Matthew 6: 19-21 (ESV): Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Isn’t it profound the scripture says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also? So, where is your treasure? And who is your treasure? And what do you treasure?
How we spend our money demonstrates what is most important to us. Billions of people around the world live on less than two dollars per day. Americans have no context, for the most part, to even grasp this fact. We have so much “stuff” from homes, to furnishings, to vehicles, to clothing, to the ability to choose from any number of restaurants or coffee shops to quench our hunger or thirst. The truth is anything we possess or earn is at the will of God.
Don’t get us wrong. We enjoy nice things. We also know all good things come from our heavenly Father (paraphrase: James 1:17). Having experienced Bill’s penchant for desiring nice cars since he was a teenager, there have been many reminders from Elaine over the years that a car is simply metal and plastic that will fall apart in time. No material thing in this life will last forever. God has given us abilities to create and build, with the intention to give and not hoard. How we spend the money God entrusts to us, and asks us to steward, is important.
The three stories Pastor Bryon shared indicate we can be rich and believe we are building wealth only for ourselves; we can be rich and use others to serve us; or we can be rich, and with Jesus as our treasure, learn how to serve and give to others. To keep from allowing the money and stuff we have own us, we must give it away. This was Jesus’ example. Those with much should care for those with little.
The missionaries shared today about their ministry to those enslaved in human trafficking. Have we become so numb in our American consumerism mentality, that we no longer see those in need? This could include the addict, the mentally ill, those grasped in the clutch of poverty, or the women consumed by the sex trade and pornography.
Our western culture has been built on consumerism and entitlement. Instead of using what we have received to help others, it often morphs into enslavement. It takes a unique person to be so free from the entrapment of stuff, to freely give it away. God meant for us to live in community. When anyone in the community is in need or hurting, we have an obligation to meet the need.
It is compelling that Luke 16:19-26 tells us about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is tormented in hell, calling out to Abraham to send Lazarus, the poor man, to give him a drop of water. Wow! Even in hell, the rich man didn’t get it. How sad he still expected the poor man to serve him.
We live in a unique time with unique riches. Our treasure, what our hearts yearn for. How wonderful would it be if, when we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit telling us to give money, share food, spend time, find a job for someone, visit the sick, hold a hand, cry with, pray for, be present for others…..we do it.
by Bill and Elaine Lang
Bill and Elaine have served the Lord together since 1983 and have been members of Kingsway Church since 2007. They have served in worship, life group, and mission team leadership. They have two married sons and an adult daughter, along with five grandchildren, and will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2020. They are avid readers and podcast listeners on all subjects related to the kingdom of God and His mission, with great passion to help people find and follow Jesus. Bill currently serves as a member of the Kingsway Church Board.