Summary: Did you know that this age seeks to distract you from becoming like the Lord and serving in His story? Plenty and want are two sides of the same coin and they seek to keep us from freely loving and being used by God. Find out how to beat them at their own
So far in our study of the book of Matthew we have seen Jesus proclaim that only by realizing our lack or rightness and God’s provision of life can we have hope and a future. We saw that God intends for us to be light and salt—communicating His message to a dark and bland world. We saw that God is about fixing a broken relationship with Him and that as we experience this new life we need to do God’s work in a way that focuses not on ourselves, but on Him.
Then we saw the model prayer for someone with a relationship with God—proclaiming the incredibleness of God, wanting His ways to be our ways everywhere, and asking for provision, healing, protection and mercy so we can be available to be the kind of people doing the kinds of things He wants us to do. But there’s a problem—and it comes in the form of distractions.
Are you easily distracted? We have a little puppy at our house, Anna. She is a Bichon Havanese. Anna has very good hearing and at every little sound she spins her little head around—it could be a lawn mower, someone coughing, another dog barking (which often scares her). But she is kind of the poster puppy for Attention Deficit Disorder—unless our other dog, Amy, has a rawhide bone, then she is fully focused on stealing it for herself!
For us who name the name of Jesus there are two great distractions that keep us from being effective for the Lord—and they are two sides of the same coin: plenty and want.
When we have lots of stuff we become self-reliant, not God-reliant. When we lack stuff we worry about not having it. It’s not about whether you are rich or poor—not about what you have but about who or what has you.
The enemy is very adept at distracting us by the stuff of this age—he’s been doing it since the Garden of Eden when he lured Eve into believing that God could not be trusted to supply our every need.
At first blush, chapter 6 verses 19-24 and verses 25-34 don’t seem related, but I think they are very related. If we are so focused on what we get in this age; we will not focus on what is of eternal, rather than temporal value. Second, if we over worry about how to supply our needs in this age, we become unavailable for God to use us.
19 – 21
Where is your treasure? By that I mean, what holds your attention and captivates you? Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages us to take an eternal view of life.
Paul taught is protégé Timothy about what can happen when the things this age values (money, power, intelligence, beauty) take over the controls.
1 Tim 6:6-10 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Basically all the stuff and systems of this age are going to burn up.
2 Peter 3:10 … the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
If we invest our souls in the things of this age we will lose it all. One way you can measure how much hold things have on you is to imagine they are destroyed by a fire. What would your reaction be? Part of the problem here is that we don’t trust God because we have lost our perceived need for Him due to our success. We forget that it all belongs to God, that our possessions are not “blessing” for our behavior but merely God entrusting some stuff for us to care for and that to the extent we let it use us we are violating that stewardship trust.
Instead of counting all the things you have here, count what is being invested into your heavenly account, which is not subject to government takeover or failure!
So how do we invest in the kingdom of heaven?
• Place your heart on deposit with God (accept Jesus)
• Make yourself available to Him to change and use (Romans 12:1)