Summary: We live in a wolrd where the law of loss rules -- where things break down, fall apart, or are even stolen. What if we could find something that had permanent value? Where can we store it? What does that look like?
We see the evidence everywhere.
It’s seen in a bike no longer ridden...
a washer or dryer no longer functioning...
a table or chair with a busted leg...
a television that stopped working...
How many of you have something you once valued now stored in your garage, shop, attic, or basement? Items you spent money on that are now useless and without any real value?
Many of us have experienced it. We purchase an item and eventually that item ends up condemned to the land of broken things. Time and age caught up with it. If that wasn’t bad enough, we also have to worry about people robbing us of what still has value. Have you ever been robbed?
At college, I worked as the assistant manager at our campus bookstore. I came to work one morning to open the store for business. I unlocked the doors, turned on the lights, and the first thing I noticed was the glittering of what I thought was Christmas tinsel at the back of the store. It was around Christmas time and I thought someone had left a mess. I also noticed the store was colder than usual. I walked to the back of the store to clean up the tinsel and discovered it wasn’t tinsel at all. It was broken glass. It took me a minute to process the implications. I thought that someone had gotten the riding mower too close and it had thrown a rock through the window and shattered it. But that didn’t make any sensen. It was the middle of winter. There was a foot of snow on the ground.
It was then the thought materialized. We’ve been robbed! I knew what thieves would take first. I headed straight to our display shelf with laptop computers. They were gone. Little bits of plastic remained where the security locks had been ripped from the computers. If you’ve been there, you probably know the feelings. I was scared and angry.
I immediately called 911 and they told me to take an inventory of the missing items. In the final analysis, we were missing 4 laptop computers, several books, some bottles of soda, and a Sam’s Club bulk tube of beef jerky. (I guess thieves build up big appetites.)
Main Idea (Common Ground)
This world brings with it constant loss. How many of us have ever had something we valued broken, lost, or stolen? The world is ruled by the Law of Loss.
We see this law at work everywhere.
The stocks we trusted as we put our money in for retirement decline sharply in value.
Real Estate values go south and the house we thought would be a good investment gets foreclosed on. We are told that social security needs to be fixed or it will not be around.
For many people without retirement that’s a scary prospect.
Are we stuck in a world that’s in the grip of the Law of loss? What if we could find something permanent?
Turn with me to Matthew 6:19-24. It has been the theme verse of our series of messages on stewardship. These are the words of Jesus. Listen to what Jesus says.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus talks about treasure. Things we might value. Things we deeply desire. What we seek to possess above anything else.
It’s more than we collect. One of my daughters collects state spoons. My wife collects cookie jars. I collect electronics. They all collect dust. It’s more than that; it’s what we want to hold onto for the long haul.
Jesus makes the point that on earth, the things we try to store up and protect are vulnerable to the law of loss. Actually he goes a step further. He suggests that sooner or later treasures stored on earth will either be un-repairable, lost, or stolen. Someone else will enjoy the value of our item (for the short term) or the item will lose value altogether.
The treasures on Earth that are stored do not have any permanent value. We’ve seen it.
A few weeks ago, I was driving home on the interstate and saw a pickup truck pulling a trailer with the rusted out shell of an old car on it. All I know was that the car on that trailer was an antique. It was covered in rust from bumper to bumper. But I could tell from the smile on the truck drivers face and the way the car was strapped down that someone had purchased that rusted out shell in order to restore it. I’d love to see it when it is remade.