1. Today we’re in Matthew 6:19-24 where Jesus talks about our priorities. Specifically in regards to money. It’s always funny to me when people say churches shouldn’t talk about money. Have you heard that rule? I realize some churches abuse this teaching to take advantage of people. But to create this rule that b/c some people do the wrong thing that we can talk about something that’s both Biblical and relevant would be really stupid. And we’re trying not to do stupid here. Not always successful, but we’re trying. So, yes, we’ll be dealing with money issues today b/c that’s what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 6:19-24.
2. In the first part of this teaching, Jesus does some comparative valuation between two investments – storing up treasure down here and storing up treasure in heaven. Two contrasting investment strategies and Jesus breaks down the differences between the two. You can either invest in eternity and never have to worry about your investments or you can get your heart wrapped up down here, storing up stuff for yourself and it’s going to rust, and be eaten and destroyed and you’re going to be left with nothing. Jesus says make the better choice.
3. And he’s not just being figurative here. In the first century, that’s literally what would happen to people’s stuff. You didn’t have a lot of options for hiding or protecting your belongings, so what would you do? You’d put your jewels under your bed. W/out an alarm system or locking doors, it was pretty easy for a thief to break in and steal that. You could bury your precious metals, but they would rust. You have nice clothes or fine linens in the closet, the moths or rats would eat away at them.
4. Not just first century either. I remember at our old house we had a storage shed in our backyard. A permanent one, matched the house. Nice little shed. Well, I decided to use it and over time I moved more and more stuff out there. (You know “stuff” – we all have stuff. Usually so much we build houses for our stuff.) Mostly the stuff I didn’t need, but wanted to hold onto. Boxes of old High School / college memories, old papers, notes, books, pictures, trophies, my first teddy bear, that kind of stuff. Good stuff.
5. Well, about 5 years ago when we were moving I went to clean out the old shed and guess what had happened to all my precious memories? They were literally eaten by rodents and roaches. The most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen. They had eaten right through the cardboard boxes and had a party in my personal belonging box until they died. And the only thing they really left was lots and lots of poo. A couple carcasses, but mostly poo. They turned by teddy bear into poo. His name was teddy. He was a good bear. He never hurt anybody.
6. And it’s not just junk stuff. But what about our real treasure – our money? How’s the stock market doing? How’s your 401K? How’s your IRA? How’s that mutual fund doing? OUCH, right? I think Jesus’ point is being made all over our world right now. No investment down here is really safe. They’re only as safe as the conditions protecting them. And considering we live in a world that God’s already promised will be destroyed by fire, probably not a good long-term prospect.
7. Now I don’t think Jesus is saying you can’t own a home or have a savings account or life insurance or any of that stuff. The Bible teaches good stewardship, prudent investing and leaving an inheritance. The point is – don’t get caught up in stuff that’s not going to last. Paul tells Timothy, a younger preacher, probably around my age to teach this; 1 Timothy 6:17-20. 17Command those who are rich in this present world (That’s US!) not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
8. Again, we’re either living for fulfillment in this life or the next. We’re either storing up treasure here or there. And a big part of the reason that it’s so important that we get this right is b/c here’s the truism that affects all of us (whether we realize it or not): where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. According to Jesus, if you want to know where your heart really is, look at your checkbook, your investments. B/c you naturally care about what you invest in.