A popular bumper sticker in the 1980’s said, “He who dies with the most toys wins!”What a stark contrast to the teaching of Jesus in our passage for today:“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In times of plenty this scripture passage is a warning to those who collect as many “things” as possible and then hoard their treasures; but in times of deep recession it is a verse of comfort for people who have lost so much of what they had worked all their lives to accumulate.How difficult is it to lose your home and the many possessions of value which you have worked for all those years?People are experiencing terrible economic times and there are some economists who are telling us that it will get worse before it begins to improve.If you are among those who are carrying a tough financial burden, this passage gives you the hope that although worldly treasures come and go, the things of real value will always be there for us.Even if you lose it all that is not the end!I have been there, too, during the 1980’s and the interest rates soared while the housing market plummeted.I know what it means to lose it all.But God is not going to allow you to lose your soul.
I know very little about Timbuktu and seldom give much thought to it.However, if my wife were in that place and had been there for a couple of days, or a week, then I would have a deep interest in Timbuktu.My treasure would be there.That is where my heart would be if she were there.If your treasure is only on earth that is all you will ever think about; but if your treasure is in heaven, that is where your heart will be also.To major on acquiring material possessions and ignore one’s relationship to God in eternity is to be a fool.Jesus wasn’t condemning riches in this verse, and being wealthy is not a sin.Many Christians know how to handle their riches without making it the treasure of their hearts.
Look at it one more time…“for yourselves.”That’s the problem isn’t it?Collecting as many “toys” in this lifetime as you can falls right in with the secular philosophy of successful living.But what about successful dying?When it’s all over on this earth and we have hoarded up for ourselves all the stuff we wanted, all the things which made us happy and successful, what good is it if we have not given much thought to our eternal destiny?Examine your heart, beloved, and do not ignore the process of living for Jesus rather than living for yourselves.There is a difference, you know.Are you really a Christian if your heart is exclusively tied to this world and all its treasures?
I read a story about a little boy swimming in a river, flailing around and flashing his arms splattering the water and on the shore immediately in front of the little boy is a sign, “No Swimming.”And the man walks along and he looks into the river and he says, “Boy, you cannot read the sign? ‘No swimming.’ ” He said, “Please sir, I'm not swimming I'm drowning.”Sometimes swimming and drowning look a lot alike, don't they?And I think there are some people we think are swimming but they're drowning. You need to examine your heart, what's your attitude toward luxury, wealth, money?God help us to put these things to practice.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, let us not be like the hypocritical Pharisees.Help us to be spiritual lifeguards for those who are masquerading as swimmers but are drowning in a sea of toys and things.Amen and amen.
If the eyes are the windows of the soul, what will we see if I look into your eyes and you into mine?There will be light or darkness, hope or despair, life or death.If the eye is always dark and distressed, it brings gloom into your soul.What we focus on all day long, and what keeps us awake at night determines who we are.
It grows more difficult by the day to find a person in our society whose conscience is not deadened by the trash he has invited into his heart.How we “see” affects the inner light of our conscience. What we dwell upon the most is what will capture our lives; however, right choices will stop the world from corrupting our sight and destroying our soul.It’s not impossible to alter the course of history by regaining our good vision.
Two enemies of good vision are jealousy and prejudice.Prejudice destroys good judgment and blinds us to the facts; jealousy makes us distrustful and suspicious of others and distorts our ability to accurately scrutinize the facts. We need to fearlessly examine ourselves to see if we are living according to God’s principles or if we might be misguided by distorted vision.
Beloved, when the world corrupts your eyes you have lost your focus upon Jesus.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, don’t let me have wandering eyes, cloudy eyes or blind eyes when it comes to Your Truth; God help me to remain Cross-eyed for the rest of my life, in Jesus Name!Amen and amen.
This is a pretty easy verse to understand until you get to the last word.It’s impossible for a slave to serve two masters.In the first place, there just isn’t enough time in the day for that to happen.A slave has no time of his own.Every minute in 24 hours is devoted to the pleasure of his master; slaves know nothing about doing something for themselves.Secondly, total allegiance requires energy and focus until the devotion itself runs on auto-pilot.To worship something or someone with abandon means to forsake every other loyalty in order to put one first.
In every Christian there is a throne which seats the master of your life.For each of the hundreds of decisions you make every day you must first consult that throne because you cannot be a slave to more than one master at a time.Who sits on the throne in your life?Is it God?Is it self or family?Is it the desire for wealth?Is it the necessities in your life?Or maybe it is church activities, or your job.Whatever it is, that is your master.
“Mammon” has an interesting history.Its most often translated as money, riches or wealth, but it is really from a Hebrew word meaning material possessions.The root word means “to entrust” as you might trust a banker for safe-keeping.But it later came to mean that in which a man puts his trust.These are not just luxuries but they are “things” which are necessities of life.They are the things which meet our needs, not only our wants, and we are not even to worship the necessities of life more than we worship God.Let me illustrate.
At the end of World War II, the allied armies were faced with the care of the hungry orphans who were left as a result of the war. They were placed in camps and they were well fed. Despite excellent care, they found that these children couldn't sleep. They seemed nervous and afraid and they would stay awake all night with insomnia staring at the ceiling.Finally somebody came in to try to figure out what was going on. They came up with a solution. Every night before the children were put in bed, they were given a little piece of bread to hold in their hand and they went to sleep clutching this little piece of bread.They had lived so long in hunger that they couldn't sleep for fear that they wouldn't be able to eat the next day. But once the caretakers put a little piece of bread in their hand and they knew the next day was secure, they could sleep. It's as if when God gives us the promise, "Fear not, it's your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom," so He puts a little piece of bread in our hands and says go to sleep.
Beloved, we cannot worship our needs and worship God at the same time.The moment we place needs or necessities on the throne of life we tell God to step down because we have found something bigger than He to worship.When God is your Master it is enough.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, never allow me to displace you from the throne in my life; and if I ever worship my needs more than You, place a piece of bread in my hand as a reminder that one God is enough.It is good that You have never trusted me with riches because I would have really messed things up if You had.As it is, I am the richest slave in the Kingdom!It can’t get any better than that. Hallelujah!Amen and amen.