It is a question that causes the consumer to ask, do I have the right stuff to get all the satisfaction I am looking for in life. It prompts us to wonder if we are getting all that we think we deserve. Is there more out there? Are we missing something? How am investing, spending, and making the money I need to be successful? Of course all this with the goal of getting you to sign up for a capital one card or to use their banking services so that you will have the right stuff in your wallet.
Throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Jesus used parables to illustrate a certain point or teaching. It is a method that uses common objects of his day; things that the people would relate to and understand. From the beginning, money has always been something humanity is interested in and can relate to. After all, we like it, we use it, we want more of it, and it “makes the world go round.” It makes sense then that Jesus would use money to explain or as an example of our relationship with God and our understanding of the Kingdom of God. If you think about it, our bank statement tells the truth about what’s really important to us - what our most valued treasure really is. Jesus highlights this in what is called the sermon on the mount.
This illustration is part of a collection of instructions, all with the same point. All with the same purpose and that is that our priorities drive our life. What we come to value, hold most dear; what we treasure drives our life and relationships. Jesus is addressing the crowds because the religious leaders of the day and those who were listening to them were more interested in looking the part of follower than being the part of follower. They were caught up showing off their wealth, looking good in front of others, sounding like they had it all together and were good people because they followed the law. They were trusting themselves and not God to prove to others they were good, righteous people.
This passage is about priorities, and the central priority is God. No question about the importance of putting God first. The thing is, God is relational and loving and wants us to choose to love and serve God freely rather than to be forced into it. Because of that we lose sight of what matters most and allow our lives to be taken over by all the other objects, causes, relations, items, activities, and people around us.
It is always easier to see and judge the mistakes of those early followers and religious leaders because we stand on this side of the cross. Yet, I wonder if we are doing the same thing even today. I wonder if we have our priorities in line with God? Do we prioritize our lives with God leading the way and with God at the center? Or, are we being consumed by the very things, events, desires, and products that we consume. Do we put our money and what it can do for us ahead of God and our relationship with God?
This passage is all about learning to love and serve God for no other reason than God first loved us. Not for fame, or to flaunt what you have, or to make a name for yourself; not to look good or check another box off the “things to do to prove I am a good Christian” list. It is about putting God first in all things - every part of your life.
This text is Jesus’ challenge to recognize that earthly - worldly treasure is limited, but what we have with God is unlimited treasure and that is where our energy, passion, and priority needs to be. What you treasure will drive your life, whether you realize it or not.
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or - worse - stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
Pastor Jenothy Irvine