Jesus, he dies. He's resurrected. He ascends into heaven.
[00:09:07] He's like, look, go be the church. This is what we find Acts chapter two verse 42. It says all the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship and to sharing in meals, including the Lord's supper and to prayer, a deep sense of awe came over them all. And the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders, and all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.
[00:09:36] They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's supper. And they shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people and each day, the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
[00:09:59] Then that last sentence is like a no duh sentence like, Oh, of course, if you had a community like that, if you had a church like that, of course, others will be drawn in. Magnetically pulled to go, what is this? What kind of a community treats its people like this. I want some of that. I want to be a part of that and go, wow.
[00:10:17] What a beautiful passage. And we think maybe that's like the only time the church has ever described like that. But, but you have like a mirroring passage, just a few chapters later here in Acts two, go to chapter four. And I want you to notice how similar it sounds beginning in verse 32, again, another description of this early community.
[00:10:36] What were they like? How did they treat one another? How do they engage, one another? You find another beautifully selfless passage Acts four 32 says all the believers were united in heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own. He talked about a selfless mentality here. So they shared everything.
[00:10:57] They had the apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and God's great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them. Because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. Again, you're like, what kind of a community does this?
[00:11:20] What would that look like? I want to be a part of a church, like that's incredible. No needy people among them. You, think can that even be true. How would you even pull that off? Well, they just sold their stuff. Oh, you have a need. Let me, let me just sell my house. Let me just sell this piece of land. I'll let me just sell whatever I've got, because I want you not to have a need.
[00:11:42] And again, you read these passages and you're like, man, I don't think we could ever live up to that. We're not doing church like that. We're not at that level. That's incredible. And this is all we have. Acts two, Acts four, these kinds of descriptions. We may be super discouraged today and you're like, well, try to be more selfless, but good luck because we're not going to be like them.
[00:12:02] The beauty is we have chapter five and chapter five is when the wheels come off on this whole early church project. And that's what I want us to look at together today. So if you're in Acts, I go to chapter five. And if you like a bit of drama, You are going to like this passage, if you like it, when things get awkward and weird and you're like, yes, reality TV for me, you will like Acts chapter five, because this is when this beautiful experiment of this early church is going to find out, Hey, do we have the ability to endure when things don't go as planned?
[00:12:36] And as someone who has been in church ministry for decades, I relate with this chapter, like, this is what ministry feels like. It's not, when everything goes perfectly and it's easy and you're like, yeah, up into the right, it's all great. It is hard. And people make weird decisions and you're like, well, what are we going to do about it?
[00:12:52] That is Acts chapter five. So let's read this together. And this is, I would suggest the first time you've ever heard this passage. On a mother's day message. So you're welcome. Acts chapter five, verse one. But there was a certain man named Annanias who with to his wife, Safira sold some property. Now, again, we understand chapter four, chapter two.
[00:13:12] This is what the church is doing. Hey, they want to get in on it. Oh, we're all selling stuff. We're giving stuff away. Yeah. We want to do that as well. Sounds good. He brought part of the money to the apostles claiming it was the full amount. And with his wife's consent, he kept the rest. This is when the plot thickens, dunt, dunt, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa.
[00:13:35] This guy is, you know, he's, he's in line with what we've already read in the opening chapters of Acts, but there's a twist. He gives a gift and lies about it. This is how much I got for this land. But the reality is he has kept some of it for himself and he's given a portion of it, but he hasn't said that because he don't want people to know what he has kept.
[00:13:55] So he acts like he's given a certain amount, but really he has, he has profited off of this in a way that no one else is aware of and you go, what's the church going to do about this? I mean, this, this doesn't feel like chapter two or chapter four, this is different. Now we've got a problem in our midst.
[00:14:13] How's the church going to handle it. And then Peter said, Annanias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? That's ominous. You lied to the Holy Spirit. And you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. Peters going.
[00:14:35] Look, no one asked you to give this. No one demanded of it, of you. No one made you do this. You chose to give the amount that you gave and to give it in the way that you gave it. How could you do a thing like this? You weren't lying to us, but to God. As soon as Annanias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died.
[00:14:59] I'd like to suggest they did not forget this church service for a very long time. Right. Ever seen someone die of sin in the middle of church. Like, Whoa, that guy shouldn't have done that. I mean, it's like, that would be an incredible thing to witness and like, Oh, this, this is going bad. This is not the way this has been.
[00:15:18] You know, like what are we doing here. Everyone who heard about it? Right. Cause this, this news is going to travel fast, was terrified. Hey, I heard God's like killing people now. This is, this is bad. I don't know what we're going to do about this. And then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet and took him out and buried him.
[00:15:39] About three hours later, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, was this the price you and your husband received for your land. Peter's like, I'm going to give you another shot at this. Was this really what you guys paid? Was this really? What you got? Is this what you're claiming
[00:15:59] it is? Yes. She replied. That was the price. And Peter said, how could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the spirit of the Lord like this. The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door and they will carry you out to. Instantly, she fell to the floor and died when the young men came in and saw that she was dead.
[00:16:22] They're like, okay, this is getting crazy. They carried her her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened. Well, the church had a good run, right? Like we tried, we had it for a couple chapters. We had something really beautiful and thenAnnanias and Safira, went and blew this thing up.
[00:16:44] And now their dead and now this whole thing is bad. I mean, can you even imagine. It, it reminds me when I was a kid growing up. My mom one time had his great illustration for me. And I remember as a kid, I've always been fascinated with free will. How does free will work and how does God interact with our free will?
[00:17:02] And, and again, I just have spent all my life exploring the subject. And as a kid, I remember wrestling with it and going, why doesn't God just make everyone choose him? Because then we would all be Christians and we would all be in heaven. It would all be good. You know, like as a kid, it's going, why wouldn't God do it that way?
[00:17:20] And I couldn't make sense of this. And I remember a is my mom and she was trying to help me like take theology and, you know, make it applicable. And I'll never forget. She got some of my GI Joes out and my little action figure guys. And she goes, imagine that these guys came to life. If they were living, would you want them to hang out with you because you made them do that?
[00:17:41] Or because they wanted to, because they chose you. I was like, Oh, I would want my GI Joes choose me. Like, that would be awesome. And she was like, yeah, God's the same way I remember as a kid, it was like, that clicked for me. I was like, Oh, that's what the love looks like, like free will demands that we have to actually choose.
[00:18:00] And she's like, so yeah, God could make us, but it wouldn't be the same thing. And we would lose something in the process. And I love that, but I remember thinking even as a kid, what if we don't choose him? What if we make bad choices, right? Cause that's how life is. And this is what the story plays out.
[00:18:16] God, you have this amazing idea of this church. Like really like you, I think you're onto something here, except you got people like Annanias and Safira, who are going to bring their selfishness into this community that is learning how to be selfless together. What do you do then? When you've got people making decisions like that?
[00:18:36] Now I want you to notice. What Annanias and Safira are accused of when Peter accuses them. He does this both separately with each of them, but notice the accusation Peter gives them. We might think it's like, you are being selfish. You are being greedy. You are profiting off of this. No, no, no. That's what he says.
[00:18:54] It says you are lying. Now that might seem weird. Like, why is that of all that they're doing? That's the thing you're going to pounce on. Like, that's just the result of this greed inside of them, this selfishness inside of them. But here's the reality. I have learned that selfishness always hides behind lies.
[00:19:14] They always go together. As a case in point, I have never met a Christian who is actively pursuing Jesus Christ and says, you know what? My biggest sin is greed. I'm just a greedy person. I'm trying to work on it, but I'm really greedy. See greed is not that thing you can see in the mirror. You don't, you don't look at yourself in the mirror, go, Whoa, put on a few agreed pounds today.
[00:19:33] Ooh, need to get that off. You can't see it. Why. Because there's deception there. We lie to ourselves. We can be aware of other sin in our life. Yeah. I'm not really good at that, or I'm struggling with that. But when it comes to greed nobody thinks that this is for them. Why. We begin a self-deception and we start telling ourselves things that reassure us that rationalize and excuse some of the things that we're doing.
[00:19:57] And we go, nah, I'm not that kind of a person. I don't know what things that you've maybe wrestled with, but we'll say things to ourselves. Like I'm not really that well off. Yeah, I'm doing okay. I'm not really that well off, I'm not a person that's like accumulating a lot. That's not who I am. I don't have nearly as much as others.
[00:20:16] Again, I'm selectively picking who I'm going to compare myself to, but I don't, I don't have as much as, as they do. Maybe we say I worked hard for this. And again, there's elements of truth in all of these, but they're all parts of self deception. I have everything I'm just planning ahead. This is just smart management.
[00:20:32] That's all I'm doing. I'm not hoarding. I'm planning ahead. I'm being wise. And these are all ways that we self rationalize and we self deceive ourselves. And if you do this long enough, you'll begin to lie to the people around you as well. Just the natural overflow. I believe Annanias and Safira had lied to themselves about their greed for so long that it felt so natural when Peter says, is this the amount?
[00:20:56] Oh yeah, Peter of course, of course. That's the amount. It just felt so natural to tell that lie, after all the lies that they had told themselves and Peter calls it out and says, we're not going to be okay with that. Now here's a weird question for you is we consider a very weird story in the Bible was the episode with Annanias and
[00:21:14] Safira a pastoral success or a failure. Is this a moment of look at the church way to go or like, wow, look at the church. Can't believe this happened. It all depends on how you look at it. Through Peter's actions, the church that day lost two of its more prominent members. And let's just be real upfront about it.
[00:21:39] These were key givers in the church and go, yeah, well, they gave everything. They still sell property and gave stuff to the church. These were people invested in what the church was doing and, and because of the way Peter handles this, those two prominent members are no longer members of the church. You might look at Peter and go, Whoa, that seems a little harsh.
[00:22:00] Wouldn't there be a more gentle response to that. Right? How could you do that? Is it really worth provoking a coronary in someone over some real estate? Like Peter, maybe, maybe don't handle it that way, but what if we get asked Peter, what would you say, Peter? What are you thinking about that day? Do you have regrets on it?
[00:22:18] Do you think that day that your stance there was, was appropriate or not? See Peter is fighting for something in that community, that is at the core of what it means to live out the gospel. As a theologian, Stanley Hauerwas said, Peter really believed that the gospel and this community, it produced had the power to convert even ordinary selfish, materialistic people like us and to something resembling saints.
[00:22:47] Peter knew the very church community was on the line that day. And how they responded to selfishness in the midst of this community. Now I'd like to suggest that this was the day, this was the day that the church became the church. He may go. That, that sounds weird. And what about chapter two? What about chapter four?
[00:23:07] Why was this? No, no, this was the day. The church became the church. In fact, in verse 11, that the tail end of what we just read in chapter five, it says this great fear gripped the entire church. The word there in Greek is ekklesia and everyone else who heard what had happened, why is that significant?
[00:23:25] That word there ekklesia is the word we translate in English as the word church, right? This is the first time you find the word ekklesia in the book of Acts. It's not in chapter two, it's not in chapter four, these beautiful description of the community don't call themselves the ekklesia. It is only in chapter five when they have to wrestle with what does it mean for us to be in community with one another?
[00:23:47] And the answer is it means selflessness only when they have to work through that. Do they define what it means to be the church? This is a community. Unlike other communities. This is a community around a gospel that requires us to live for the benefit of those around us and what a beautiful community to celebrate on a day like today, when we celebrate the role of motherhood. One pastor and author named Sharon Hodde Miller says this, the church is God's definitive,
[00:24:19] yes to motherhood. It's where we can all be mothers and be mothered. I love that. The church has added to best is the community that lived this out, that is bringing life to those around us and sacrificing ourselves for it. It is the very nature of motherhood is the beauty of what the church should be.
[00:24:41] So will we create a community like that? Will we be a part of a community that feels like that that looks like that where people are drawn in like that? Or we allow our self deception to continue to exist. But we deceived those around us or when we realized, you know what, there's something bigger here that we're getting invited into.
[00:25:02] Stop me if you've heard this before, but you were made for more. More than your own story, more than your own delusions, more than your own rationalizations, you are made to be a part of something bigger. So here's a couple of questions I have for us on mother's day. These are questions that you can wrestle with between you and Jesus.
[00:25:22] I do not have the answers for you, but I can point you in the direction to have an engaging conversation with him. Now, whether you're a mom or not a mom, or you're a male or a female, wherever you're at, these are questions that we can all wrestle with together today. Question number one, what are you giving birth to?
[00:25:42] There were Whoa, this is, this is weird. What are you giving birth to? I believe if you are following Jesus today, Jesus has given you something and you are pregnant. Okay. We're getting a little weird here. We're going to use this image. Jesus has given you something that you have been tasked, you have been entrusted to bring it to life.
[00:26:01] What is it that you are giving birth to? Jesus has given you something bigger than yourself. And the reality is some of you right now, you're in the midst of labor pains on it. You're trying, you're trying to bring this thing to life. You're going, wow. This is going to cost me a lot. This is going to hurt.
[00:26:18] This is going to require so much of me. Yeah. That's how it works. I don't know if you know this, the bigger the baby, the more pain in the delivery, right. I've witnessed this firsthand. Our oldest, our first born was born at nine pounds, eight ounces. Yeah, women all are now going, Ooh, this is when I realized my wife was a rockstar for like really realized like, wow, my wife was one of the toughest people I've ever met.
[00:26:45] I remember watching her give birth to Gavin. I'm going, this looks really hard. You know, they're like, Holy cow, like, I can't even imagine this. And so as a guy, if you ever in this situation, I'm like, I need to help. I need to channel my strength to her and like give her what, all that I got so that we can do this together because you're not doing anything.
[00:27:06] And so I remember holding her hand and I was just like, come on, you got like, we got this, I'm going to squeeze all my support into you. And very lovingly, she looked over at me and said, please don't touch me. You got a babe, I'm going to help you from over here in the corner. You know, I got you. I just remember watching this going like, Oh my, I cannot believe you're actually pulling this off.
[00:27:28] This is incredible, but I was a big baby and it's not easy to deliver a big baby. And I remember when he came out and were counting the toes and all this, and I'm like, this child is ginormous and you know, and I compare it to you is the really large baby. And I was sitting next to the nurse and then, you know, they're doing all the measurements and.
[00:27:46] I don't think she meant to say this out loud, but as I'm standing there, I hear the nurse say, wow, that is the biggest head I've ever measured. Sorry, what did you say? She was like, Oh, what I know I'm like, you literally do this every day. For years, and that's the biggest baby head you've ever measured. I look at my wife and I'm like, she's incredible.
[00:28:08] She is incredible. You know? And now Gavin's like 12 and soon to be taller than all of us. I mean, this is incredible, but there's something to that. Some of you, Jesus has given you something big and you're going, this is gonna hurt. And it may. You may be in labor pains for a while. Paul was. Paul Paul's experience of that.
[00:28:30] Oh, I'm going to be in labor pains until, until this is coming to fruition until Jesus fully develop Jesus given some of you something you're going, wow. I just, I don't know, if I can do it. I don't know if I can get this the life and yet he's entrusted you with it. Hey, this is yours. You got to bring it to life.
[00:28:49] Second question. How are you sacrificing yourself for it? Right. What are you giving birth to that Jesus has entrusted you with. And secondly, how are you sacrificing yourself for? Cause that always goes with it. Every good mother who brings life. Isn't just the moment of all. You brought something to life.
[00:29:07] Great. It's also what you do next. That's what makes an incredible mother, how you love, how you sacrifice, how you give it's all part of it together. And so if we have been entrusted to give birth to something, just going, Hey, this is for you. You got to bring this to life. It will require a selfless response.
[00:29:26] I will choose this. I will forego other things so that I'm able to give this what it needs. One of the things I was thinking about was I was writing this is this idea of a selfishness or selflessness. Excuse me. Selflessness is the environment for growth. How do we, how do we create a conducive environment while you want to raise healthy kids have selfless parents.
[00:29:50] Parents who are willing to model the gospel. Hey, this is what it looks like. We give ourselves for the benefit of others. That's, that's the tone that you said. If you want to have an environment for growth, every good mom is naturally going to be a person that other people grow around because she just naturally lives that out.
[00:30:09] And we can all hopefully think back to moms in our lives or moms that we have seen and go, yeah, I've seen the way you bring life to other people, but this is also true of a church. See, if we're going to be that community, we should be the environment for people to grow. The environment, people to thrive because we are modeling selflessness and you might think, well, how good for the people on the receiving end of that?
[00:30:34] And then now this is what the beauty of the gospel. If a mother is selfless, it doesn't just benefit her kids. It benefits her because she is living embodying the gospel. And that is always what produces the most beautiful kind of life. And the same is true of the church. If we decide, Hey, I'm going to start taking care of your needs and your needs and your needs.
[00:30:54] And I'm going to figure out how to live more selflessly than I naturally want to. I will thrive and you will thrive. Then these two questions I would suggest are worth your time to process through between you and Jesus. Hey Jesus. What am I giving birth to? And how am I going to sacrifice myself for it?
[00:31:13] Now, I just want to close with this idea. These questions have dominated, the last year of my life. It's been a painful year for many of us, a hard year for many of us. This has been a huge year for our family in particular. It has been a year of rebirth for us of going, Hey, as a family unit, we're going to have to bring, bring the life we have to birth some new things here that are different than the way we've known them in the past, or had to be a rebirth there.
[00:31:42] Even personally in my career, I had to be a rebirth or Hey, some things that are going to have to change other, come back to life in a different way than before. And here's what I believe. If you are following Jesus today, he has given you something and said, this is yours. Bring it to life, sacrifice yourself for it.
[00:32:00] And others will thrive when you live it out. Well, when you say, Hey Jesus, what you've given me, I'm going to do it. I'm going to live it out. And that is the most beautiful connection that each and every one of us can have to motherhood. To go, Hey God, you have given all of us something to bring to life, something to sacrifice ourselves for.
[00:32:20] And when we do, we and others around us will thrive together. I want to close with what the author Erma Bombeck says. The easiest part of being a mother is giving birth. To which I say what. The easiest part of being a mother is giving birth. The hardest part is showing up for it each day. Let's pray together.
[00:32:46] Jesus. We want to show up. We want to bring to life those things that you have entrusted us with, or you've laid on our heart. You've given us and asked us to sacrifice for it. As a, may we be a community. That is defined by the ways that we take care of one another, that is defined by the ways we sacrifice for those around us, but by the way that people grow when they thrive in this environment, because we selflessly live out the gospel.
[00:33:20] So Jesus, may you make it really clear today? What it is you've given us to bring to life what it is you're asking of each of us, this, the see that you have planted in each of our hearts, then. And this incredible vocation you've given to each of us, may we see it clearly. And then we have the courage and the boldness to choose it and to keep choosing a day after day for the benefit of all, we pray in Jesus name and all God's people said, amen.