Summary: In our lesson today Jesus teaches us about how to have a right view about wealth.
Three weeks ago I began a four-week series of messages titled, Wholehearted Generosity. Wholehearted generosity refers to a person who is completely, sincerely and authentically generous.
In the past three weeks we have said that wholehearted generosity involves wholehearted commitment, wholehearted stewardship, and wholehearted servanthood.
Today, in my final message in this series, I want to look at the topic of “Wholehearted Contribution.”
Let us read Matthew 6:19-21:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21)
Our text for today deals with your heart.
Now, I am not talking about your heart’s physiological location. Nor am I talking about the person with whom you are in love and have given your heart.
Rather, I am talking about your heart as “the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life.” I am talking about your heart “in terms of the investment of your life, motives, attitudes, and thought patterns. Where is the concentration and the preoccupation of your life? What particular object do you spend most of your thinking, planning, and energy on?”
Many people spend a lot of their time thinking about some thing like a house, a car, an investment, a bank account, a stock, a bond, a savings account, and so on. The sad fact is that we are creatures committed to things. Many societies are too poor to have things. But we are a society of things.
John MacArthur, in his book titled Overcoming Materialism, offers this analysis:
Mr. and Mrs. Thing are a very pleasant and successful couple. At least, that’s the verdict of most people, who tend to measure success with a “thingometer.” And when the “thingometer” is put to work in the life of Mr. and Mrs. Thing, the result is startling.
There he is, sitting down on a luxurious and very expensive thing, almost hidden by the large number of [other] things. . . . Things to sit on, things to sit at, things to cook on, things to eat from, all shining and new. Things, things, things.
Things to clean with, things to wash with, things to clean, and things to wash. Things to amuse, things to give pleasure, things to watch, and things to play. Things for the long, hot summers, things for the short, cold winters. Things for the big thing in which they live, things for the garden, things for the lounge, things for the kitchen, and things for the bedroom. Things on four wheels, things on two wheels, things to put on top of the four wheels, things to pull behind the four wheels, things to add to the interior of the thing on four wheels. . . .
Well, Mr. Thing, I’ve got some bad news for you. What’s that? You can’t hear me? The things are in the way? . . . But then, that’s the problem with things. Look at that thing standing outside your house. Whatever its value to the secondhand thingdealer, it means a lot to you. But then, an error in judgment, a temporary loss of concentration, and that thing can be a mass of mangled metal being towed off to the junkyard.
In spite of how silly this sounds, we are basically committed to acquiring things.
Sadly, the people in Jesus’ day were not that different from us. They were also basically committed to acquiring things. They had their hearts set on investing in themselves.
In our lesson today Jesus teaches us to have a right view about wealth. In the next section, he will teach about having a right view of necessities. But, in Matthew 6:19-21 he is teaching us how to have a right view about wealth.
Now, let me say that we have a lot of wealth. Even if we are struggling greatly with financial matters, we are wealthy in comparison to three-quarters of the world’s population. So, this passage is very relevant to every one of us here today.
But someone may say, “I thought that you said that our text for today deals with our heart. How do you get from our heart to our wealth?” Easy. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other words, the way you treat your wealth reveals where your heart is.
I. The Principle
Jesus teaches us that in God’s economy there are two treasuries: one is on earth, and the other is in heaven. And he gives us this principle from verse 19a and 20a: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”