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Sep 12, 2021

Whose Sake?

Whose Sake?

Passage: John 3:16-17

Speaker: Rev. Michael Pestel

Series: Win-Win

Whose Sake? John 3:16-17  by Michael Pestel


…they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power…” (Revelation 4:10-11) 

What we find every time we take the crown off of ourselves and give it to God is that what is good for God’s sake also ends up being good for my sake. A life lived for God’s sake ends up as a win-win. 

In the cross we can see a representation of the vertical dimension of a life lived in worship to God, that it intersects with the horizontal, a life that worships God lived out for the sake of OTHERS. A win-win relationship with God directly intersects in a win-win life with each other. 

The way of God is the win-win. But to those who see with the eyes of the world, it looks like a sucker’s deal. They might say, “If I was in your shoes, no way would I do for you what you did for me.” When Jesus talks about salvation, what he talks about, in part, is saving us from this very thinking that the world has imprinted on us.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

It wasn’t enough for God to win and humanity to lose. It wasn’t enough for God to be set for eternity and you and I to be lost at sea, separated from all that we were meant for. God declared, “I don’t win without you, so I’m sending the best I’ve got. Your sake and my sake are intertwined.”

Frederick Buechner so beautifully articulated this word on calling and mutual benefit like this: “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

God calls us this way because this is how God’s own self has operated. Whether it was creation in the garden of Eden, or exodus out of slavery in Egypt, or the birth of the savior-child in a small town in Israel, God’s deep gladness has been meeting the world’s deep hunger again and again.

In the coming weeks, we’ll talk about love, mercy, care for each other, making things right for each other, and how we can find deep gladness in the giving and receiving of these things for one another. 

“Gracious Lord who has held nothing back from us, even when we’ve been clueless about who YOU are and whose WE are, you loved us all the deeper. Thank you for considering us worth it. There must be some kind of treasure buried deep inside each of us for you to be so faithful to us. We lay our paper pretend crowns down at your feet, trusting you to make more of our lives than we ever could on our own. Help us to find that place where you are calling us, a place of deep gladness meeting deep hunger, for all of our sakes. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”