We Have A Responsibility to Give What We Have Received

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What do we do with what God has shared with us? What do we do with the revelation He's given us? We have a responsibility to give what we have received. The best way we can steward God's kingdom is to give it away to the world around us. In this message, Pastor Becca Reynolds teaches us that, through this kingdom value, we have a responsibility to people, not a responsibility for people. Their response is not our responsibility; our responsibility is to give what we have received from Jesus. So, what have you received from Jesus, and how can you give that away to those around you?

Hey, everybody, welcome to Valley Creek. Come on; let's welcome all of our campuses in together because it's great to be together today. I just want to make sure you don't miss it. Okay, so public service announcement, we are two weeks away from Christmas people, two weeks away. That means that the end of the year is just right around the corner. I don't know how we got here. I mean, it feels like it was just yesterday that we were starting this year, and we had so much excitement and so much anticipation because God gave this church a great word for this year. He gave us the word - momentum. In January, we were so excited about this word, and we talked about momentum, what it means, it's mass times velocity. We talked about kingdom momentum, where we said, we are going to raise our sales so we can catch the breath of Heaven. Here we are, and it's December.

I don't know about you, but it really hasn't played out, like I thought it would. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that we haven't experienced momentum, we have, forward movement, little-by-little, we definitely have but, it just didn't look like I thought it would look. As I stepped back, and I started asking myself the question, "Well, why?" And I think I realized, I was expecting kingdom momentum to look like world momentum. I mean, bigger, and faster, and stronger. See, that's what the world's momentum looks like. But as I've thought about it, the kingdom isn't always bigger and more and faster and stronger. Sometimes, it's less and it's slower, and it's deeper. I realized that I can't see the kingdom if I'm looking for the world. 

When I realized that I put a kingdom lens on, and then oh, wow, I could see all kinds of momentum in my life, in my family, and in our church family. It was a great reminder that we have to have the right perspective when we're looking for things of the kingdom. In this season, particularly, haven't we learned that the kingdom perspective, it doesn't look like the world. It's kind of upside-down. As we've been studying and really leaning into our values, our kingdom values, God has given us some great revelation. The question I have for us today is, what do we do with it? I mean, really, with all of this revelation that we have, what do we do with it, besides the obvious? We're going to continue to practice it in our lives and with our families and with our church. But beyond that, what do we do? The answer to that question, it's actually the value that we're going to unpack together today. 

Today's value is, we have a responsibility to give what we've received. It's a responsibility to give what we have received. See the world doesn't owe us anything. But we actually have a responsibility to give them what we have received. Now, this is really important. Because of the time of year that we're in, I need you to catch, this is really important. This value does not condone or encourage bad Christmas re-gifting. No, no, no; you get a bad tie or an ugly sweater, or one of those cake things, no, no; you have no responsibility to give that. You give that to the trash can. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the responsibility to steward the things of the kingdom - grace, joy, and hope. We do have a responsibility to give that away for the good of others, and the glory of God. 

See, this value originated in a time of years ago in our church when we were growing. I mean, crazy growth numerically. What am I meaning? I mean, we had literally hundreds of people, month after month, were coming to Valley Creek, and they would come in and they were making it their church home. The reason is because they would come in -- these were people who didn't know Jesus. They would come into our worship experiences, and they would encounter Jesus for the first time. He would wreck them in the best way. They would go out and tell their other friends who didn't know Jesus, and they would come in, and Jesus would wreck them in the best way. They would go tell friends, and we just started seeing this amazing growth. Then, people would get invited to a Circle and they would invite their friends to a Circle and then people would join a serve team and they started inviting people to come and serve with them. We realized that, we said, hold on. There is a movement of the kingdom here. It's simply because people are just giving away invitations to come and experience what they themselves have received. 

By the way, that is discipleship at its core. I mean, just in case y'all were like, a little freaked out by that word, disciple or discipleship, you think it's a big Bible word, let me make it real simple. Discipleship is simply receiving from God and giving it away to other people. That is what a disciple does. That is how a disciple gets made. We have a responsibility to give what we've received. You may be saying, "Okay, well, what is it that I have received?" Let's start with the basics - salvation. Ephesians 2 -- actually, let me stop and take a step back into Matthew, because really, Jesus wants us to know, how have we received and how do we give. How we do this is important. We actually freely receive, and so we freely give away to others. They don't have to prove anything, just like we didn't have to prove anything to Jesus other than just being willing to freely receive what he has freely given us. 

Now, you're asking that question, "What is it?" Now, we can take a look. We've received salvation. It's Ephesians 2, "For by grace you have been saved, through faith. It's the gift of God. It's not ourselves." It's the gift of God. What do you do with the gift? Don't you receive it? All of us have received salvation? What else have we received? We've received sonship, according to John 1. It says, "To all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." You and I are now beloved sons and daughters, because we have received and if we're sons and daughters, then that means we're a family, so we've actually received a family. "God sets the lonely in families." If we've received salvation, and we receive sonship, and we received a family, that's for all of us, but let me ask, what about you? What have you specifically received, and have you given it away? 

For example, when you came to Valley Creek, maybe for the first time, were you warmly welcomed, and if so, have you warmly welcomed someone else? Maybe you received really good godly counsel in your marriage or in parenting. Well, if so, have you given that godly counsel to someone else? Students, maybe when you came for the first time, you were new and a little bit nervous, and somebody said, "Hey, come and sit with me," and they gave you friendship? Have you given friendship to somebody else that's new? Or what about this, have you been inspired by someone in worship? And if so, have you taken steps to worship with your whole heart in a way that someone else could receive that same inspiration? Have you given what you personally have received? Because actually, this is the way that it is intended to be. 

Every single week, we gather, and we receive an encounter from God, and we release it to each other in here, but it's not supposed to stop here. We're supposed to then go and release it and give it out there. This is what Paul was explaining to Timothy. Look what he told him, he said, "The things you've heard me say," what you have received, "in the presence of many witnesses entrust," that means give, "give it away to," reliable men, "reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." He's saying, "Hey, Timothy, when you hear it, you receive it. Then, you give it away to others who are then going to give it away." You have a Jesus story to give to other people. Your voice, telling your story, it is powerful. I can promise you, your voice telling your Jesus story is powerful. You say, "How can you make that promise, you don't even know me?" I might not know you, but I do know Jesus, and He is powerful. 

If it's something that He's given you, it has power. If you struggle believing that, I don't know, maybe you've just forgotten what you've received. Or maybe it's been a while since you've told your story. See, I think we can get into a position where we just want to encounter and encounter and encounter. What Jesus is saying is, there's a lot of power in maintaining your passion when you give it away. There's a man in scripture who knew this. He knew it really well because he was a man who was possessed by, not just one, but multiple demons. The demons that were within him, they had robbed him of his life, of his family, of his community, of his job. This man possessed with multiple demons, he lived in a cemetery. The people of the town were afraid of him, and so they had come down and they had actually tried to chain him down. He was so strong that he actually broke the chains, but he still walked around, the Bible says, with shackles on his wrists, and on his feet. 

He had broken his chains, but he still wasn't free. It says that he would cry out in anguish day and night. He would cut himself with stones. Then, one day Jesus came along. Jesus didn't ask anything of this man, but He gave everything to this man. He healed him. He cast the demons out. When that happened, it says the people of the town, in this community afterwards, they didn't even recognize him, literally. That's what happens when Jesus encounters and when He gives us a fresh touch. He sets us free, so much so that sometimes people can't even recognize us. You can imagine this man who went from having nothing to having everything, all because of Jesus. When it became time for Jesus and the disciples to move on, the Bible says this, this man begged him. He begged Jesus to go with Him. 

What Jesus said to him, it's actually interesting. Jesus didn't let him go. "Jesus did not let him go, but he said, 'Go home to your own people, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.' So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis," the city where he lived, "how much Jesus had done for him, and all the people were amazed." See, this man had a powerful story to tell. All of the people, when they heard it, they were amazed. Jesus knew that this man wanted to be with Him, but what he needed was to tell of Him. I think sometimes that's what Jesus is wanting to say to us, "I know you want to be with Me, but I really want you to go and tell of Me." What we try to do here at Valley Creek is we try to put tools together that can help all of us tell our own Jesus story. 

One of the tools that we have, if you've been around very long at all, you know it. This is our Three Circles. This is a graphic that represents the gospel. It is also a great graphic to represent this particular value. See, we receive from Jesus, freely we receive. We receive His grace, and when we do, all of a sudden, we have a Father to go to because we have -- we are sonship, and we have a new family relationship, so we can go to the Father. Then, as a result of that, we release His kingdom. That's simply us receiving and giving away what we know. What's beautiful is, the more that we do this, you can kind of tell it looks like a wheel, and that's purposeful. Because the more we receive, and the more revelation Father gives us, the more story we have to go and tell. The more that we know who we are and who He is, and what we were created to do, it gets really hard to keep it in. 

This is where momentum gets built in our life. The more we give, the more we give away; the more we get, the more we give away. Freely you have received, freely give. It's beautiful because it builds on itself. Mark 4 says this; it says, "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you - and even more." I thought about that, and I thought anybody who likes to get a free drink refill at a restaurant, this is the best refill policy that is out there. The more that you use, the more that God will give it to us. Freely you have received, freely we are to give. The best way that you and I can steward the kingdom is to give it away. Stop and think about it. Love. Love is from the kingdom. God is love. How do you steward love? You don't keep it. You give it away. Kindness, kindness is of the kingdom. How do you steward it? You don't keep it inside. You give it away. 

What about joy? If you have ever seen someone who has true kingdom joy, they can't contain it. It's like it just comes out of them and they give it away. We steward the kingdom by giving it away, and that could not be more counterintuitive to what the world says. The world is finite. Its resources are limited. The world will say to you and me, "Don't give it away. You keep it for yourself. You've got to love yourself because nobody else will. You can't give away your resources. You've got to take care of yourself because no one else will." It's orphan thinking at it's worst. The kingdom thinking says, "No, the kingdom is infinite. It is forever and ever." All of the resources that the Father has, everything is ours. We give to gain in Jesus' name. 

You may say today, "You know what, I actually don't feel like I have everything. In fact, today, I don't really feel like I have anything." Okay, bonus points for being honest. Because when we're honest, that's when God can really do something with our hearts. If that's where you are honestly, today, I think the Lord would want to encourage us by remembering the rich young ruler. Remember his story. He was the guy that had everything the world offered. He had fame. He had wealth. He had influence. He was probably good looking. I mean, he had everything, and still everything of the world, he was still lacking something on the inside. He knew it. He asked Jesus. He said, "'What am I still lacking?' Jesus said to him, 'If you want to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.' 

"When the young man heard this," catch it, "He went away sad, because he had great wealth." A man came and he wanted to get from Jesus, but Jesus wanted him to give. Because it was something of great value, something that he valued more than Jesus, he couldn't do it. He didn't do this. He actually walked away and he was sad. Sometimes, I think this can be us. Sometimes, I think we could come to Jesus so we could say, "Man, I want You to give. I want You to give," and He's saying, "Yeah, but I want you to give. I want you to give something of great value." What do you value? Maybe it's your time. Maybe it's your influence. Maybe, if you are a leader, and you're in a leader role, a spotlight role, maybe Jesus is saying, "Hey, what if you give somebody else a chance, and raise them up?" 

If we're not willing to do that, then we can find ourselves like this man where we're heavy, and we're sad, because we are people of great wealth. If we have Jesus, we are people of great wealth. He encourages us - freely you have received, so freely give. I really want to emphasize the point that this value - it is a responsibility, it's not an opportunity. Those are different. Can I try? I try to -- let me try to go home with you guys. See if you can relate to this at your home. Think about your house, your home, where you live. What if there were no responsibilities, only opportunities. There was an opportunity to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. Students, there's an opportunity to do homework. There's an opportunity to feed Rover, the dog. If we just had opportunities and no responsibilities, you know what I think we would have? 

I think we would have filthy houses, and failing grades, and a malnutritioned dog. That's what I think we would have. Because we need the strength of responsibility. Its response-ability - the ability to respond. God is looking for people who will respond to things that He can trust them with. He wants to trust us with the little, so that He can entrust us with the much. Scripture says He's looking for trustworthy, reliable people. What does He want to entrust to us? More influence, maybe more resources. But I think He wants to entrust to us His prized value. Do you know what that is? His people. He wants to entrust to us people. Because that's how His kingdom gets advanced. That's what His design was - is for us to take the kingdom and to get into the lives of other people and advance it by receiving and releasing. Freely receive, freely give. 

Beautiful example of this in scripture. It's a story you're probably familiar with. It starts out with a man who lived on a mat. He was paralyzed. His entire life existed just right here on this mat. But this man, he may not have had much, but he did have some trustworthy friends. One day Jesus was in town teaching, and his friends got wind of it. They said, "We've got to go get our buddy. We've got to take him. He needs to be in the presence of the kingdom. We want the kingdom released to him." I can imagine as they're going, "How are we going to get him to the house where Jesus is teaching?" "I don't know. Let's just go." "We'll get him and we'll figure it out." They go and they literally grab his mat. They start to carry this man on his mat, and they carry him through town, and they're getting close to the house where Jesus was teaching. I can just imagine, they came around the corner, and there were people everywhere. I mean, it was packed. The camel parking lot was overflowing. The donkey parking lot was overflowing. There were people everywhere. 

If Ticketmaster would have been there, this would have been the event that broke Ticketmaster. I'm just saying. There were people everywhere. I can see those guys looking at their buddy, looking at each other, and saying, "Now what are we going to do?" It was probably an Enneagram Eight in the friends that said, "I've got an idea, follow me." They go, and they climb up to the roof of this house. They tore a hole in the roof. They said, "Hang on that mat, we got you," and they lower him down right in front of Jesus. If you know the story, you're ahead of me. "When Jesus saw their faith," not when he saw the man, "When he saw their faith," their trustworthiness, "He said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven. Get up, take your mat and go home.' He got up, took the mat, he walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone. They praised God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this.'" 

These trustworthy mat carriers, or hope carriers, if you will, they were trusted friends of this man who had a physical hardship. They got the kingdom to him. There's a facet of this that I find interesting. I don't want you to miss it. These men made sure that they got the kingdom to this man in the way he wanted, not in the way they would have wanted if they were the man. I mean, stop and think about it. I think sometimes you and I, we may miss opportunities, because we project our preferences into their pain if we were them. What would it have been like if one of the guys that was his friends, what if he said, "You know, if I was the guy on the mat, I wouldn't want to be carried through town. I wouldn't want to be put up on a roof, and dropped down in the middle and interrupt a whole meeting. That's not what I would want. I would want somebody to pop Jesus in Uber, have him stopped by on the way out of town, we could do the healing thing there. Because that's what I would want, that's what I'm going to give." 

Okay, can I tell you, that's not what that man wanted. That man desperately wanted to walk. His trustworthy friends desperately met him right where he was. May we not project our preferences in a way that we keep from giving the kingdom to people in the way that they need it. Because y'all, we are around people with hardship all the time. All the time. I mean, it's everywhere. We're walking by them. Students, I know you guys see other students get bullied at school, or at least, just treated poorly. When you go to a restaurant, the waitress that's taking care of you, that's the second job she's working because she's a single mom, and she's got a financial hardship. The retail clerks, especially this time of year, they're working so hard, because they're not just covering their shifts, they're covering the shift of their buddies who didn't show up today, or all week, or ever. 

There's hardships of the hearts we don't really think about unless we're willing to get close to people. Hardships everywhere, and here we are with the kingdom. Don't we have a responsibility to give to them what we have received? If we're not careful, we can take our eyes off of them, and we end up putting our eyes on ourselves. What can happen is we start to see our modern day inconveniences as hardship. I mean, have you ever heard somebody - they're just like, they just rant. I mean, they just go off on a rant, and then they kind of catch themselves. They're like, "Oh, oh, I guess that's first world problems." If we're not careful, that's what can happen. We can start to see hardship in our life, and we develop an attitude of entitlement. 

We start expecting the world to give us what they have. We start looking for others to give what only Jesus was ever intended to. We forget what we've received, and we expect them to give. That's when we can deceive ourselves, because what are they are going to give us? They don't have the kingdom. All they have is the world, that's the best that they can offer. It's not intended to be that way. Jesus Himself says, "I know you want a blessing, but actually it's more blessed to give." Jesus said it. "It's more blessed to give than it is to receive." For us to be able to remember that, that we are to bless others, and it's not -- they're not holding out on us. The world isn't robbing us. God isn't robbing us. If anything, we're robbing ourselves when we choose to hold in what we should be giving away. Because you and I were created to be kingdom conduits. The kingdom is right here. It is right here in our hand. 

The world and all of its problems and all of its hardship is over here. What's in the middle? We are, we are. God intended for us to receive from the kingdom and then give it away. Receive hope and give it away. Receive compassion and give it away. Receive, I don't know, a Spotify worship playlist and give it away with some worship music. A healthy social media post and give it away. You know what, when we are in this place, we love it here. We love being in this place. You know, who else does? The world does. People that don't even have Jesus, understand the value. Now, they put different vocabulary to it. They'll call it humanitarian efforts, or philanthropy, or doing random acts of kindness. Have you ever been at the coffee shop, in the drive-thru, and the person in front of you buys your coffee? You're like, "That was nice." What do you do? You buy for the guy behind you. If you're like me, probably the guy behind you is like, getting 17 venti lattes to take to his entire office, but it's okay. It's okay. 

Why? Because it just feels good. The reason it feels good is because it is good. Because in that moment, we are living our kingdom-destined purpose. Because Ephesians 2, says, "You were designed to do good works." Proverbs 11, says, "He who refreshes others himself gets refreshed." See, the world gets it because they were even made in the image of God. How much more for those of us that actually carry the kingdom can get that? Is it a sacrifice? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Every time. Every time. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. He was on the cross. He gave His life for you and me. Was it worth it? Boy, I'm glad He did. He even bore the scars of His sacrifice. 

As the resurrected Jesus appeared to His disciples, the scars that brought Him death, actually, those very scars gave life. It says that "He showed them both His hands and His side." That's where the scars from the crucifixion were. "The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you, as the Father has sent me, so I send you.'" He kept the scars to show that's what He received, and He was willing to freely give them. Can I tell you -- I really got emotional this week as I was praying because I believe that there are a lot of y'all, that you, you've received some hard things in life, and you've got scars. I just want to say first, I'm really sorry. I'm really sorry for whatever that hard thing was that you received. 

But if you're carrying scars of divorce, or addiction, or rejection, or just the scars of a broken heart, if you're willing to submit those scars to Jesus, He can take your scars, and He could turn them into a story of redemption that will bring power and will bring the kingdom to people, unlike anything else. I mean, I think it's -- I find it very peculiar that when Jesus healed the man on the mat, He told him to take his mat. I'm just thinking, if that was me, I'd burn that thing. I would never want to see it again. But Jesus, no, no. "Take your mat." Why? I think it's because Jesus wanted him to be able to say, this is the symbol of the scars, of brokenness in my past, but I'm standing right here before you faithfully believing in my future, because I have received from Jesus and now I want to release that faith into your life too. 

What I want to remind you is that anything you have submitted to God, and then remember, we have a responsibility to people, but you're not responsible for them. There's a big difference. The greatest obstacle we have to living out this value is when we let what we believe become dependent on whether they receive. We'll say that again. We will struggle living out this value, if we allow what we believe to become dependent on whether they receive. Because not everyone is going to receive the goodness of God that you're trying to give to them. Many of you, in this past season, you've been trying to release what you've received from God and they have refused it. They've refused your counsel. They've refused invitations to church. They may have refused even as much as your friendship. You've sent notes. You've sent nice text messages, and they just ghost you. It's the people whose mat you're trying to pick up and they're like, "Hey, I'm good. I'm good." 

If that's you, and if you've grown weary, and if you've even grown skeptical, what I want to encourage you is, do not interpret their rejection of God as rejection of you. They're not rejecting you. They're rejecting God. May I tell you, some parents, there's parents in this place that you have given everything you have from the kingdom, you've given it to your kids, as best as you know how, and your kids may still be living in a place of rebellion. That does not mean you are a bad parent. God was a really good parent to Adam and Eve, and they still made bad choices. So man, mom, dad, keep in there. Keep receiving and keep releasing. Keep receiving. Don't get discouraged, because it's in our discouragement that we silence our story. That's what the enemy knows. He wants to discourage us so that our story can be silenced. If he convinces us that we don't have anything to give, then he's won. Let's not give him that victory. Let's not give him that victory. 

It may seem like, right now, that people are not open to things of God. But the truth is, God is always open to man, always. To a repentant, humble heart, God is always open. What does that mean? It may mean that you and I have to pick up nine different mats or try before we find that one who says, "Take me to Jesus." But you know what, all the effort we put into those nine, it is not in vain. Because it is not dependent upon their response, it's dependent upon our responsibility. We receive and give, they have the choice as to whether or not they are going to receive it for themselves. The irony is, you and I have the very same choice every single week. When we come to church together, there are people who are here to give, and we have the choice if we are going to be humble and receive it, or we're going to let our pride get in the way and we don't. I would bet, even today, someone extended, they offered you a handshake or a smile, or even an open door; did you receive it? 

Our worship team, they receive revelation from God and put it in worship songs, and then they give it to you; do you receive it? Somebody is up here, doing the best I can to give a message of the scriptures; are you receiving it? Because if we don't receive from God and each other, then when we go out there, we don't have anything to give. Let me close by giving you one last thought. The kings of this world, they are served by the citizens of their kingdom, because they're forced to. The kingdoms of this world, places where there are kings, their commoners are forced to give what they have to their king. If you and I are in Jesus, we are in a kingdom where Jesus is our King. He has freely received, and He has freely given to us. 

If that's our King, then how much more are we as citizens, as servants, as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, how much more can we lean in and carry that value in our heart? We have a responsibility to give what we have received, so come on. Freely we've received, so let's freely give. Close your eyes with me. I'm going to ask you what we ask a lot at this point. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Maybe He's trying to remind you of what you've received that you've forgotten. Maybe He's trying to remind you of the last time you told your story and how it just brought life, and He's inviting you to do that again. 

Maybe He's inviting you to say, is there anything that you value that you want to hold on to that I'm inviting you to give away, because I've got more things I want to put in your hands, and in your heart, and in your life - open them up to me. It's a beautiful responsibility that we have. It is a privilege and it is an honor, and so Father, I thank You. I thank You for what we have received. I thank You for Jesus. I thank You for grace. I thank You for love and kindness. I thank You for both the responsibility and the privilege of sharing with others what we have received. Lord, may we be people, even in the next two weeks, who go and freely give what we have received and do every single bit of it for the good of others and the glory of God. In Your name we pray. Amen.