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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » The Sustainable Life

The Sustainable Life

            Welcome again to the message from Shepherd’s Hill Homestead. We are glad that you stopped by today. I pray that your life will be changed by the Word of God and that as you seek Him you will grow more like Christ. Today I am looking at a term that is very popular in many circles. The term is sustainable. Occasionally, we hear buzz words that someone coins and then everyone seems to use them in their vocabulary. A while back I started hearing the word “robust” in some technology forums. Once it started it was as if no one had ever used it before and like wildfire it took off! Networks were robust. Computers were robust! It became a joke because everyone was saying it.

            Well, I want to look at sustainability in life today even though it is a buzzword. First, think about what sustainability means. If someone is using a technology it is important to find out if it’s a sustainable technology. Let me throw out a couple of examples. Suppose that someone invents an automobile that runs on water. It sounds like a great idea because water is about a dollar a gallon. If a few people bought these and got good results others would join in. Soon everyone who had money would be buying water powered cars. Somewhere down the road (pun intended) they would discover that the water was more valuable for human consumption and watering crops than it is for powering autos. The price would skyrocket and there would not be enough to go around. This would not be a sustainable technology.

            In another example, let’s suppose that we find a new mineral that is fireproof and cheap to build with. Manufacturers begin to build shingles and firefighting equipment with this. Steam pipes are insulated with it and automotive brakes are lined with it. Time goes by and for a while everyone is happy with this new technology. That is, until they discover that asbestos causes cancer.

            You see friends; we often get something that looks like a solution-only to find out later that we can’t go that route any longer. If my car stops running and we try pushing it we might be able to do alright for a block. If we are miles from home we need to determine if pushing the car is a sustainable alternative. My guess is that it’s not.

            There are a lot of technologies that “play out”. That is to say that whatever fuels them or whatever by product they have becomes a problem later. Burning coal for producing electricity is something that is working for now. Scientists are estimating that there are minimally a couple of hundred years left-possible hundreds of years. Generating plants are developing technologies that produce a clean burn with no side effects. In fact, with one new technology gypsum is produced as a byproduct. When I was young I distinctly remember black smoke coming from the smokestack of fossil fuel plants. Because of changes made the same plants burn coal in a sustainable way.

  The Bible gives us standards to live by that provide the very best life we can have here on earth. We all get into patterns of life that we make fit. We slowly change as need be and seldom back away from the pattern to see if what we are doing will last. If you don’t understand what I mean let me ask you this: have you ever known someone who went through a divorce and never saw it coming? Have you ever known someone who lost their job and didn’t have a clue that they were about to be fired? And finally, have you ever known someone who committed suicide that you were close to and you didn’t have a clue that it was coming?

You probably answered yes to at least one question. We have situations in our lives that seem to sneak up on us. We seem to be blind to what is happening. When catastrophe strikes we are shocked and wonder why we never sensed it was going on. Usually, the person that it happens directly to is the last to know. Why? If I invent a new technology (especially if it can make me a lot of money) and it has side effects like run-off chemicals I will be less likely to worry about them than someone living downstream. I may run my device or product until the neighbors complain to the EPA and they shut me down. This blindness is caused by pride. The blindness is over when the reality hits.

Maybe you’ve heard about the “power of positive thinking” or “name it and claim it”. It sounds good on the surface. That is, because it agrees with our flesh. Faith healing sounds like what you’ve been searching for if you have a terminal disease. All of these doctrines pick us up for the moment and create a momentum in us. But are they sustainable? In the New Testament there was a man who had died named Lazarus. Jesus came and called him out of his tomb. An entire town witnessed this dead man who was brought back from the grave. Has it ever occurred to you that Lazarus died again? My point is that if we believe that it’s God’s will for any and everyone to be healed at what point do we die? Let me say that God does still heal today. It’s God’s will that we pray for the sick to be healed. But believing we will never die in this life is false and is NOT a sustainable doctrine.

What about “prosperity teaching”? The scriptures are often twisted today to sound as if God wants His children to be wealthier than the rest of the world and if you aren’t financially rich you must not be righteous. Just look at what Jesus’ own disciples owned (and gave up). Study, if you will, the early church and see if any of them had wealth. How do we assume that the modern church is any better than the founding fathers of the church? We aren’t-believe me. So you see there are many doctrines taught today that aren’t sustainable. The person teaching it either has a motive to get you to follow them or else they truly want to believe something that isn’t true.

God has a plan for our lives that is sustainable. It is one that brings peace and satisfaction. In Matthew chapter eleven verse twenty-eight Jesus gives an invitation to those of us who realize that we can’t keep going the way we have been. When a man comes to the realization that he can’t keep going the same way he did in the past he has to stop. I am getting older and can no longer keep the same stamina that I once did. A few years ago I could split a truckload of firewood with a maul in an afternoon without stopping. Now, I quickly reach a point where I have to rest for a while and take breaks. I have realized that before long I will have to buy a log-splitter or change the way I heat my home.

Notice that our Lord said His yoke was easy and His burden was light (v30). When we come to Him and are born-again we have the opportunity to live differently. He gives us new rules to govern our lives. His priorities are different than the ones we used to walk in. If we can just grasp that following Jesus’ way is much easier than going after the things of this world we will find that peace that everyone wants.

It’s not in the material wealth this world can offer. It’s only found by taking His yoke and carrying His burden. How do you know when you are carrying the right load? I’ll give you a clue. Can you keep going the way you have been? Are you content on a daily basis with what you have? Are your desires all focused on ways that you can serve God and love your neighbors? If you didn’t answer “yes” to these three questions you aren’t carrying the load God has and dropped the one you have.

The path that God has for each of us is less work than the best path you can work out on your own. We get on tangents due to the philosophies the world has and it often sounds good. The doctrines I mentioned above (prosperity, faith healing and positive thinking) are all being taught in the church today. Notice the one about prosperity and the way that the teachers all require you to give to their ministry. The formula is that with whatever level you give to God (through their 501C3 organization of course) God will multiply it to you. The healing teaching says that this life is so good you really deserve to stay here a little longer (see John 12:25). These doctrines have a surface of truth but in the core they are false.

Sustainable living is what you need to be after! Think, right now, of every aspect of your life. Is your family relationship in order? Can it keep going the way it is? How about your relationship with your neighbors or your job? Finally, and most important-what about your relationship with God? Can you keep going the way you have been?

God has a wonderful plan for our lives if we will only find it. To find it we must lose the one we presently have (Matt 10:39) Are you willing to change your life today?

Prayer-Father, I pray for those who have been struggling with life and are carrying burdens they don’t need to be. I sense many today who desire for peace and joy in their walk but don’t have it. May they seek Your face instead of Your hand. I pray that all of us would discover the road that leads to You.

                                    In Jesus’ Name–Amen


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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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