Read Matthew 6:19-34
I would like to talk to you about investing…
We learned in the first half of this 6th chapter that motives count. If you do the things that people might call religious for selfish reasons, then the gratitude or applause or sympathy that you get for doing them has been your payment and you have been paid in full.
But if we truly live for God and do the things that he tells us, he will reward us. This discussion continues using the concept of treasure.
Treasure is a noun meaning valuables, sometimes precious jewels or gold or other things of value.
Do you remember Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus and everything that surrounded that? He tells us that Mary treasured all these things in her heart.
Treasure can be a verb.
Treasure can modify another word. He would give anything to have his treasured baseball cards back once again.
Even in today’s digital age, we understand treasure. Treasure is the where and the how and the what of what holds value for us.
As a retired Marine Corps officer, I have the mandatory “I love me” room in my house. I call it my office, but every piece of available wall space is covered with my treasures, mostly pictures and plaques that units gave me over the course of 20 years.
After moving to Burns Flat and unpacking over the course of a couple months, I could not find a box of my treasures. I had more than enough to cover my wall space, and then some, but I was missing a box.
I couldn’t remember everything in that box, but there was one special plaque that had a K-Bar mounted on it. I looked and looked and never found the box.
One day it hit me. I had left the box in a small attic space in our house in Orlando. I had lived without it for 4 years because we had no place to put that stuff anywhere that we lived while I was on active duty.
As it turned out, my son ran away back to Orlando a few months later. I flew out to get him and went by the old house to see if my stuff was still in the attic. The guy living there said he threw it all away.
Having lost my son for a short while, the loss of my Marine Corps treasures seemed insignificant.
Jesus tells us that whatever we value is where our heart will be. If money is most important, then we will live for money. If family is most important, then we live for family.
If God is most important, then we live for God.
It is not that there is anything wrong with money or family or so many other things, but God must be first to keep our world right side up.
What is valuable to us must begin with the things of God.
Our eyes will lead us to what our heart desires.
If we desire good things and godly things and things that say love and compassion, then that is what our eyes will be on the lookout for.
If we desire selfish things, lustful things, or if we are greedy for things, then the heart puts out a BOLO to be on the lookout for these things.
Jesus would later teach that it is not the things that go into the mouth that defile but what comes out of the heart.
Again, Jesus is teaching about living inside-out.
Our eyes will search for what the heart desires.
And then we come to God and money. One has to be first. We value one more than the other.
By the nature of our name—Christian—we would think that we value God first. We follow Jesus the Christ first and money is second.
For the bravest among you, do an easy self-inspection. Look at your bank or credit card statements for the past 5 or 6 months. Do a little check book theology.
The tithe should be simple, but what about the other 90%?
That’s not really fair. I mean a person gotta live, right?
You gotta pay the electric and the gas and the phone and the satellite and the…
Sometimes it seems that our money tells us what to do with our lives instead of us telling our money what to do. We somehow have a whole bunch of gotta pays.
We seem trapped. There are things that you just gotta have to survive, right?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Jesus tells us that life is more than logistics.
Where will we get this?
How will we get that where it needs to go?
What about food and clothing and fantasy baseball?
Jesus said that the people who follow the model that the world established will take care of all of these things before they get around to seeking the things of God.
Jesus tells us that God knows what we need and when we seek him and his ways before our own, he will provide for our needs.
We will even have much of what the godless world desires.
Following Jesus seldom involves a vow of poverty. If you are called to live a life of poverty for God, you will know it, but few are called to this life.
Jesus sets us on a course of abundance. We follow out of love and God provides.
We follow. God provides.
And God throws in a bonus. We don’t have to worry like the godless world does. We don’t worry about what tomorrow might hold.
Are we to use all of the gifts and talents and skills and abilities that he has given us?
But we can do so without becoming anxious. We don’t have to put the whole puzzle together.
We just take what God has given us, put him first in everything that we do, and trust that he will care for us.
When I was a counselor at a private prison, I used to give inmates who were becoming anxious a post-it note to wear around their living area. I wrote a few letters on it.
What were they anxious about? Something important, something not important, anything, or nothing in particular—the “what” was the less important part of this equation.
What were the letters?
I told them when they could tell me what the letters stood for, then they could come see me and I would let them take it off.
Eventually, they would come to see me and say, “Oh Ye of little faith.”
We could then have a good discussion about the things that they could have an impact upon and the things that were too far off to worry about.
Today has enough troubles of its own. We don’t need to heap tomorrow’s on top of it.
God first—before money and treasure and toys and other sundries—and we will be cared for.
Seek God and God’s ways first and we will enjoy so many of the things that the godless world uses their lives up to get.
We invest our lives in God his ways.
People who belong to the world spend their lives to get the things of the world.
Our investments pay heavenly dividends.
Those without God are just stuck with the stuff being all the treasure and joy they will ever know.
Now, would you like to talk about investing…?