I. It is that time of year again when the school bells begin to ring
A. By the time a student graduates from high school, he will have invested about 15,120 hours in understanding a wide variety of subjects, which are considered necessary for success in this world.
B. Many go on to college where they will spend another 1,920 hours studying in a particular subject area to prepare for a specific career.
C. Graduation is not the end of learning by any means. As you work in your selected field, you constantly improve yourself to hold on to your job and to advance through the ranks.
D. As valuable as all this formal education is and as good as teachers may be, there are many things one learn that is never taught in those 17,040 hours of education.
II. You can be rich without money
A. If you stopped each graduate as he stepped off the stage and asked the question, “What is your goal in life?” the most popular answer would be, “To make a lot of money.”
1. They learn this from their teachers and from the materialistic society we live in.
a. However, it is not a goal worthy of those called to be Christians.
2. Pr. 23:4 - Labor not to be rich
3. Matt 19:23 - The rich have difficulty entering the kingdom of Heaven.
4. Warnings are given to those who trust in riches and are not spiritually wealthy - Luke 12:21.
5. Those who are rich face additional temptations - I Tim 6:9
6. If being rich is your goal, you are asking to walk thorn-infested trail barefooted.
B. Money is not were it is at. It is possible to be rich and never have a large bank account or a fat wallet. - Pr 13:7
1. There was a church that was material poor, but rich towards God - Rev. 2:9. Imagine that, rich poor people!
2. II Cor 6:10 - Paul made many rich
a. An this from a man who was often in want himself - Phil 4:10
b. He gave people something that no money could buy — salvation from sin and a home in heaven!
3. Jesus came from heaven that we might be rich - II Cor. 8:9
a. We are not talking about a Mercedes and a 20 room mansion here.
b. Eph 1:3 - we are to accumulate spiritual treasure.
4. God wants us to be rich in good works - I Tim 6:17-18
5. We are to be rich in faith - James 2:5
C. You may make a lot of money in your lifetime. If you are so blessed, use it for God’s glory, but don’t set your heart on the accumulation of wealth. Labor for the things which money cannot buy.
III. The way up is down
A. Many graduates are ready to climb the ladder to success. Some are so eager, they think they can skip every other rung on the way.
1. They are the ones who want to succeed no matter what the cost may be.
2. If they have to step on a few hands and burst a few bubbles on the way, so be it.
3. They want self assurance to show in their clothes, their walk, their smile, their car, and their speech.
B. Jesus didn’t see success in this manner.
1. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted - Matt 23:12
C. If you want to get noticed by THE BOSS, the one who ultimately counts, then take a back seat to others.
1. God respects the lowly - Ps. 138:6
2. The humble are better off - Pr 16:9
D. Humility means “low-lying, something on the ground” according to Vine.
E. Pride is the opposite of humility. Pride is taught in school and society. Humility is taught by God.
1. Pride defiles a man - Mark 7:21-23
2. The proud think they are better than others. Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican? - Luke 18:9-14
3. Blessings come on those who are poor in spirit - Matt 5:3
4. The Bible is filled with warnings about pride. Pride is one of the most frequently mentioned sins by God.
a. It is what brought Satan low - Ezek 28:13-17
b. It is what Satan uses to ensnare us - I John 2:16
F. Watch out for pride, you have to go low to get up high.
IV. You are strong when you are weak
A. The world sees a strong man as one who has fought his way to the top and has held on to his position against all comers.
1. To him, it is a dog-eat-dog world.
2. “Don’t ever let them see you sweat.”
3. Get others before they get you.
B. God doesn’t see strength that way
1. Paul said when I am weak, then am I strong - II Cor. 12:9-10
2. It is because his trust is in God’s strength
3. God chose the weak things in this world to confound the mighty - I Cor. 1:27
V. You must cry to be happy
A. The world loves a party.
1. A good portion of the money people make is spent on entertainment, humor, and escapism.
2. Few want to think seriously about their spiritual life, let alone their after-life.
B. But a wise man will stop and ponder his mistakes and his future
1. He will mourn over his sins. Only then can he be happy.
2. Matt 5:4 - Happy are the mourners, because they will be comforted.
3. Ps. 126:5-6 - We harvest through our tears.
VI. You learn a lot in school, but the most important lessons are found in God’s textbook.