Summary: BIG IDEA: Instead of pursuing the trivial, we should invest in the eternal.
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: “Trivial Pursuit”
INTRODUCTION: Trivial Pursuit is a board game for 2-6 players or teams, in which winning is determined by your ability to answer general knowledge and pop culture trivia questions. The game was created in December 1979 by two Canadian journalists; its popularity peaked in 1984, when over 20 million games were sold. Dozens of question sets have been released for the game, some designed around a specific era or as promotional tie-ins (such as Star Wars, Saturday Night Live, and The Lord of the Rings movies), and of course there’s an online version. The actual game play involves pieces of a pie that travel around in a circle without getting anywhere.
For many people, their entire life upon closer inspection is one big Trivial Pursuit. They collect their pieces of pie (school, job, house, car, investments, entertainment … God?) And they go around and around but wind up in the same place as they started. When the game is over, all the pieces go back in the box. And you can’t take any of your pie pieces with you. Sound familiar? Maybe a little too familiar?
>> Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that there’s a better way to approach life. Jesus says that instead of trivial pursuit, our lives should be about eternal investment. [BIG IDEA] INSTEAD OF PURSUING WHAT’S TRIVIAL, WE SHOULD INVEST IN WHAT’S ETERNAL. [READ Matthew 6:19-21]
I. WE SHOULD INVEST IN THE ETERNAL BECAUSE TRIVIAL PURSUITS DON'T LAST (19)
A. In the first century, banks did not exist, so people saved their wealth in three ways:
1. One was by hoarding garments. A cache of fine garments was as good as money in the bank, for they could be sold in the future.
2. A second way of accumulating wealth was to store grain in barns. Famine was an ever-present reality in the ancient world because of unpredictable rains. If you could store your grain until a famine came and prices soared, you could become fabulously wealthy.
3. The third method of saving lay in exchanging their assets for gold. Instead of locking it in a vault, however, they hid it in a pot or buried it in a field.
B. Jesus pointed to the ways rich people held their possessions, and warned that there are no safe investments.
1. For a gourmet moth beautiful garments make a splendid menu, and garments with holes become a lost investment.
2. Grain could be eaten by rats and mice.
3. Thieves can steal gold by breaking in.
People may have thought their garments, grain, and gold were secure, but moths, mice, and marauders could take them. They were not eternal investments.
C. 2000 years have passed. Our culture may have changed but the reality hasn’t.
1. Stocks and bonds are at the mercy of a changing market.
2. Inflation, like a rat, can nibble away at a bank account. Currency can be devalued.
3. Houses, boats, and cars are subject to fire, hurricanes, and rust. (I used to think the value of my house would always go up. That was before 2008.)
4. Even land can lose its value with just one chemical spill. Wherever we put our wealth on earth, there are no guarantees. Earthly investments are trivial pursuits!
>>Jesus gave better advice on investments. Equities built up in heaven are more secure and bring better dividends.
II. WE SHOULD INVEST IN THE ETERNAL BECAUSE ETERNAL INVESTMENTS KEEP (20)
>> So what does it mean to invest in the eternal? What are these "treasures in heaven" Jesus talks about?
A. “Treasures in heaven” should be applied as broadly as possible—as everything that we believers can take with us beyond the grave:
1. Holiness of character & obedience to God’s commands
2. Acts of service offered in worship to God
3. Souls introduced to Christ
4. Disciples nurtured in their faith
B. In this context, however, storing up treasures focuses particularly on the use of material resources to meet others’ physical and spiritual needs, in keeping with the priorities of God’s kingdom.
1. It means to give in support of God’s work in the world. What we invest in people lasts, because people are eternal.
2. [Quote] Jim Eliot, martyred missionary: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
C. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that if we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly, but if we sow generously, we will reap generously. This is good news for eternal investors.
1. When I give away something valuable, it feels like a loss. I had something, now I don’t. And that can be a tremendous disincentive to give more.
2. But Jesus puts this concept in a completely different light. He says that giving to God’s work is not giving something away—it’s an investment, not a loss.