Summary: This is lesson 10 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount.
Fix Your Treasures
What would you do for money? Many years ago, when this was still a large sum of money, a radio station in Chicago, WKOX, offered $10,000 to the person who came up with the most outlandish way to get the money. More than 6,000 people responded to the challenge, but the money went to Jay Gwaltney of Zionsville, Indiana. To get the money, Gwaltney ate an 11 foot birch sapling, leaves, roots, bark and all. For the event he wore a tuxedo and was seated at a table eloquently set with fine china and sterling silver. His only extra tool was a pair of pruning shears. He also enjoyed French dressing with this giant salad. Eating the tree took him 18 hours spread out over three days. At the end, he complained of an upset stomach.
This morning we continue our series from the Sermon on the Mount, Quick Sermons for Permanent Fixes. We are in Matthew 6:19 and Jesus is going to tell us how to fix our treasures.
Money is important. Sometimes we say “It’s only money” and we mean “It’s just money,” but money is more than money. Money is an indicator of our lives. In fact, money is one of the greatest indicators of our lives. Jesus speaks about money more than any other single topic recorded in the Bible. Jesus talks about money matters because Money mattes. It isn’t only money and we must learn how to fix our treasures if we would be kingdom people. Let’s read Matthew 6:19-24
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.
22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
The first thing Jesus tells us about money is that it is temporary but you can invest in eternity. Perhaps you’ve seen the bumper sticker “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Jesus says that it is true, but only if the toys are in the right place. The story is told of a rich man who died and went to heaven. He was met at the gates and told that he would be shown to his mansion. As they walked, he observed some huge homes. These would be fitting for someone in my position, he thought. But then they came to small shack and he was told this was his house. “But this isn’t fair” the man sputtered, “everyone else has such nice homes and I have this little dump!” “We’re sorry, sir,” came the reply, “but we did the best we could with the materials you sent.” You see, you can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead. So give your treasures the durability test. Will what you’re investing in pay off eternally? Not if it’s here on earth it won’t. Jesus doesn’t say not to store up treasures for yourself, he just cautions about where to put your treasures.
So how do we store up treasures in heaven? What is it that will carry us through to eternity in the black? That is where the rest of the text comes in. We spoke of the durability test - will your treasure last into eternity? - but Jesus next talks about the heart test.
Jesus says that money will lead your heart. Look very carefully at what he says. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. He does not say to put your treasure where your heart is, though that is often what we teach. We have it backwards. We say that you should believe in something and then “put your money where your mouth is.” Jesus rather encourages us to put our money where we want our mouth to be. You see, a lot of people that if you are really in love with God, if you feel overwhelmingly grateful for all that God has done for you, if you are a super spiritual saint, then you will be motivated to give that 10% of your income and even dip into your retirement account just to help pay off the building debt. But Jesus says the opposite. If you want to be that super spiritual saint, then invest with God. Wherever you put your money, your heart will follow. When you choose to invest your life in God’s purposes, you will find that your heart will fall deeply in love with God. Your heart will become passionate and excited about what God is doing because you’ll already be a part of it. We know how this works. If you invest a significant amount of money in Coca Cola stock, you will begin to follow that stock closely. If you invest in some rental property, you will begin to care about how well it is maintained. It works the same way with God. If you invest heavily in mission work in Venezuela, you will begin to be very concerned about how the work is going there and will probably pray for the missionaries there, too. When you give your money to help service the building debt or purchase transportation, you will be thrilled as you hear about the activities of this church that lead people to Christ. That teenager that was baptized at church camp? He rode to camp in a van I helped buy. You know that new family that just placed membership? They started coming to church here because the building I helped pay for was used for a crime watch meeting. That family came to the crime watch meetings and started coming to church. These stories are happening all the time. And they will happen even more in the future. You can be a part, but if you want to feel passionate about your relationship with God, you need to know that your heart follows your money.