Summary: What we value in life reveals the depth of our loyalty to Christ. We lay up heavenly treasure when we value imperishable things such as holiness, faith, generosity, etc.
Treasure in Heaven
A Sermon on Matthew 6:19-24
The story is told of the husband who was on a business trip and decided to buy a gift to bring home to his wife to show her how much he appreciated her.
The lady at the cosmetics counter showed him a bottle of perfume for $75, but the man thought that was a bit expensive. So the clerk pulled out a smaller bottle of the same perfume, which cost only $50.
Again, the man explained that this was a bit expensive. The clerk, trying to conceal her frustration, showed him the smallest bottle available, priced at $20.
The man shook his head and said, “I think I’d like you to show me something really cheap.”
So she reached under the counter and showed him a mirror.
When you love someone, you should want to give them the best you can. The expense isn’t as important as whether you are giving to the best of your ability. The way we treat our money, our possessions, and other material things speaks loudly as to what we value. And what we are willing to give, and to whom, speaks to whom we value.
We continue our series today from the Sermon on the Mount, entitled Extreme Makeover: Christian Edition. Two weeks ago, we talked about turning our faith around, and last week Pastor Kevin talked about how we handle our anger. This week our topic is our treasure – it’s been called the sermon on the amount – but it is really about much more than money.
What do we hold onto tightly? And do we hold on too tightly? As Christians, many of us would claim that Christ is our treasure above all else. But when we look at the evidence, what do we see?
If you have your Bibles with you, why don’t you take them out and turn to the 6 chapter Matthew’s Gospel. We’ll be looking at verses 19 through 24.
Chapter 6 of Matthew’s gospel draws a series of comparisons between Jesus’ followers and the hypocrites. He considers the outpouring of their lives in terms of almsgiving, prayer, fasting, and here in verse 19 – what we hold as treasure.
In a way, all of his prior exhortations are summed up here, for our habits of giving and prayer and fasting reveal to some degree what we consider to be real treasure.
Identify Your Treasure
Let’s listen to Jesus words, beginning at verse 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. (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)
The things of earth will not last, and yet it is in them that we so often choose to put our hope.
How are your investments doing? Do you have treasure in the stock market? We don’t like to talk about the down side of the stock market, but some of us put our treasure there anyway. Sometimes it pays off in the future, and sometimes it doesn’t.
How else do we hold our treasure? Some of us have rooms in our house full of items that are susceptible to moths and rust, as well as the opportunistic thief. Clothes that are worn regularly don’t tend to have problems with moths – it’s the unused ones, the ones that we store in the off season, that require mothballs. Some of those items we store up may have a future planned use – but many of them are just stuff that takes up our time, space, money, and energy. Some of us need two homes – one for us and one for our stuff.
The question is, do you have all of your stuff, or does your stuff have you?
Field Mouse Book
My daughter has a book about a family of field mice who are moving to a new house. Father Fieldmouse thinks this would be a good time to get rid of some of the rubbish – but the children don’t think they have any rubbish. He suggests “What about the orange juice cans?” and one child calls out, “We’d like to keep them please.” Father says if they don’t get rid of them, they’ll need another moving van. And Mother Mouse’s recurring phrase is, “We’ll find a use for them some day.”
This scenario is repeated with all the rubbish in the house: milk cartons, magazines, toilet paper tubes, and so on. In the end, it takes seven moving vans to move all their stuff. And they spend a great deal of time and energy to transport their rubbish and they have to move it around several times in order to make room for it all in their new house.