Summary: Focusing on eternity rather than earthly priorities.
Treasures in Heaven
June 12, 2005
It’s been said that Jesus speaks more about money than he spoke about heaven and hell.
I haven’t done an exhaustive count, and so I can’t say for sure. But one thing is unmistakably clear: Jesus addresses money and he makes no bones about what he thinks about it in the lives of his followers.
And today, as we continue our walk through Matthew, and in chapter 6 in particular, we’re going to look at some of what he had to say.
I’m not opposed to treasure, and neither is Jesus, so don’t worry about wondering if I’m going to spend our time going over the eeeeeeviiiiiiiilllllls of money, or "filthy lucre" as some call it. Treasure is fine, if it’s earned honorably (or inherited). The Bible doesn’t say money is bad.
I gotta admit that I agree with Woody Allen, who said, "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." (SermonCentral.com. Contributed by: Denn Guptill)
One Bible translation says that "money is the root of all evil." A more accurate translation says -
...the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
I’m going to address that in a little more detail later in the message, but just understand that God is not against money, nor is he against his people having it.
And I’m also not going to discuss tithing or giving, per se, so don’t panic, okay? Believe me, I don’t like preaching about that kind of stuff even more than you don’t like hearing about it.
But the fact of the matter is that the Bible addresses money, and Jesus does so in our passage for today.
There seem to be two extremes in the Christian church when it comes to money:
One extreme is poverty theology. This says that because Jesus had no place to lay his head, then he was actually a homeless person. So his followers should renounce all possessions and live lives of poverty.
And while it’s true there is no record of Jesus owning property, I think it’s a stretch to say that Jesus was poverty-stricken without a roof over his head.
The gospels tell us that there were a number of people who helped meet the needs of Jesus and his disciples with their wealth.
The other extreme we find in the Christian church is prosperity theology. Most of us are probably more familiar with this line of thinking. It’s also been called, the "health, wealth, and prosperity" gospel, or "name it and claim it."
This view says that God wants all of his people to be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. And all we need to do is claim that wealth for our own and watch God drop in your lap.
They quote verses about "all who believe receive," and such, while quietly (or actually, not so quietly) ignoring the context of the verses and of the whole counsel of Scripture.
These are the kinds you see on the TV asking for your money. I think that’s because there are no ratings for preachers telling you to become poor...
I’ve been wondering about some of these guys lately. Maybe you’ve had the same question.
They’re multi-jillionaires, apparently, so why do they still need your money to make their ministries continue?
If your donating to their ministry is supposed to bring riches to you, then why don’t they contribute to their own ministries, so God can give them more riches?
That makes at least as much sense as brow-beating someone on a fixed income into financing their lavish lifestyle.
Can you tell I’m not a big proponent of the prosperity theology way of thinking?
Well, I don’t think the Bible supports either of these extremes. Rather, the Bible is clear that we need to handle our money in ways that please God and advance his kingdom, whether we have a lot of it or a little of it.
In fact, the Bible is very practical about how to handle money. Last fall we held a class about how to handle your money in a way that pleases God and helps you build wealth in a way that doesn’t take the focus off God and his priorities. And if we have sufficient interest in it, we’ll do it again sometime.
Our passage today gives us an idea of what Jesus thinks about money and possessions, and how we can get a handle on the priorities of God.
I find three principles that I think will help all of us, no matter what our financial situation.
Invest in eternity.
Verses 19-21 -
"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."