Monday, August 14, 2006

God @ The Movies: Millions

Today we look at the movie Millions. I chose it because I don’t think anyone here has seen it. It is after all, a British film from last year. Who has watched it?

A subtitle could be ‘Prosperity With a Purpose’. We’ve been looking at the questions, "Who are we; where did we come from; what should we do, and where are we going?" during this series. Today we clearly address what should we be doing.

Learn as many of life’s difficult lessons as you can from others.

We’ll pick the story up on the first day of school at a new school for Damian & Anthony, two brothers of elementary age. We’ll see the scene open up as their father, a widower, drops the boys off for school and sends them on their way with words of encouragement that only a father would attempt to use.

Scene 1 Chapter 2 7.06-8.48

While most of the boys talk about soccer players for Manchester United, Damian talks about his admiration for Catholic saints. Interesting. I still remember my first day of school in Grade Two. We had moved to north Edmonton because my mom was just remarried. I was terrified, and my oldest brother Larry walked to my first class. Mrs. Fargey was my teacher…

In this next scene, the boys and their father are a part of a community meeting concerning burglaries in this new neighborhood that they’ve moved into.

Scene 2 Chapter 3 10.50-12.06

The Mormons here represent any Christian group. Could easily have been labeled, “Baptists” or "Pentecostals" for that matter. One thing that Damian learned from his older brother was to mention that “our mom is dead”, and people will often give you things. Far from saying it to express grief, they simply use it like a magician might use abracadabra!

Everybody comes into life with some luggage. Or if you want to call it what it is, some baggage.

Now here’s where things get really interesting. Damian is lying in his cardboard box playhouse out by the train tracks doing what any 6 year old would do, when a train starts rattling his fun. He looks up and…

Scene 3 Chapter 4 15.30-18.50

Anybody notice what’s on the bag? The Nike swoosh: Just Do It!

What would you think if you all of a sudden had a big bag of money fall from the sky? Bought any lottery tickets recently? How about for that 30+ million jackpot for Lotto 6/49. By the way, did anybody win it?

Damian thinks God has sent the money. Wouldn’t you? Remember when I mentioned that he has catholic saints as heroes? Well that’s because they appear to me and talk with him. Let’s watch his talk with St. Francis of Assisi…

Scene 4 Chapter 5 19.35- 21.30

Right after this scene Saint Nick appears and helps Damian stuff several thousand pounds into the mailbox of the Mormons who live nearby. He thinks that they’re ‘poor’, and he wants to give the money away to the poor, because that’s what God would want.

1 Samuel 3:2-10
One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the LORD called out, "Samuel!"

"Yes?" Samuel replied. "What is it?" He got up and ran to Eli. "Here I am. Did you call me?"

"I didn't call you," Eli replied. "Go back to bed." So he did.

Then the LORD called out again, "Samuel!" Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. "Here I am. Did you call me?"

"I didn't call you, my son," Eli said. "Go back to bed."

Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before. So the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. "Here I am. Did you call me?"

Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, "Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, `Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.'"

So Samuel went back to bed. And the LORD came and called as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel replied, "Speak, your servant is listening."

God still speaks to little boys. Growing up I didn’t know God by name, yet I always knew he was there. There was no real reason for this. We never went to church, and I really didn’t have a great spiritual influence guiding me, either.

One of the most important journey lessons in following Jesus Christ is learning to hear his voice. How does God speak to you? Are you listening?

We might say that Damian is listening and hearing from God. His stance is one of generosity, characterized by “give, give, give”, or “yours, yours, yours”.

John 10:3-5, 10
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice. I have come to give them life, and life to the fullest.

God is a giving God. In John 3:16 we read that God gave his own son…

Well that worldview, the giving idea that has taken hold of Damian is about to be contrasted with a worldlier, more common Edmonton understanding that is all about greed, or ‘mine, mine, mine’.

Scene 5 Chapter 6 24.03- 25.20

Money doesn’t buy happiness but Anthony seems to think it can rent it for awhile. While Anthony is buying a better life Damian keeps meeting more of those saints. Lets watch as he encounters one from Uganda.

Scene 6 Chapter 6 26.50- 28.25

All of these visions have a profound effect on Damian. He is continually hearing from God, albeit in some unique ways and with some interesting twists.

In preparing for the annual Christmas concert, Damien is playing Joseph. His teacher interrupts the rehearsal to tell him that Joseph should be tired as he checks for a place for he and Mary to stay. Damian says that he would be excited because he’s about to be a father. The teacher says, ‘lets try ‘nervous’.’ Damian mutters to himself, “I would have said, ‘focused.’”

The story takes an interesting twist itself when we discover that the money was stolen from a train and thrown overboard. The thief shows up and stalks Damian, wanting his money. It turns out that it’s about a week to “E-Day”, the day that England joins the European family using the Euro. All Pound Sterling is going to be converted to Euros and then burned. This train was loaded with Pound Sterling to be burned!

Not only do they have all of this money, but it has to be spent or converted. Just do it!

Scene 7 Chapter 16 67.54-69.06

Mama always said there’s only some money you really need; everything else is window dressing. Forrest Gump

When Damian’s dad says, “I’ve bloody well earned it!”, had he really? How does Damian's dad justify his behavior? How do we justify our own?

Scene 8 Chapter 19 84.40- 88.17

God uses the dreams and visions to speak to Damian. What is God saying to you in your dreams and visions? Damian said, “Money is just a thing and things change.”

His mom reminds him that as simple as money is, it really complicated their life. And relationships are way more complicated than that. It’s true because one of life’s toughest lessons in following Jesus is that it’s better to be loving than to be right. We usually choose being right, a ‘thing’ over love and relationships.

When was the last time money played a significant part in one of your relationships? How did it change things?

Your childhood carries a choice: Use it for good, or lose the lessons it taught you.

There are a couple of great lessons in Millions: God still speaks, especially to young people, and even us older ones on occasion. Penny recently saw a film called An Inconvenient Truth about global warming and she felt God said to her, “My child, what are you and everyone else doing to the planet?”

The second great lesson is where does your own livelihood, your personal wealth, all of your possessions and money come from? And better yet, what are you going to do with it? What is God saying to you about your money?

We all are facing an E-Day. Call it the End of our life or end times day. It may only be a week away for some of us, for others it could be decades. It will come, though. Make no mistake about that. Just do it- ‘it’ being what God wants us to do.

1 Corinthians 15:58
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

Scene 9 Chapter 20 90.49- 93.27

“We have all these vaccines and yet people are dying in Africa. The inequity is gross. One day, Bill sent me an e-mail saying, ‘Dad, maybe we could do something about this.’ That’s when our global health initiative started. My son said in The New York Times, “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to cure the top twenty diseases.” So I said said, “Yes, I think that’s doable.” Bill Gates Sr.

"About eight years ago, Bill said that people in town (Seattle) were saying mean things about him -- that he didn’t answer his mail about requests for funding. So I said, “Why not give me all the mail? And I will meet with you quarterly or monthly and sort things out for you.” Bill Jr. said, “Good idea.” And thats how the foundation got started. Bill Gates Sr.

That foundation just receiced a $30 Billion gift from Warren Buffett. The two richest men in the world clearly want to be remembered for something other than amassing money!

What is God saying to you?

What is God saying about your money?

Where, or how, do you want your story to end?


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