If you've been to Disneyland or Disneyworld you've probably experienced an attraction called "Small World." You get in this little boat and you're propelled along this winding canal where you're surrounded by animated dolls from every conceivable area of the world. They're all children. Arab children, Indian children, French children, Mexican children, Eskimo children - you get the idea. These animated children are singing to you "It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small, small world." You say, Ron, those lyrics are monotonous. You should take the ride! You get to hear it about fifty times. The singing dolls are cute, and the song's okay for a little while, but by the time you hear it over and over and over, you have had enough of a small, small world!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "It's A Too-Small World."
Now, you may have never been on the "Small World" ride, but you still might be sick of a small, small world! A lot of us are living in one and we may not even realize it. We do realize it's a world of frustration, negative thinking, sameness, monotony - smallness! It's called the world of me. The world of self-focused living.
God addresses this inwardly focused kind of living in our word for today from the Word of God, 2 Corinthians 5:15. "Christ's love compels us. He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves." Now, that is supposed to be the radicalizing effect of Christ coming into your life. Radical, because, it reverses the way we've been programmed since we were babies. Back then we expected the whole world to revolve around our needs - time for me to eat, make life miserable until you feed me, time for me to burp, time for me to wake up, time for me to get a new diaper. No thought for how it effected anybody else! We were totally focused on ourselves.
We're older now, but, the baby is still in there wanting the attention to be on me - wanting my needs to be taken care of, wanting my agenda carried out, wanting my issues dealt with, wanting my way. In fact, most researchers agree that those of us who were in the baby-boomer or baby-buster generations are really into ourselves.
Two factors can make you a pretty self-focused person. One is busyness - "I'm just too busy to think of the needs beyond my back yard! I've got my hands full." The other factor is pain - "I've been a victim and I'm hurting too much to be aware of what's happening to other people." And then along comes Jesus - no one had more to do in a lifetime than He did. Talk about busyness! He is constantly stopping for others, constantly forgetting Himself to meet the needs of others. No one had ever carried more pain than Jesus did, all the grief, of all the sin, of all the world. Yet even during the agony of His crucifixion Jesus is worrying about the needs of His mother, He's carrying for His friend John, He's carrying for the eternity of the thief next to Him, and He's even carrying about the people who crucified Him!
When you invite Jesus into your life, it's this Jesus you get! He wants you to be like Him, self-forgetful, not self-focused. A world that's only as big as you are is too small a world to live in. Jesus invites you to break out, to start finding the needs around you and doing something about them. To focus on others instead of yourself, to find your life by giving it away, not to lose your life by hanging onto it. Jesus died so we should no longer live for ourselves. Haven't you been in a small, small world long enough?