Summary: Jesus wants us to realize, "My stuff is not safe here."
July 1, 2001
The Treasure Chest – Part 1
Look at your outline in the bulletin. If you don’t have a bulletin, grab a prayer request card, or some scrap of paper. Draw a line, and underneath it, in a column, put the numbers 1, 2 and 3.
Here’s what I want you to do. On the line, write down one item you own that you really like a lot. (This isn’t a trick, so you don’t have to write down “My Bible” just because you’re in church.) Just write down something you own that you really appreciate. If you really like your house, write down your house. If it’s an item of jewelry write it down. If it’s a power tool or appliance, same thing.
Now, as fast as you can, write down 3 things you would not like to have happen to that item.
OK. Now, I want you to stand up, get in groups of 2-3 and share what you wrote down.
(Allow about a minute – “Alright, go ahead and be seated again.”)
I thought of my car. I wouldn’t want it to get into an accident, wouldn’t want it to get stolen, wouldn’t want the transmission to go out.
I just got a new White Sox hat. I’m wearing it to the game tomorrow night. I wouldn’t want it to get sat on, spilled on, or ever get worn by a Cubs fan.
As we’ve examined the Sermon on the Mount we’ve seen that the first part of Matthew 6 says, “Don’t make the mistakes of the religious.” Now, this second part essentially warns us, “Don’t make the mistakes of the irreligious.”
The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19 say…
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
What Jesus wants us to realize…
Big Idea: My stuff is not safe here.
On March 3, 1995, a 38-year-old man was walking to his temporary job at a warehouse up in Rosemont, IL. For some reason he must have thought that the quickest way to get there was to cut straight across all 8 lanes of the busy Tri-State Tollway. After he managed to cross the four northbound lanes a gust of wind blew off his hat. The hat flew back across the northbound lanes, and he chased it. Unfortunately, that’s when a semi-truck struck and killed him.
A person can lose everything by chasing after nothing.
TRANSITION: Don’t do it. Don’t chase after things. Don’t store them up. Because they’re not safe here.
Why then would we ever consider storing up treasures on earth? The answer is…
I. WE GET LURED INTO THINKING STUFF WILL SATISFY
Back in 2 Kings 5, we find the interesting story of a man named Gehazi. He was the trusted servant of the great prophet Elisha. Elisha had just helped a Namaan, a great army commander, be healed of leprosy. Namaan wanted to pay Elisha, but Elisha refused. So Gehazi runs off after Namann, tells him that Elisha has changed his mind. He wants the gifts after all. So Gehazi takes the goods and keeps them for himself. Here is a man who was quiet, faithful and loyal, but he entertained private thoughts of materialistic greed. Who would have ever guessed? But when the test came, the once trusted-servant was trapped.
And then there is Demas. Here is his sad obituary from the pen of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:10. Demas, because he loved this world has deserted me. A trusted friend, a traveling companion, one who no doubt would have talked and prayed with Paul, one who would have known the hardships and heartaches of ministry as well as victories that had been shared together – lured away. Very tragic.
ILLUS – I went fishing one night this past week with one of our Elders. We were using lures. After it was dark, I caught my only 2 fish – a pretty Striped Bass and a good sized Large Mouth Bass. For some reason the fish is attracted to the lure. He reaches for it, and with mouth wide open, thinks, “I got it! Not only that, but it feels like I hooked it into my lip. HaHa! Mine! This thing isn’t getting away!”
Who has who? Does the fish have the lure, or does the lure now have the fish? Within a few seconds, the fish discovers the painful truth. I don’t have this thing. This thing has me!
Fish have tiny brains, but I’m convinced we’re not so quick to learn.
When it comes to things – many of us want more and more. We may think, when I get that, then I’ll really be satisfied. We keep, so we think, reeling things in. But after awhile, a person who’s laying up treasures on earth isn’t doing the reeling. They’ve taken the bait. They’re hooked. Instead of owning things, their things own them. And they become another victim of the lure.