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Three Dollars Worth of God – A Sermon


A message from one of our pastors in the Road to Freedom program.

I have the privilege of teaching a Seminary course on the Life and Ministry of Jesus. Recently, my class and I were reflecting on His three year public ministry. We discussed His rise in public popularity, followed by the crowds turning on Him, leading to His crucifixion. How could this happen? God on earth; the great “I AM” in human flesh. How could He not continually gain in popularity?

The truth is this: if Jesus was here with us in 2013, He would face the same resistance to His ministry that He did back then. Why? Because we all have an ego driven, self-absorbed desire to rule our lives and keep God at a distance. Jesus was gaining in popularity until He made it clear that He was calling His disciples to a radical surrender to God and His Kingdom. At that point, fringe followers began finding excuses to head home to the safety of a relationship with God that came with all the benefits and few demands.

We are guilty of the same thing, aren’t we? We ought to be sold out to Christ. We ought to be all in with Him. Instead, we hold on to dark things in our lives and refuse to bring them to the only place they can be healed, the Cross. We want all the benefits of God and none of the surrender. I don’t think that is going to help us, do you? Isn’t step three all about surrender to God?

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

The poet, Wilbur Reese, said it so well in his piece, “Three Dollars Worth of God.”

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.

I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.

I want ecstasy, not transformation.

I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.

I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

This all boils down to one thing. The fact that we do not desire all of God truly reveals that He does not have all of us. God works with what we give Him. How can He fully restore our life without us giving Him all of the pieces? When I give God all of me, then I will hunger and thirst for all of Him. Being “Stingy” on step 3 does not protect me. Ultimately, it hurts me.

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


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