Where Is Your Treasure?

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith
Rev. Rita S. Platt
October 5, 2014
“Where Is Your Treasure?” (Treasures, part 1)

Matthew 6:19-21

A pilot came on the intercom of his plane: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I have good news and bad. The bad news is that we’re lost. But, the good news is that we’re making excellent time!”  Some people don’t stop and ask directions when they’re lost, they just speed up… The Bible encourages us to check the map of God’s Word to see if we’re still on the right road.

That’s what we are going to be doing in the month of October.  We are going to stop and check the map.

Do you ever feel that the things you value and love get the least of your time, attention and money?  If you answer “yes” to that question you are not alone.  Many of us can answer yes to that question.   Our lives are filled with so much “stuff.”

It is important to set aside time to examine that “stuff” that is taking up our time, attention and money.

There is 2.3 billion square feet of rentable self-storage space in the United States. We have so much stuff that our homes can’t hold it. So what do we do…we rent a storage space. We neatly pack it with our valued possessions, close the door, put a lock on it.  After all, the contents are important things we saved for, deliberated over and purchased, stacked in that room . . . meaningful treasures that have been given to us.

At first you go by every week or so just to check in on it. There may be some things you discover you really need. But after a period of time paying for the rental of that storage space, do you know what most people discover? They don’t need the stuff that they have stored in the unit. 

Our treasure is not found in stuff.  For the next 4 weeks our sermon series is based on a study by Jack Armstrong called “Treasure.” (1)

The Treasure series is not an indictment on stuff.  This series is about where you are investing your life, but there’s no denying that it’s also about money. That’s because Jesus talked about money. In fact, Jesus talked more about money than about heaven and hell combined. Jesus talked more about money than anything except the Kingdom of God. Eleven of Jesus’ thirty-nine parables are about money. One of every seven verses in the Gospel of Luke talks about money. Why did Jesus talk so much about money?

Jesus Cares about Our Hearts – Jesus talks about money and treasure because he knows that they affect our hearts.  He knows money stresses our relationships. Money causes division in and among people. Money and its pursuit can be all-consuming and burdensome. Those who have lost jobs or find money hard to find will tell you that it is not just a financial issue but an emotional and spiritual one. Jesus talks about money because he cares about our hearts.

 

Our Treasure Shows Us Our Heart – “Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

We usually think that where our heart is, our treasure will follow. Jesus says that it is the opposite. Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. This is not just a change in semantics. Jesus knows that the place where we spend the majority of our time, our energy, and our money will become our treasure, whether we want it to or not.  They pull our heart in a direction that perhaps neither we nor God ever intended.

I don’t know if this is a true story or not, but it easily could be.  Dr. Robert Schuller was on a whirlwind book promotion tour in which he was visiting eight cities in four days. He was keeping an exhausting schedule in addition to maintaining his duties as pastor of what we now know as The Crystal Cathedral. As he was going over his itinerary, his secretary reminded him that when they returned home, he was scheduled to have lunch with the winner of a charity raffle in which someone had paid $500 dollars for the privilege of sharing that lunch with the Dr.. He was quite pleased that his presence was so highly valued, until he learned that it was his own daughter who had paid $500 for his “undivided” attention. If you had asked Schuller what he valued, I am certain his daughter would have been on top of the list

It is so easy for our priorities to be out-of-whack. To correct them requires a two pronged approach:

Begin to make a list of your top 10 priorities – be specific:

Taking care of my neighbor

Spending time with my grandchildren

Caring for the environment

Being involved in my community

Taking care of my body

Where does God fit in?

It can be challenging to really spend time considering what things we value, especially if you have never thought about it – or maybe it has been a very long time. After all, we know that sometimes it is hard to find time to think because life keeps us busy with “stuff.”  That’s why next week during the adult forum we are going to talk about our lists and share some of our struggles to determine priorites. I hope you will join us.

The second thing I would like each of us to do this week is pay attention to  how you are spending these 3 things:

Time

Energy

Money

The goal is to determine if how we are spending our time, energy and financial resources is in line with our priorities.  If not, what changes do we need to make?

 

(1)Treasure by Jacob Armstong; copyright 2014; Abingdon Press

Jacob Armstrong is the founding pastor of Providence Church, a vibrant young United Methodist congregation in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.