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!”