Summary: This message looks at Jesus’ words about materialism, possessions, and greed in one section of the Sermon on the Mount.
Facing Our Greedy Hearts:
1. Insecure investments make for worried minds.
- v. 19.
- We’re not just talking about a situation like hiding your cash under the mattress. Even when you put it in a bank with FDIC insurance, currency value can still plummet. Even when you invest in terrific companies, stocks can go down. Real estate value can drop. Even “priceless” antiques can be broken.
- This isn’t just the money we’ve got in the bank. It can also be the stress we deal with from our broken “toys” and the stress we feel because of the time required to keep up all the things we’ve brought into our lifestyle.
- Jesus notes two possible problems:
a. Time and nature (“moth and rust”).
- A couple weeks ago we were in the basement at Dad’s house when we got to talking about an old trunk that was sitting off to the side. It hadn’t been opened in probably 50 years. After fooling around with a lock that wouldn’t give, we ended up taking the bottom off. Inside were my great-grandfather’s old tools - all rusty and time-worn. They were interesting, but not valuable anymore.
b. People (“thieves”).
- Thinking of all the people who would love to take what you’ve got.
- When we invest in this world, our minds are constantly consumed with the thoughts of “What if?”.
- Can you imagine if a bank offered a 30-second CD? We’d all laugh them to scorn for thinking that anyone would want to invest their money for such a short period of time. Why then do we think it’s wise to put so much emphasis on investments that at best may last for 50 years when we’re given the opportunity to invest for eternity?
2. Having money is not morally wrong, but it is spiritually dangerous.
- v. 21.
- 1 Timothy 6:10, 17-19.
- The problem is that where our treasure is, there our heart will be. In other words, our treasure leads our heart. Our treasure draws our heart. (Of course, our heart is usually eager to go.)
- It’s not that money is wrong; money is morally neutral. The problem isn’t how much money we’ve got - it’s how much money has got us. And for most people, we don’t do very well with any significant amount without it taking us over.
- When our treasure is money or things of this earth, we are in dangerous spiritual territory because it is likely that our heart is being drawn there to. It’s not just our wallet that we’re talking about; it’s our soul as well.
3. What “I have my eye on” is a gauge of my heart’s darkness.
- v. 22-23.
- This doesn’t initially seem to be focused on money, but the fact that it’s right between two teachings about money leads you to think that this leads that way to.
- The material things (that new dress; that new boat; etc.) that I have my eye on has an effect all the way to my heart. If my eye is on things that are good, then I am going to enjoy great light within myself; if my eye is on things that are bad, then I am going to have to deal with darkness within myself.
- We like to pretend that we can spend our days looking at what all we can buy, while simultaneously our heart is totally devoted to God. The simple truth here is that what we’re looking at tells us a lot about what’s inside us.
- If I’m looking at porn, I’ve got spiritual darkness in my heart. If I’m looking greedily at what else I can buy, I’ve got spiritual darkness inside. If I’m looking at my bank account statement wondering how I can get more and more money, I’ve got spiritual darkness inside.
- If I’m looking at people and see their need for Jesus, I’ve got spiritual light inside. If I look at Wal-Mart and see things that I could buy to anonymously meet the need of someone in my church family, I’ve got spiritual light inside. If I look at my savings account and see money I can invest in the Kingdom, I’ve got spiritual light inside.
4. We’ve got to make choice: am I interested in “the good life” or “the God life”?
- v. 24.
- We can focus our hearts on living the “American dream” and all that comes with that, but if we do we need to understand that that will become the vision and passion of our lives, pushing God to the side.
- We can choose to make God the passion of our hearts, but that requires that we lay down our passion for cash and possessions.