“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:19a, 20a)
In our study of the Gospel of Matthew today, we begin a new section of the Sermon on the Mount. It is amazing how intensely practical this sermon is as we find the issues Jesus talked about two thousand years ago are still applicable to society today. Often we are told the Bible is an antique. It is terribly outdated and is not really useful in our high paced technologically savvy world of today. How far this is from the truth! People are still people; thousands of years of human history have not changed the nature of the human heart. For all of our advances in science, technology, and general knowledge, man has yet to be elevated from the selfishness of the Garden of Eden. Adam thought his way was better than God’s way; his way satisfied self much better than God’s directive.
Man’s selfishness bleeds over into every area of life. We are great promoters of self and this is especially true when we speak of material possessions. From the earliest of times, men have been trying to figure out how to get more and more stuff. Material possessions are the sign of success, or so we think. God has never looked at man’s earthly possessions as the measurement of his true worth. The person who is useful and of value to God is the one that invests in His Kingdom. This means that we take from our resources what is necessary for our needs and then use our abundance to increase God’s Kingdom. Selfishness begins to deteriorate when we bless others with the gift of life. As you give faithfully to your church, you cease to promote self and begin to promote others because the support of the gospel helps bring people into the Kingdom of God. When people are saved, they share in the wealth of God’s bountiful resources.
When Jesus said to lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth, He was speaking of the great eternal rewards that are given for faithful service. Part of the reward is the faithfulness of stewardship. When we give our account to God, He will check our stewardship. What did we do with our provisions? Did we selfishly use it all on us or did we selflessly invest it in His Kingdom? This is the practicality of this section of the Sermon on the Mount. In tough economic times it is easy to hold back, to horde our resources as if it is our responsibility to take care of tomorrow. God already has tomorrow in hand. Our duty is to take care of what God says to do today. Consider now how you will answer His question: “What have you invested in My Kingdom?”
Pastor V. Mark Smith