Summary: Moth, rust, and burrowing thieves destroy our material possession so we must know how to invest in God's Economy.
Grant Avenue Baptist Church
2215 Grant Avenue
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
WHAT NOT TO DO!
“Do Not Store Up” could also be translated “stop storing up.” In other words, Christ was calling for a decisive break with the tradition of the Pharisees. For the Pharisees, what they had defined who they were. In the Jewish tradition if you were able to pile up wealth it meant that God was supposedly blessing you and providing for you. We meet people today who believe the same thing. But remember, in the sermon on the mount Jesus is challenging the teaching and traditions of the Pharisees and demonstrating that His followers would need to have a changed heart.
We often do not think of fine clothing as treasure. Of course, most of the men in our church have never had a designer label suit in our life. However, in the ancient world folks usually had very few articles of clothing. Did you ever notice what got Achan in trouble at Jericho. He didn’t just take money, he took a fine Babylonian garment. Elisha’s servant, Gahazi, didn’t just ask for money from Namaan, but he asked for several suits of fine clothing. Why was fine clothing considered treasure? Because it gave an outward appearance of wealth! Clothing as treasure is important in the context of this chapter because we are told not to do things (fast, pray, give) for the purpose of impressing others with our spirituality.
WHAT TO DO!
We are commanded to start storing up treasures in Heaven. How is that accomplished? First, invest in that which is eternal. Invest in God’s kingdom work. Trees don’t go to heaven. Dogs don’t go to heaven. Horses don’t go to heaven. PEOPLE go to Heaven. Therefore, the greatest investment you can make is in people.
First, invest in yourself. Treasure godly characteristics such as honesty, love, holiness, integrity.
Second, invest in the church: time, money, and effort. The goals of the church are to reach people for Christ and to grow people in Christ. If you are involved in reaching people and helping them grow in Christ then you are investing in that which is eternal.
TWO IMPORTANT REASONS WHY
That which is no eternal is subject to decay, corruption, and destruction. The word which is used to translate as “rust” is the Greek word brosis which means to be eaten away. Everything on earth is subject to decay. If you take coins and clothing and lock them in a trunk and hide them in your attic- when you come back in twenty years the clothes will smell, the threads are likely to be rotten, and the coins will have started to tarnish. Twenty years is no time at all.
Not to mention the concept of thieves who will steal from you. The Greek word that we see translated as break literally means to dig through. In ancient times, the homes were made of mud-brick walls and sneak thieves would dig through the walls in order to gain access without being seen or heard.
I saw a news story this week about a jewelry store burglary. The owners of the store never imagined that someone would break into an empty store next door and then dig through the walls into their store. They thought the alarms on the doors and windows would be adequate to prevent theft. I’ve heard it said that you cannot stop thieves, you just slow them down.
Everything we invest in that which is not eternal will decay or be taken from us.
The second reason is more important. Jesus points out that we need to understand that which we value is an indication of where our heart is at. If we are truly focused on God and His value system, things are not “treasured” but are just things.
I want you to stop and think for a moment about your most valued possession. It may be something you keep in a locked box. It might be something you use everyday. If your focus in life is keeping that item, remember that you can’t take it with you anyway. There are no Ferraris in heaven, much less Mustangs and Mercedes. That precious bit of jewelry won’t make it either.
I want to offer a simple warning here. I’m not suggesting that we are not to have those things, but that instead our attitude towards those things needs to be watched over. If obtaining things is our focus then we aren’t focused on what God is concerned with—PEOPLE!
The things that occupy the center of our heart are the most highly treasured and become the focus of our daily activity, personality, emotions, etc.
Do you remember the children’s song- Be careful little eyes what you see? What you see CAN affect what the heart feels! It can affect what you think!