Summary: This sermon looks at what our focus is when compiling our ’treasure’ - a heavenly investment, or a worldly investment.
Our Bible lesson reminds me of a folk song we use to sing in Girl Scouts when I was a teenager. Maybe you’ve heard it before - I was always surprised to discover that a lot of the folk songs we sang were popular tunes from my parent’s days.
This folk song was called “One Tin Soldier.” It talked about a two kingdoms. One lived up on top of a mountain, another lived in the valley below. The valley people had a treasure buried beneath a stone. The mountain people wanted it.
They sent a message to their valley kinsman demanding the treasure. The song tells us the reply from the valley people was, “With our brothers, we will share.”
But this wasn’t the response the mountain people wanted to hear.
Instead, they invaded the valley land and killed every living person. Through their aggression, they triumphed, and ‘won’ the buried treasure.
The song leaves us with the image of the mountain army digging up the stone and turning it over. There they found engraved words on the underside of the stone as their ‘treasure.’
“Peace On Earth,” was all it said.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;
but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Our Bible lesson this evening is a lesson Jesus gave, teaching his disciples how to be disciples. Our discipleship has been our focus for the past three weeks and will continue to be our focus for three more weeks following tonight.
Perhaps you are thinking that our focus should always and is always on discipleship, and if that is what you are thinking, you would be correct.
Yet our focus is different in some ways, because in some respects we are drawing a line in the sand, we are putting a block on our shoulder, we are asking the question, “Just how serious are you about this Christianity business?”
The words we read this evening come from a time when Jesus is speaking, but he wasn’t speaking to the crowd. He wasn’t speaking to those who said they believed in him; he wasn’t speaking to those who sought help and answers for their lives.
This wasn’t an ordinary group of people Jesus was talking to - he was talking to his disciples - his faithful followers - his closest companions.
We are surrounded by those who say they believe in Jesus. They believe Jesus to be the Son of God, they believe that salvation comes through him, but they also believe that there is little more that is really necessary on their part to do, other than believe. I would say that their faith is an empty faith. And that the assurance of their salvation is weak and easy to break. It is so easy for the troubles of life to overwhelm them and break them.
The Sermon on the Mount is not addressed to these individuals. The Sermon on the Mount is spoken to people who are bold enough and brave enough to stand up, and in a firm voice, proclaim, “I believe in Jesus! I am a Christian!”
Jesus speaks to those who have the courage to say, “Yes Lord, I want to follow you. I want to have a relationship with you. I want to be closer to you. Change my life and make me more Christ-like, more like you.”
And I ask you now which one are you? Think carefully before you choose, because there is no middle ground. You might say to me that you are somewhere in between, and I would say to you that is impossible. The line has been drawn in the sand. You are either on one side or the other. You are either on the journey of Christian discipleship, or you are not. There is no in between. So think before you choose, because the road of discipleship though infinitely and astronomically rewarding, is exceedingly more difficult, and will challenge your identity to the very core.
No other words Jesus speaks brings this home more so, than our Bible lesson this evening, for Jesus speaks, I believe, about the one thing that is the most difficult for us to deal with in our discipleship - that’s our money.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth...”
Treasures on earth - what are their value?
What is their worth, their long term yield? Jesus tells us treasure on earth is destructible. Moths and rust consume it. How many times have I heard, “That was just money waisted.” or “That was just money thrown away.” or “You might as well have just thrown that money in the fire and burned it because it’s gone.”