Bob was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really mad. She told him, “Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds…AND IT BETTER BE THERE !!” The next morning he got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up, she looked out the window and there was a gift-wrapped box lying in the middle of the driveway. Confused, she put on her robe and ran out and brought the box back in the house. She opened it…and found a brand new bathroom scale! (Dramatic pause) Bob has been missing since Friday.
In 2004, at the age of 31, high-powered, highly-paid attorney Nathan Sawaya won a contest. As a result of that win, he gave up his lucrative career and took a job making $13/hour. Can you guess what his new job was? He went to work for the LEGO company as a Master Builder! I don’t know about a 31-year old attorney, but I have a10-year old 5th grader in my house who would think he had died and gone to heaven if he could be a LEGO Master Builder!
LEGOs got their start in 1932, in Billund, Denmark. Ole Kirk Christiansen was a carpenter. Along with handmade step ladders and ironing boards, he also sold small wooden toys, which he called LEGO, derived from the Danish and meaning “play well”. In 1942, his factory burned to the ground. As he rebuilt, he decided to go with a plastic-injection molding machine instead of the wood. Then, in 1961, LEGOs were introduce to North America, and the rest, as they say, is history! More than 235 BILLION (with a “B”) LEGO pieces have been made so far, with the factory producing 33,000 bricks/minute! Their annual sales topped $2.1 billion last year!! In 2000, it was named the toy of the century! Did you know you can arrange just six 8-studded LEGO bricks in a staggering 915,103,765 combinations?! There is a life-sized car made out of 650,000 LEGO bricks…and it all began by connecting 2 little bricks.
In the movie Home Alone, grade schooler Kevin McAllister is accidentally left behind when his family flies to France for Christmas. At first, Kevin’s delighted, realizing he has the run of the house. He jumps on the beds and rides a toboggan down the staircase. But soon his attempts to entertain himself lose their attractiveness as he comes to the conclusion that without people to share in the celebration, Christmas is empty and sad. Because of his loneliness, Kevin overcomes his fear and reaches out to Old Man Marley, a reclusive neighbor he thought was a monster. These two neighbors encounter each other and quickly develop an appreciation for togetherness…for relationships. What does the Bible have to say about relationships?
Matthew 22:37 – Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
A group of kids were asked relationship questions. How do you decide who to marry? Kirsten, age 10- “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.” What’s the right age to get married? Freddie, age 6- “No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.” How can a stranger tell if two people are married? Derrick, age 8- “You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.” What do you think you mom and dad have in common? Lori, age 8- “Neither of them want more kids.” What do most people do on a date? Martin, age 10- “On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” When is it OK to kiss someone? Pam, age 7- “When they’re rich.” How would you make a marriage work? Ricky, age 10- “Tell your wife that she looks pretty…even if she looks like a truck.”
A little boy entered the family room after dinner. His dad was tired after a hard day on the job. He had his recliner kicked back and was reading the paper. The little boy inched up beside him and said, “Daddy, I love you.” “I love you too, son,” the father replied as he continued reading the paper. But this didn’t satisfy the boy, so he went around the other side of the chair and began rubbing his dad’s arm. “Daddy, I love you,” he said. And with the slightest amount of impatience in his voice, the father again said, “I love you, too, son.” But still the little one was not satisfied. Suddenly the little boy came crashing through the newspaper onto the father’s chest, reaching his arms as far around his dad as he could, and said, “Daddy, I love you…and I just HAD to do something about it!” Love is selflessness- thinking not about yourself, but thinking first of those you love. We are most like God when we offer love to one another. If we are going to relate to each other as God intended, then our relationships have to be built on the foundation of love.
1. Connectional value– How do you build with LEGOs? You build from the bottom up! The same is true of relationships. Our relationships are ultimately more important that our power or position. Connection has great value- crucial to every stage of our spiritual life. Partnering with others means treating them with value and respect. How do we best do that? By working alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, placing value in those connections. When we make a connection, it helps build a foundation. The more relationships we can foster, the stronger the foundation becomes. And the stronger the foundation, the higher we can build. Connecting helps bring about unity. Unity occurs when we set aside our personal agendas and support the greater good of the body. When a group of people comes together to make a decision, ultimately the majority votes FOR it and the minority votes AGAINST it. Unity occurs when those in the minority support the outcome…regardless of how they voted. Unity occurs through connection.
If you ask people what makes them happy, they’ll often say things like money, success, fame, good looks, popularity, prestige, power. And yet, there are LOTS of people who have those things and still have a void…a need for something more. That “something more” they crave to fill the emptiness in their lives is relationship…with God…with others.
Think of all the ways people can connect within the church. They can connect in worship, in Sunday School, in United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women, in WinGS, in the various musical groups, in the events of Wednesday Night Live, in Bible Study, in Youth Groups, in Children’s Church, in Missions work, in folding bulletins and newsletters…the list goes on and on. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10- says “Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting? The value of a relationship is in direct proportion to the time that you invest in it.
Gertrude always bought her stamps at the Post Office. One day the line was particularly long and someone pointed out that she didn’t have to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know that,” said Gertrude, “but the machine doesn’t ask me about my arthritis!” For her, buying stamps wasn’t about speed or efficiency…it was about personal contact and human relationship. Ben Stein said, “Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement…all success… all achievement in real life grows.” There is tremendous value in planning, but the real strength of any organization is the relationships.
Carl Printz had been the Swedish consul in Toronto for years. He was interviewed on his 99th birthday and asked: “Give us the rule you have followed during your long and useful life.” Printz replied: “I would mention one definite rule—one must be temperate in all things.” Then he added quickly, “Perhaps I should say: ‘Except one—to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself. These are the only things we can rightly do to excess!’” It’s impossible to love God too much. And the more we love Him, the more we will love others. The two go hand-in-hand. To love the Father means we must also love His children…all of them. Have you ever put a jigsaw puzzle together…only to find one piece missing? It’s SO frustrating, because it can simply NEVER be complete without that missing piece. As believers we are a part of the body of Christ, we are more than friends; we are family in the household of God. The love of Christ unites our hearts as brothers and sisters. Anything less is only a social club. We are a part of the church–those called to be in the world…but not of the world. God is putting a living puzzle together, and we are the pieces. I pray He knit our hearts together so that the beauty of His Body will be seen in us.
Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed Sunday! Please make sure and come back tomrrow, and stick with Jesus!