Summary: Worry and Anxiety is an indication that your treasures are living in the wrong kingdom.
If you want to follow along today, we are going to be looking at the gospel of Matthew, chapter 6 starting at verse 19 going down to verse 34. While we are looking up those passages, I have a question. Anybody heard of a guy named Bobby McFerrin? A few of you. Bobby McFerrin is a musician and songwriter and is famous for a song that was produced in 1988 called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. In case you don’t know the song, I thought I would put up some of the lyrics. I am not a very good singer, so I need somebody to lead me in this. (Sings song here.) Wouldn’t it be nice, if we were feeling down or worried, to just sing a song and be happy? Really that doesn’t work. As we find out in today’s passage, the long-term happiness does not come from singing a song. It really comes from seeking God out. Specifically from seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness. We are going to see that in today’s passage, Matthew 6:19-34. (Scripture read here.) There is a lot of passage here. I actually was just going to focus on the part about do not worry, but I realized you have to start with the whole idea of treasures. It all ties together. This particular passage is contained in what is called the Sermon on the Mount. We have been looking at the Sermon on the Mount for the last few weeks and the idea that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was teaching his disciples about what it is like to live in the kingdom of God. When you live in the kingdom of God, although in the long term it is probably better, for the short term it is kind of a more difficult life because it goes against the grain of popular thinking. We see that going against the grain in the very first opening line. It says “Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” As ancient as this passage is, obviously it is over 2,000 years old, it seems very applicable today. We, especially as Americans, get caught up in purchasing, accumulating, and storing up things. In fact, I just read that we spent last year $99.5 billion dollars just on technology and electronics. That is a lot of stuff. Even though we still have to worry about thieves taking about our stuff, we really don’t have to worry so much about moths and rust. A little bit there. But really if Jesus was giving these words today, I suspect he would say do not store up these things because ultimately they are going to become obsolete or they just become broken. They become things you find in a garage sale, a thrift store, or possibly even an estate sale.
As a side note, last Saturday, I was sitting on my porch and I noticed a lot of cars going by. Finally I realized there was an estate sale down the street. Back in the day, I used to enjoy going to estate sales and garage sales but not so much lately because I really don’t need more junk in my house, but I couldn’t resist going down there just to see what they had. I went down there and of course I couldn’t get away without buying something. I ended up buying a 1954 Roy Rogers metal lunchbox with the thermos intact. I couldn’t resist it. I did breakdown and buy that. But I began to think about estate sales. Really estate sales are sad things to think about. Estate sale basically means that you are going through somebodies estate. All their treasures and the things they had valued their entire life, one day somebody is going to be picking through all those treasures and buying them for pennies on the dollar. Really it is kind of a sad thing. So today’s passage by Jesus is really a fresh reminder that we shouldn’t store up things on earth because they are ultimately going to go away. They are going to be broken, sold in an estate sale, or whatever. But Jesus, again, never leaves us without a solution. Jesus goes on to say “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
About this time, I would suspect that the people in the crowd are thinking Jesus is getting a little weird on us again. I don’t get what he is saying. What does he mean by storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven? We don’t have alto of information here, but at a minimum, it is putting things in a place where thieves can’t get their hands on them. The estate sale managers cannot get their hands on them and where rust and moths cannot go after it. What he is talking about is spiritual things. Spiritual things that are a result of living a life that is geared towards God and geared towards others. The fruit of such life; love, joy, peace, patience, and all that kind of stuff. That is the fruit of a life well lived. Those are the types of treasures that we are storing up in heaven. Even more than that, I think he is alluding to the fact that in the kingdom of God, in God’s heaven, there is this abundant storage locker of resources that is available to us right now every single day. We just need to learn how to tap into it. So Jesus opens up talking about don’t store your stuff in a location on earth. Store it up in heaven. But I really don’t think he is ultimately concerned about really the location of the treasure but rather that the location of your treasure has to do with the location of your heart. He goes on to say “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus uses the word heart a lot of different ways and times. We see it throughout the New Testament. You can think of heart as the will. You can think of it as the control center of the human body. We are not talking about the physical heart. We are talking about the spiritual heart, the inner person that pretty much controls our desire. If our heart is bent towards God and his kingdom, Jesus seems to imply that you will live a well-ordered life. On the other hand, if you have a heart that is geared towards earth and earthly possessions, basically you are going to have a life that is disordered and really a life that is going to be full of anxiety and worry and all sorts of things because you are going to be living in what I call the kingdom of self rather than the kingdom of God. I have said before that we all have a kingdom. There is a kingdom of God, but there is a kingdom of self. Even if you are a single person with pets, you have a kingdom. That is your realm of influence. Some people have kingdoms at work where they oversee several different employees. Some people have kingdoms that include entire nations like we see with Putin and the guy in North Korea. We have people that have kingdoms over there. I think what Jesus is saying is be careful where you build your kingdom. The kingdoms of self will not last. Ultimately, the kingdoms of self will crumble and somebody will end up picking over the stuff in your kingdom. On the other hand, we have this phenomenal kingdom that is available to us; the kingdom of God with all these rich possessions we can begin to tap into.