Intense – Week 2
January 13, 2019
By Ed Young
I was 12 years old when my youngest brother was born. He was a surprise. I remember reading him children’s books and my favorite book I ever read to my brother was a book called Barnyard Friends. I really loved that book, and I have to confess to you it was really one of the first times that I began to work on my sound effects. I always have loved sound effects, but I used to read him that book and he would love it. I kind of memorized part of “Barnyard Friends.” So, I would read it in this voice, for some reason, I would go, “Barnyard-ah Friends-ah.” I don’t know why I used that voice but I’m like 12 years old. I really read Barnyard Friends to Cliff from the time I was 12 to maybe 14. So, Barnyard Friends, so the first picture would show a realistic picture of a pig and the baby pig eating pig slop. And here’s what it said, “Dinner time on the farm.” And then I would go <pig sound effects>. He would laugh and laugh and laugh. And then the next page – it’s kind of sick I remember this, isn’t it? – showed a horse and the little colt by the horse. And the horse, I would use this <neighing sound effect>… “Isn’t my baby cute?” So, I would just go through. I don’t want to do all the animals like <elephant sound effect>… well, I’m not sure an elephant was part of the…. I just threw that in. But I think you feel me. Barnyard Friends, it’s a great book. I tried to find it on the world wide web – out of print. I mean the real Barnyard Friends.
Jesus, today, is gonna tell us about barnyard friends. Jesus, in essence, opens up this book and he goes, OK. Barnyard friends. Why would Jesus talk about barnyard friends? Do you have barnyard friends? I don’t know. I think at the end of this talk you’ll go, OK, I either do or I don’t. Barnyard friends, why would Jesus talk about barnyard friends?
Well, a couple of guys were arguing in the crowd. Thousands were in attendance to hear Jesus talking. Some of the guys were arguing about money, about inheritance issues. Brothers were going back and forth. I need this, or I want that, or dad wanted me to have that! They were arguing about just what the guy had left. So, they lob a question to Jesus.
“Hey, Jesus, settle this issue!” which was common back in the day. You know, when rabbis would speak, people would just throw questions at them, sort of like a first century press conference, so to speak. So, Jesus answers this question in a highly unusual way. Well, first of all, in verse 15 of Luke chapter 12, he brings up greed. He just talks about greed. So, they threw this question at him and then Jesus goes, in verse 15, “He said to them, (the two guys, the two bros) “Take heed and beware of greed, for one’s life does not consist of the stuff, of the possessions that he owns.” He talks about greed. Isn’t it interesting just to talk about greed for a second? Greed was once called a vice. Now it’s a virtue. Now it’s like oh boy! You’re greedy! Well anyway, Jesus throws that out and then he tells these two guys a story. And this story is fascinating because if you put yourself in the sandals of his crowd you kind of go, wow, this sounds like a very positive, kind of a business-vibe type story from Jesus. It sounds really cool about making a lot of money and after all, we want to make a lot of money. The money is for me. I can invest the money and have my money working for me, have this giant portfolio. That’s what everyone is thinking. So, as I read this for the first time, I was thinking the same thing. Wow, OK, greed. Maybe greed is good. You’re talking about greed here, Jesus, and maybe greed – maybe this desire to acquire is a God thing. Well, let’s see what Jesus says.
Look at verse 16, Luke chapter 12. “And he told them this parable, (again, ‘them’ being the two guys) ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.’” I’m like, well that’s good. Good for him. This guy is banking, man. I mean, he’s rolling. He’s a heavy-hitter. “He thought to himself (the guy who made all this money), ‘What shall I do?’” I mean, that’s an honest question. When I make money, when you make money, I mean, that’s what I think. What shall I do? Sometimes if I make extra money, maybe an investment, maybe for me a book deal, maybe a consulting fee or whatever I’m doing. I go, what shall I do? Don’t look at me funny. You’re the same way.
You know, it’s so funny. I can talk about three subjects, like death. I can talk about money. And I can talk about sex. And two out of three of those are negative. But every time I talk about death and money, people get kind of funny. And that’s OK. Just everyone take a deep breath. Yeah, we’re just gonna talk about stuff. I mean, I have to talk about it. Jesus talked about it. You know, most of his parables were about stuff. Stuff, in the Bible, is talked about more than prayer, more than Heaven or Hell. So, don’t judge me! We love to say that, don’t we? It’s so funny. That’s a whole ‘nother subject. I’m just telling you what Jesus said about stuff. So, it sounds to me like this story is going pretty good, doesn’t it? Make a lot of money, this guy made a lot of money. Maybe sometimes you have extra money and it’s like, whoa! Cool! Well, it even gets better. This guy now says,
“You know, I have these barns…” Barnyard Friends. I have these barns and I’m sure he had a lot of friends in the barns. And he said, what shall I do? Verse 17, “I have no place to store all of my excess.” All of his stuff. So, he makes an arrogant decision, an arrogant decision. Say that with me. An arrogant decision. Have you ever made an arrogant decision? I have. I have. I have made an arrogant decision before, because I’ve had things happen to me before and I said to myself, “That’s for me!” I didn’t even really think about God. I thought, I did that. I made that. It’s my stuff. Greed. Greed.
I wrote a book about greed, the first of my 14 books. I’ll quote you a definition from greed, chapter 5, page 89. It’s out of print now, but I want to write it again. “Greed is the desire to acquire.” As I said earlier but let me add something to it: that’s gone haywire. The desire to acquire that’s gone haywire. It’s OK to have a desire to acquire, what’s wrong with that? The Bible is not anti-ownership. The Bible does not say that money is bad. It doesn’t say that stuff is Satanic. It’s not in the Bible. OK, isn’t that good? Just nod your head like, yeah, that’s good! So, money is neutral. Now, the love of money is what will mess you up and mess me up. It’s materialism. It is the desire to acquire that’s gone haywire. And it’s easy, at least in my life, for me to go haywire in this area. Because I like stuff and so do you!
Isn’t it interesting about stuff? Because people say, oh money doesn’t satisfy, man. Money doesn’t satisfy, money doesn’t satisfy, money doesn’t satisfy. Well, it does. I’m here to tell you, money does satisfy if you’re willing to only live on that level of satisfaction. But, if you want to go to a whole ‘notha level, we’re talking a level where money doesn’t satisfy, where there’s even more excitement, more adventure, more thrills and chills. Ed, what are you talking about? Well, I’m talking about this life of intensity, being intense. This rich farmer was not intense. He thought his stuff was his stuff. But we’ve been learning around here #1 that God owns all the stuff. I’m just gonna tell you, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, it doesn’t matter. Your opinion, my opinion, it really does not matter. I have a strong opinion. I don’t believe God owns all my stuff. OK. You have your right to be wrong. We will see what you say when you die. We’ll see what you say when you meet your Maker. But I’m just staying to you, God owns all the stuff. The universal ownership of God is something that sounds so simple but it’s so profound.
#2 – God has given us all of our stuff. So, he owns all the stuff, and he’s given us everything. The second thing. And the third thing is, here we go. I love this one. I’m simply a manager. I mean, that’s what I am. Now I’m not saying that in a trite or trivial way, it’s a very important thing. We manage this stuff.
I talked to a friend of mine just several minutes ago before I walked out. He’s a young guy. He’s grown up right here at Fellowship Church. He started a company from nothing. He’s a multimillionaire now. Young kid! And we were just talking, I was laughing. I’m going, “What is up with you, man? I remember when you were that tall in the children’s ministry, sitting in….” Now, I almost fell off, now you have all this. You know what I told him? I said, “You know who’s given you everything, don’t you?” I told him that. I know him that well. He goes,
“Oh yeah, I know, because Ed, I’m not that smart.” I said,
“I know you’re not. I know I’m not either.” So, everything comes from God. And once you realize you’re managing it, and he was talking to me about managing it. Because this guy is so faithful to Fellowship Church it’s awesome. He goes,
“Man, it’s a no-brainer. The least I can do, Ed, is just return what is God’s.”
And you know what sometimes gets me all messed up? And I’ve thought this way before. All right, OK. So, I make a certain amount. And I will give God his cut of the pie, his part of the deal. You know, that’s your 10% Lord, and just let me know. Maybe I’ll give you 11-12%, but I’m gonna do what I want to do with the rest of it. I mean, yeah, God wants me to enjoy the stuff, the fruits of our labor. I get it. It’s in the Bible. But, when I have that thought, that’s wrong. I’m going down the life of the rich farmer. I’m kind of going down that gravel road of greed because I’m thinking it’s – I mean, 89% is mine. No, it’s not. It’s all God’s. Think about how that would be such a game-changer in our life and our poor, poor barnyard friend, he made an arrogant decision. It’s mine! I did it! I made it!
And then in verses 18-19, Jesus continues to lead the thousands of people down this road of, oh this is a great story, Jesus! Finally, you’re telling me a story that’s not an industrial-strength story! Finally, you’re telling me a story that doesn’t get up in my grill! I mean, you mentioned greed but now you’re saying it’s good to acquire. So, he said to himself, this is this farmer, and look at all the personal pronouns he used. Personal pronouns. I don’t wanna me graphic but let me be graphic. Personal pronouns – PP. You talk to someone who PPs on every conversation, they have a greed problem. Now, I didn’t say that to be gross, I said that for you to remember that. You’re talking to someone tomorrow at work? Oh, PP. I, me, me, me, I, I, I, my, me, me. That’s what I have to watch for on social media. And that’s what you have to watch for on social media. That’s what I have to watch for in conversation. That’s what you have to watch for in conversation. That’s what I have to watch for with my stuff, that’s what you have to watch for with your stuff. An arrogant decision.
But my dear friend, notice the next one. An ignorant vision, an ignorant vision. He said, “I’ll do this!” What are you gonna do, man? “I’ll pull down my barns and build greater and there I’ll store all my crops and my goods.” Again, if I’m in the audience I’m going, this guy’s brilliant! I mean, he’s like tearing down stuff, building stuff. He’s parlaying the wealth. I mean, aren’t you feeling him? This guy’s a nice guy, I’m sure. Smart guy, intelligent guy. I like this guy. Making money. I have more than I know what to do with. Must be nice. I have so much I’ll build bigger barns and I’ll have barnyard-ah friends-ah. <sound effects of pig, horse>
Man, my horse sound needs some work. It’s not that good. Horses kind of scare me. I used to have a horse, back in the day. I’ve had some bad experiences with horses. Barnyard friends. Anyway, that’s a whole ‘nother message. Maybe I can use that sound effect when I talk about the white horse of Revelation or something.
So, he said, “I’ll do this. I’ll pull down my barns and build greater and there I’ll store all of my crops and my goods and my stuff.” The storage unit business is a $38 billion business… $38 billion. So, I go to school and learn how to get stuff, then maybe college and I get stuff and invest stuff and insure stuff and get stuff for retirement. Then I die and give the stuff to the kids or maybe someone I don’t even know. Then while I’m living, I put the stuff in a storage unit and the stuff is just stuffed in this unit. Then we buy another unit, rent another unit, and I might invest in storage units for more stuff and jibbeldy-junk and chotskies and stuff, and I just have a lot of stuff. I just acquire stuff. I have this desire to acquire that’s gone haywire. See, that can be greedy, and you don’t even know it. Like, right now, I’m thinking greedy thoughts. And you can be greedy right now and not even know it. It’s a word, greed, that is close to the word lust. Lust after things. I want that. And then it gets really scary when I don’t just want that, but I want the exact thing that you have. And I’m greedy and lustful over your money, your car, your real estate, your spouse. Greed. It’s ugly. Greed. It’s insidious.
Let’s go build bigger barns. Ed, why are you talking about that? “And I will say to my soul,” this rich guy says, “Hey soul! You’ve got many goods laid up for many years. Take it easy, just partay all the time, partay all the time.” That’s my interpretation. So, he made an arrogant decision. Don’t do that. It leads to an ignorant vision. Ed don’t do that either. Because he didn’t realize it, but he was setting himself up for an eternal, eternal collision. We’re gonna live in eternity. We face a forever. On the other side of the dirt. And this is not talked about a lot because it’s not really sexy to talk about, but we are going to face God and we’re going to give an account to how we used and leveraged our stuff in this life. What’s the antithesis of greed? Generosity. I mean, I want to be generous while my hands are warm. I want to do my giving while I’m living so I’m knowin’ where it’s a-goin’. Are you feeling me? I’m preaching better than you’re shoutin-ah! You know what I’m saying to you? I do, I really do. Now, I want to leave some stuff for the kids hopefully, but not a lot of stuff. Not a lot. I mean, this is, this house is my #1 investment. It is. And I can’t tell you how God has blessed my life, but I’m going to be held accountable for it. Ed, what did you do with the stuff? I mean, stuff is relative. Some people have a lot of stuff, small amounts of stuff, I don’t know. It’s all relative.
But this dude, I mean, Jesus flips the script here and this is scary. All of a sudden. Look at this eternal collision. “But God said to him…” Jesus changed it on him. He got everybody going. Make your money, yeah. Tear down the barns, yeah. Oh yeah! Must be nice. I got a place now to store all my stuff in bigger barns. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for himself and is not (let’s say it together) rich toward God.’” Let’s say it together at all of our campuses, rich toward God. What does it mean to be rich toward God? It means our resources are invested in Christ’s house. Let me say that again. That’s true riches. My resources are invested in Christ’s house. That’s the only thing that will last forever, the church. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the church. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” The church is the body of Christ. Are you generous?
See, I’ve got to get money out of my hands quickly. This is just me. It’s like a hot potato. You remember that old school game, hot potato? Oh, my gosh! Or if you grab something out of the oven, for example a potato, and it’s hot. Waaah! Get rid of it! That’s the way money is to me. The first portion of my income, if I go, “Well, I’m just not sure about that. Let me take care of this and that and whatever. Then, if I have some, all right, God. There’s your slice. I’ve got to get it out quick! Because if I don’t get it out quick it will wrap around my heart. I’ll give greed a toe-hold and then greed will get a foothold, and then <sound effect> choke-hold.
That’s why God says the first. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” Jesus said. That’s why the Bible says bring our firsts to the house of God. That’s why there is such high esteem about the first fruit, the first day of the week. The first amount of time in that morning. Because when we bring the first, God blesses the rest. And I don’t know about you, but I really want to be blessable. I do. And if I’m not involved in God’s currency blessings, they just are not gonna happen. It would be like a blessing blocker. And you’re wondering why your life’s not blessed. This dude, this barnyard friend, traded in his – basically he traded in the Bible for his bank book. He was all about the bank, man. But boom! He died, and man, it was a very, very, very, very difficult situation.
Look at verse 34, Jesus continued talking in Luke chapter 12 about stuff. He said, “Where your treasure is (where your stuff is), there your heart will be also.” So, in life… in life, we get… to give. We get to give. So, I get to give, and I get… to give. And then when I give, I’ll get and then I get to give. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave.” Everything is about generosity. It’s the heart of God. Now this guy was storing up stuff for his barnyard friends, look what Jesus said in verse 20 of Matthew 6, “But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” So, what’s gonna happen in your life and mine? How do we have this intense relationship? What can I learn from my barnyard friends?
Well, #1, we’ve got to make a selfless decision. What’s a selfless decision? It’s a God-decision, a pre-determined decision. God, here is what I’m going to do with my stuff. So, I know the money I make this year, next year, so forth for the rest of my life, I know where it’s going.
#2, when we do that, we will have a wise vision. The Bible is not a microscope, it’s a telescope. And I’m telling you, we do what it says with our stuff and the wisdom and the vision that we’ll have is gonna be awesome. And then we’re all preparing for this beautiful eternal collision. Because those of us who have been blessed, and we’ve all been blessed. In fact, we’re all rich. Just say that. I’m rich. 1-2-3, I’m rich. I think some people in Norman, Oklahoma didn’t say that. 1-2-3, I am rich. Come on, Miami. I am rich. Now some of you are like, no I’m not. Yes, you are. No, I’m not. Yes, you are. I mean, that’s your opinion, you’re not rich, and you have your right to be wrong. If you make more than $34,200 a year, you’re rich. You’re a part of the 1%-er crowd worldwide. You’re rich, you’re rich.
OK, I’m rich, you’re rich. And rich is basically relative. How do we get rich toward God? Well, I just told you some of the things that we can do. When we get in on this generosity, we’re going to be blessed bountifully. Don’t block the blessings of God. You’re made to be blessed!
#3 – It’ll stir the souls of others. You’ve seen it here with the next generation. You’ve seen it here for almost 30 years now. And also, it will usher in unbridled excitement, man. I mean, I’ve never met a negative generous person. I’ve never met that person. And that’s what I love about this church. We have so many, so many, so many generous people.
Generosity. It’s from God. God owns it all. God has given you and me all the stuff. And now we have this opportunity to manage all of the stuff. Learn a lesson from the book that Jesus read to us about barnyard friends. And I’m telling you something, your life will be lived on a level that stuff can’t even touch. Would you pray with me?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]