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A Cure for Spoiled-ness
A dialog sermon for Thanksgiving
Based on Deuteronomy 8:7-18
By Jim from B.C.

A:  You look terrible.  What's the problem?

B:  My mother died in June, and left me $10,000.

A:  Gee, that's tough.

B:  Then in July, my father died.  He left me $50,000.

A:  Wow.  Two parents gone in two months.  No wonder you're depressed.

B:  And last month my aunt died, and left me $15,000.

A:  Three close family members lost in three months??  How sad!

B:  Then this past month, nothing!  Not a dime!

A:  (Pause) Well, you sure have your priorities right.

B:  Hey, don’t be sarcastic.  I’ll have you know that I saved all that money I inherited.

A:  You did?

B:  Yeah, until yesterday, when I went out and bought a new Mercedes.

A:  What?

B:  Yeah, it cost more than I had, so I traded in my Cadillac.  I was going to use the inheritance money to buy a small car for each of my three kids, but I decided against that.

A:  Why was that?

B:  My kids are spoiled!  I’ve given them everything they’ve ever asked for!  They have so many toys and games and other goods that they’re starting to complain even at Christmas.

A:  You mean, if the present isn’t big enough or costly enough, they don’t appreciate it?

B:  Not only don’t appreciate it, but they want to take it back to the store and get the bigger and better model.

A: But don’t they even say “thank you” when you give them a present?

B: Yeah, sure!  They get down on their hands and knees like Muslims, and bow before me three times a day, saying: “O giver of all good things, a thousand thanks!   How can we ever repay you?!”

A: You’re getting sarcastic again.

B:  Sorry.  I was thinking:  How is it that we human beings so easily get spoiled?

A:  It’s pretty easy these days.  God gives us more food and clothing than we need.  God gives us more TV and movies and entertainment than we need.   God give us freedom to walk the streets without being shot and comfortable beds to sleep in when we come home.  We have so much, that it’s easy to take it all for granted, as if it were normal.

B:  Now that I think of it, there are in many countries in the world where people don’t have all those things that are normal and ordinary to us.

A:  Even doctors and hospitals and schools and churches.

B:  God wouldn’t take those things away from us, would he?

A:  It’s possible.  It happened to the ancient Israelites, way back in Old Testament times.  You can read about it in the Bible.  When God brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, the land was so rich with food and water and trees and wild-life, that they became spoiled.  They called it a land of milk and honey.   But they soon forgot who gave it all to them.

B:  You mean, forgot about God.

A: Right.  In the book of Deuteronomy, God spoke through Moses to the people, saying, “When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery . . . He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.”

B: That’s what God said?

A: That’s right.

B: So being spoiled and thankless is nothing new.

A: Perhaps we would be more thankful if we remembered who owns the earth and owns our natural resources and owns us.

B: Our Creator, you mean.

A: Yes, and every time we forget, God is so kind that he allows us to come back to him and say we’re sorry.  God forgives us as many times as we sincerely ask him.

B: So we need to remember that the God who created us, also loves us.

A: Right, and God showed that love most clearly by coming to earth at Christmas, being our Messiah/Christ, and dying for us, atoning for all our sins, so that we could always be on good terms with God.

B: So God owns us twice.  Once because he created us and once and for all because he redeemed us.

A: Yes, the word “redeemed” means that Christ bought us back from our ignorance and delusions of self-ownership.  For this, above all, we should be thankful.

B: How can we help people appreciate the goodness of God and the dangers of being spoiled?

A: Well, for one thing:  by telling the Bible stories of how God showed his love in the past.  For another thing, telling our OWN stories of God’s goodness to us, how God has given to us, or taken away from us, and what we’ve learned from it.

B: I heard a story the other day that might help to get the point across.  It seems there was a group of scientists got together and decided that humanity had come a long way and no longer needed God.  So they picked one scientist to go and break the news to God.  "We can clone humans now, so we don't need you," they said.   God listened very kindly, then suggested, "Why don't we have a contest to see who can make the best human?  "Great!" said the scientist.          "And we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Eve and Adam." "Sure, no problem," said the scientist, and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt. "No, no, no," said God. "You go get your own dirt!"