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INI And where is YOUR treasure?

Sep 14, 2011

Luke 12:32-34 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Good morning, dear friends. Look what I have brought with me here today. It's my wallet. I have some money in it. This wallet is pretty well-worn, isn't it? It's kind of tired. Well, I've had it for several years now. The bills in it were not yet there a few days ago, and chances are they will be gone again a few days from now. I may spend them. I may lose them. I may get ripped off or robbed, who knows. In short, money doesn't last long. It's a treasure that perishes. Neither the wallet will stay in one piece forever. In the course of time it will grow shabby and wear out, untill it's ready for trash. After it's served its time, then, just like other things, it's going to fall apart completely. And though we know all of this, notice how we still so easily cling with our hearts to our money and our wallets. Recall, for example, how we naturally react when someone only touches our billfold! Immediately we try to protect it with all our body. We cover it and hide it in a safe place. As if we were willing to give up our own life for it! (In line with the joke: Money, or life! [=Stand and deliver!] - Take my life, cause I'm saving for a car.) Or, notice how we are quick to react when a stranger, perhaps a poor man, asks us, all of a sudden, for a few coins. In no time we find a thousand of reasons not to: Oh, how many things I have yet wanted to buy! How much work it has taken me to earn the money! I am not going to just give them away, am I? For nothing! Plus that man would use them in a wrong way, anyway! Why doesn't he go ahead and make some by working?! And so we protect our money. We collect them and pile them up. And in the meantime we like to daydream about what we shall get for them, what we shall spend them on. Yet, during all that time, we fail to notice that next to us stands someone in need of our financial help; that not far from us grieves someone whom we could bring joy to by giving them a small present; that near us live people who are easily overlooked by this world, yet important in the eyes of our God. I know what you may be thinking now: Why doesn't God help them? The answer is simple: He does want to help them through you! He longs to show them love by means of your thoughtful care! He desires to encourage them by the help of your words of concern and compassion you will show them! God is indeed able to feed miraculously all the poor of the world. He indeed can turn them rich overnight. He truly can console them by His proximate presence and direct kindness. But, where would that lead to? If He did that, what would he teach us? To be even more indifferent? To show even less care? To grow even more selfish? To become even more shut away from the needy? This is exactly the attitude He yearns to overcome and change in us. He wishes to displace from our hearts that love for fleeting treasures and for wallets which wear out. He wishes to replace that with love for our neighbor, with mercy towards the afflicted, with care for the disdained. But how does God want to achieve that? How can He change us inside? Our today's verse contains a hint. It is a wonderful promise we hear Jesus give us: Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Yes, this is how God is able to overcome our natural tendency to focus and love vain treasures: He gives us much more. He gives it freely. We don't deserve it (just like the beggar doesn't deserve the mercy we show him). God gives us what is incorruptible. He gives us His kingdom. He gives us Himself in His own Son, Jesus Christ, who once came to die on the cross for our sins and who now comes to live in our hearts and reign there with His powerful love. The same love that led Him years ago to willingly suffer and die in our stead and by our punishment. Only when we believe in Jesus, when we believe that thanks to Him our sins are forgiven and God accepts us just as we are, when we believe He gives us His kingdom and shares with us His own holy nature, only then we can rightly understand Jesus' appeal we heard Him make today: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. You know, when we let God feed the hungry through us, help the needy and lift up the downcast, then we provide for ourselves lasting treasures, imperishable riches in heaven, wallets that will never wear out. That treasure is the ever-growing love in Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, who reigns and works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. So today you maybe have your treasure in your pocket. Maybe you have it in your back-pack. Maybe in a safe. In the same place then there is, figuratively speaking, your heart also. For that's where you have anchored and attached your heart. But it is all passing. And you don't want your heart to pass as well one day, do you? So think about WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. May today's words from your loving Father give you the strength and courage to be richer by bearing the fruit of living faith in Jesus, your faithful Friend. Amen.