A Man With “I” Trouble
In Luke chapter 12, Jesus told a parable about a certain rich man who had “I” trouble. Not “eye” spelled e-y-e; But “I” as in the personal pronoun, “I”. He was guilty of the sin, of “I, Me, Mine”. The sin of “I, Me, Mine”, is when you’re only concerned about yourself, and not about anyone else, and especially not about God. It’s when your only concern is me, myself, and “I”.
And so, let me read this parable to you. It begins in verse 16, of Luke 12, and goes thru verse 21. Here’s what it says; “And He (Jesus) spoke a parable unto them, saying; The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; And he thought within himself, saying; What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits and my goods.” (his harvest)
“And I will say to my soul; Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him; Thou fool, this night, thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
“So is he, that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
He who is not rich toward God, is a fool! Just like that “certain rich man”, was a fool. A “certain” rich man, doesn’t mean some SPECIFIC rich man; On the contrary; It means exactly the opposite of a specific rich man. It means ANY man, or ANY person, who is rich toward themselves, but doesn’t even give a thought about their responsibility to God.
It was a case of “a fool and his money”. A fool, with a lot of the world’s goods, and a bad case of an “I” problem. What shall “I” do, with all of MY goods, which “I”, have laid up, for MY self? No thoughts about possibly giving some of this abundance away, to those who maybe don’t have enough for themselves, and their families. To those who maybe haven’t been, blessed so richly. And no prayer of thanksgiving to God, who is really the One who gave all that increase in the first place. Just a lot of “me, myself, and I”, and the sin, of “I, Me, Mine”.
A Song and a Religion
The Beatles recorded an interesting song, back in 1970. As a matter of fact, it was the very last song, that the Beatles ever recorded together as a group. Actually it was George Harrison, one of the Beatles, who wrote the song, and sang it, and the whole group recorded it as their final song. It might be interesting to note, that John Lennon wasn’t a part of that last recording. The report is that he was having “I” problems during that time. And the name of the song is, “I, Me, Mine”.
The Beatles had spent a lot of time in India, and got interested in the Hari-Krishna movement. Hari-Krishna is a specific form of Hinduism, which actually began sometime in the 16th century. “Krishna” is the Hindu name for a supreme being, and Hari-Krishnas, are those who worship that supreme being, in a specific manner, and with one fundamental belief. And that fundamental belief of Hari-Krishnas, is summed up in this statement..
“They are forever free, who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage, of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’ to be united with the Lord. This is the supreme state. Attain to this, and pass from death to immortality.”
You know, that doesn’t sound very much different from what the bible teaches. Wasn’t that the teaching of the parable that we just read? To be rich toward God, instead of simply being rich toward ourselves. We do need to provide for ourselves, and for our families. The bible says, in 1 Timothy 5, verse 8; “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” An “infidel”, some versions say.
And a Christian can even provide “richly” for their own household, if they’re able to. That’s not where the foolishness comes in, and that’s not where the sin comes in. But it’s when you are NOT rich toward God, that’s when it becomes foolishness, and that’s when it becomes a sin.
Yes, it is sinful, to NOT be rich toward God! Rich toward God, in every aspect of our lives! The greatest and foremost commandment of all time, tells us that. Jesus said in Mark 12, verse 30; “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; This is the first commandment.”
In other words, this is the most important commandment, it’s the foremost commandment; It takes precedent over all other commandments. And that’s what it means to be “rich toward God”. It means to LOVE God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, so that God takes precedent, over all other things.
And of course, to “love God” means to keep God’s commandments; John 14, verse 15. And Jesus said that the next greatest commandment, the one that takes the next precedence, is “like unto the first”. It’s like unto the first, because it too, has to do with love, and richness. But it’s certainly not loving ourselves, it’s loving others, that takes precedence over all things, all except loving God. Jesus said, in Mark 12:31; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” We need to be rich toward others.
So, where does that leave the “I, Me, Mine” mindset? It pretty much leaves it out of the picture, doesn’t it? But yet people are so obsessed with it; “I, Me, Mine”.. “I, Me, Mine”
Let me read to you the words to that song by George Harrison..
The music is kind of set to that of a waltz. Verse 1 says;
All through the day, I me mine, I me mine, I me mine..
All through the night, I me mine, I me mine, I me mine..
Now they’re frightened of leaving it.. (People are afraid to humble themselves; They’re afraid to let go of their pride)
Everyone’s weaving it.. Coming on strong all the time.. All through the day, I me mine.
(then comes the chorus, and the band jumps in, and the tempo increases) I-I-me-me-mine, I-I-me-me-mine.. I-I-me-me-mine, I-I-me-me-mine.
And verse 2, the waltz again..
All I can hear, I me mine, I me mine, I me mine..
Even those tears, I me mine, I me mine, I me mine.. (In other words, even the tears people shed, they’re simply tears for themselves) (Even those tears are “I, me, mine”)
No-one’s frightened of playing it.. Everyone’s saying it.. Flowing more freely than wine..
All through the day, I me mine.
A Sad Truth Forever
George Harrison wrote about it 50 years ago; But our Lord Jesus used a parable to teach about it, 2,000 years ago; And today, it’s still not any different; I me mine, I me, mine, I me mine.
Today, a lot of people call it “humanism”. It’s where YOU are your own god, and everything revolves around you. It’s where you exalt yourself, over everything else.
I, me, mine, takes precedent over all things. But remember what Jesus told us, really takes precedent? First, God takes precedent over ALL things. And next, all others take precedent from there. And finally, after God and others, comes ourselves. There’s a place for “I me mine”, but it’s not first place, it’s last place!
Jesus said, in Mathew 20, verse 16; “So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” What does He mean by that? Well, He means.. that “He who exalts himself, shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself, shall be exalted!” Mathew 23:12, and Luke 14:11. So in other words, if we exalt ourselves, by demanding that “I, me, mine”, comes first, then we’ll indeed be humbled by God. But on the other hand, if we humble ourselves by putting aside that very carnal.. “I, me, mine” attitude, then it’s God Himself, who will exalt us.
That’s really a lesson on understanding the difference between the carnal and the spiritual. Things that are carnal, are the things that have to do with this world, and with this physical life; And things which are spiritual, are things that have to do with our spiritual life, and with eternal life.
If you humble yourself in things relating to this physical life, and if you willingly take up the last place in things relating to this physical life, then God will exalt you spiritually, and He will place you among those who are first, in spiritual things.
But, if you put yourself first, and exalt yourself, in the things of this world, and in the things of this life, then God will indeed humble you spiritually, and put you among those who come last, in spiritual things. And what do you think you’ll receive, spiritually that is, if you are placed among the last? Well, I don’t think it will be eternal life.
Lose the Physical, Gain the Spiritual
Jesus had another saying that goes along with this whole thing. And this is another comparison between the physical and the spiritual. Jesus said in, Mark 8:35, and Luke 17:33; “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life, for My sake and the gospel’s, will save it.”
Mathew 10:39, changes the wording just slightly; “Whoever FINDS his life will lose it, and whoever LOSES his life for My sake will find it.”
And John 12:25 says it just slightly different yet; “Whoever LOVES his life will lose it, but whoever HATES his life in this world, will keep it for eternal life.”
Now that wording really illustrates the comparison between the physical and the spiritual, when it says; “..but whoever hates his life in THIS world, will keep it for ETERNAL life.”
But they’re all saying the same things as those other verses that I’ve read. If we exalt ourselves in this life, and if we put “I, me, mine” first in this life, and if we seek to find and to preserve that attitude in this life, and if we love ourselves and our life, in this life, then we will lose eternal life. we’ll be humbled spiritually; We’ll lose our spiritual life; We’ll end up hating our spiritual destiny.
But, on the other hand; If we “hate” this physical life, because we know it doesn’t hold anything for us anyway; And if we are willing to “lose” this life, and don’t try to preserve everything that we possess here in this life; And if we’re willing to put ourselves last, pertaining to things of this life, THEN, then God will exalt us, and put us first, and He will save us spiritually, and we will absolutely love, our eternal, spiritual, life.
But yet, in spite of all the bible tells us, and in spite of all the warnings that God gives us, and in spite of all the promises He gives us, in spite of all of that..
All through the day, and all through the night, everyone’s saying it, and no one’s frightened of playing it.. “I, me, mine, I, me, mine, I me, mine.”
Do you know what everyone should be saying? Instead of “I, me, mine”, everyone ought to be saying; “Thy, Thee, Thine”.
“THY will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” For THINE is the power and the kingdom and the glory, forever Amen.” And I praise THEE, O God., for the Son of Thy love”, as the song goes. That’s what we all need to be saying.
(Closing Hymn #283. Revive Us Again)