Summary: We invest in the kingdom of heaven by investing in the lives of people.
In the movie, “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” Captain Jack Sparrow has a compass. It is no ordinary compass. Rather than pointing north, it points toward whatever the person holding it wants most. It might be treasure, or a person, or a location. But it only works if the person holding it knows what they want.
But Captain Jack, self-centered as he is, doesn’t really know what he wants and so the compass doesn’t always work for him. In the second “Pirates” movie, when he is trying to find the chest containing the still-beating heart of Davy Jones (which, by the way, gives a whole new meaning to “where your treasure is, there your heart will be”) Jack can’t get a heading from his compass. So he convinces Elizabeth that finding the chest will reunite her with her true love. And because her heart is more certain at that moment than his, they get their heading and continue their journey.
What if you had a compass like that this morning? Where would the needle point? What is it that you treasure most in your life? Those are the questions that Jesus is dealing with in the passage that we’ll be focusing on this morning. So go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Matthew 6 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 19:
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.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV)
Last week, we began a series of five messages that focus on our kingdom stewardship by developing four foundational principles. Since we want to make sure that we continue building on a firm foundation this morning, let’s review them briefly:
Foundational principle #1:
• God owns everything
Foundational principle #2:
• God has appointed us to be stewards of what He owns
Foundational principle #3:
• We will be held accountable for our stewardship
Foundational principle #4:
• Stewardship is required in all areas of my life
We’ll evaluate these words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount using these foundational principles as our guide. Although at first glance it may appear that Jesus is making three unrelated statements, He is actually using a common Rabbinical technique of parallelism in which He is communicating the same underlying principle with three separate illustrations.
Jesus is sharing some crucial investment principles with His followers in this passage – not some hot stock tips to generate temporary wealth in the stock market, but something far more important – principles that will enable us to be rich for eternity as we invest in His kingdom.
Although on the surface Jesus seems to be dealing primarily with our financial resources, the principles that He lays out for us here deal with every area of our lives. As we saw clearly last week, our stewardship is not limited to our financial resources and possessions – it is also required of our time, our talents and of the gospel that has been entrusted to us.
Since I have accumulated some retirement savings from my previous jobs, I have a responsibility to invest those funds wisely in order to be a good steward. So although I have an accounting degree and quite a bit of knowledge in the area of finances, I use a professional financial advisor to help me invest those funds wisely because I don’t have the time to devote in order to do that effectively myself.
But in order for him to be able to invest my funds appropriately, I have to make a number of choices that impact his recommendations. I have to choose when I plan to begin to start using those funds, I have to choose the amount of risk that I am comfortable with. I have to choose how much discretion to give him in investing my money and how often we meet to discuss those investments.
Investing in God’s kingdom also requires us to make a number of choices. The passage that we’re looking at this morning deals with three of those choices that will determine just how effective that I will be in my investments there.