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What Do You Treasure?

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What Do You Treasure?

Intro - After banter…Pope Francis, this past week, tweeted, “Peoples lives should be invested in Jesus, and spent for others.” And honestly I can think of no better sentiment outside of scripture to really bring home the meaning of this day for every believer.
[memorialdaypic]
Memorial Day - keep it brief but say what is needed…make you you mention that they were able to sacrifice because of what they treasured…move it all towards this idea:
“The balance between treasure and bread wants and needs excess and necessity is at the center of this prayer. It is at the center of our prayer lives our faith lives and our personal lives. Because of that it's very important that we understand what the function of what we treasure is in our hearts.
So as you get out your bibles and turn to , want to you, at the same time, think about all those things that you treasure. All those things you give time to. All those things that are extra in your life.
And we do honor them. More than that, we pray for their families, and especially for those left behind. We pray for God’s peace, love, and mercy to be with them all.
But church, there is such a great example in their lives for us. And we have to dig it out, because I can tell you from my years in service, and my family’s service, that finding and emulating that example is the best honor we can give them.
And I think we know that. We know that because we say it. It is in the movies we watch about war, and in our collected identity as Americans.
“Don’t let their death be in vain,” we say. Don’t let their sacrifice be for nothing. I think we can all agree that those thoughts and feelings go through all of our minds when we think of those who gave themselves for us. And those feelings, those thoughts, they change us, right? They cause us to honor our service people, no matter their background. We defend them in weakness and in spirit. We follow behind them in causes and support them.
And we do that, I think, because we know that in that sacrifice for us is the closest representation to the sacrifice of Christ that we will likely know.
And today, church, I want us to look at this next point in the model prayer, through the eyes of both Jesus, and those we memorialize this day, in an effort to re-frame what we think we need, and especially, what we really treasure.
What about the one who gave His life for our eternity? What about the very one who exampled for each of us what the ultimate love and sacrifice is really all about? The one who modeled the sacrifice of all our brave men and women who willingly jumped into the fray to show the world that they treasure freedom, they treasure country, they treasured mercy itself more than life.
Just like Jesus.
And today, church, I want us to look at this next point in the model prayer, through the eyes of both Jesus, and those we memorialize this day, in an effort to re-frame what we think we need, and especially, what we really treasure.
So we join back into that prayer, today, by looking at the next verse, “give us this day our daily bread.”
Tie in Memorial Day early on. Maybe their prayers? recognize their love and sacrifice. Move from there to biblical figures??
And to try to better illuminate the importance of this moment in the prayer, I want to put it in the same light that Jesus put it in, mere moments after giving this prayer to us, there in Matthew 6:19-21
Introduce that then paraphrase..Give us what we really need in this moment…what we need for His glory, for His will…for the cause of Christ to continually press forward…let us not depend on all that we think we have or need, but only on what God has given us…ex 16 story background....collect only how much you need…compare and contrast…move toward idea that God gives us things…freedom, money, cars, jobs, friends, stuff…that are useful for life and for His purposes but sometimes we treasure them over the “bread” that he offers us, that is in fact necessary for survival and especially for the survival of His kingdom.
And to do that, we must become like these brave men and women, and value other’s above ourselves, and attend to the needs of those around us while trusting God for what we need.
move to scripture…
move to scripture…
I want you to think about it, church, because we can never grow if we fool ourselves. We must expose what we are to God, and to ourselves, if we every hope to become what God made us to be.
[use for CTW, for context for the prayer and message, and for scripture]
[other scripture…john 4:32-35…spiritual food…doing the will of God...
Matthew 6:19–21 ESV
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-----
Pray.
What do you treasure?
Ask to think about examples…move toward “AM I INVESTING MY LIFE IN JESUS AND SPENDING IT ON PEOPLE?” or DO I TAKE WHAT I WANT FROM LIFE, AND GIVE BACK TO GOD AND PEOPLE WHEN I HAVE TIME?
We rarely treasure what we need. Usually we treasure what we want. It is implied in the word itself!
But I think that is what Jesus is getting at here in this moment. I think when you look at this prayer, and this explanation given just seconds later, it is clear that Jesus is trying to turn what we think about need vs. wants, bread vs. treasure, on it’s head!
You see, this prayer is asking us, not to pray for our wildest dreams, but to become accustomed to praying for what we need in that moment. What will give us the ability to move towards God’s goals for us, not this other shiny thing that will only serve to distract us from Christ!
You see, all that stuff we have, all that treasure as we should know it, it only distracts us from God and others. From family. That phone takes time. Being awful at Fortnight, which I am genuinely bad at, it takes away time! Columbo, whatever you favorite shows are, they take time! Our jobs, our ambition, while important, they still take time! Time that is intended to be given to God and neighbor, and especially to our families.
We have to be obedient to God, and want our daily bread more than our daily steak dinner.
[pic of exodus manna]
Explain
Treasure extra vs treasuring obedience and God’s provision and plan.
[memorial pic]
Tie back to Memorial day, “What do you treasure?” (ask them again about their thing)…now ask yourself this, what did those that served, and died, treasure?
examples
We need to think about both of those, and church, we need to balance them, because they are a very real representation of Jesus’ sacrifice for us! And we need to think about it, because honestly, our treasure, what we value over everything else, it has a real impact on our lives! Just as it had a real impact on their.
I want to talk about three ways that i think it has the most impact.
Our treasure determines our direction
Verse 21, Where your treasure is...
Soldiers we remember today treasured freedom more than self, mission more than self, mercy more than life!
And BECAUSE of that, their treasure not only determined their direction, but ours as well.
That obedience, seeking only what God gives them in that moment - their daily bread - it should point us squarely back at Jesus
You see, Jesus’ treasure determined His direction too!
Treasured God’s will (garden)
But the thing that He really treasured. The thing that no doubt gave Him direction. The thing that helped him to take the lashes, take the beating, and the thing that fueled Him as He carried that cross up that hill; that thing - that treasure - it is staring you in the face every time you look in a mirror.
It was you. You are the treasure that gave Him direction, and strength, and purpose.
He loved you so much, that He wanted to not only save you, but to show you how to love others too.
HE WANTED TO SHOW YOU THAT WHEN WE KNOW THAT GOD HAS OUR NEEDS COVERED - OUR DAILY BREAD IF YOU WILL - THAT THEN WE CAN CHOOSE TO FOLLOW HIM! TO TREASURE LOVE! TO TREASURE GRACE! TO TREASURE PEOPLE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE APART FROM GOD! AND WHEN WE DO THAT, IT CHANGES OUR DIRECTION TOO.
Our treasure determines our future.
Verse 20 - treasure in heaven
Not that we can earn salvation..
…if we would just treasure what God gives us we could be assured that we are right where He needs us to be, even in the storms of life!
Our treasure becomes like little breadcrumbs leading the way to God’s purpose and path. Like Hansel and Gretel sort of. And if we follow that, treasure His daily bread, we will find our way to His will, to love, to eternity! To our future that is assured through Jesus.
Stuff can’t get us there…only God can…[rich young ruler]
Our treasure determines our legacy
people are watching
when we invest in ourselves and not Jesus, and spend on ourselves, not on others, people see it.
examples
Three Marbles story
…ending......“Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size, they came to pay their debt.”
“We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
[picofcommunion]
People matter more than stuff
OUR DAILY BREAD, OUR DIRECTION, OUR FUTURE, OUR LEGACY - ALL OF IT - IT IS SYMBOLIZED IN THIS TABLE.
WHEN JESUS WAS PRAYING THIS PRAYER, WE WAS LOOKING BACK (EX) AND FORWARD!
THIS TABLE IS OUR MOMENT! THIS IS OUR DAY! WHEN ALL THOSE DOUBTS IN OUR LIVES, ALL THOSE DEMONS WE STRUGGLE WITH EVERYDAY, THIS IS THE MOMENT THEY ARE WASHED AWAY BY OUR DAILY BREAD. OUR SAVIOR. OUR REDEEMER. THE ONE WHO TREASURES US ETERNALLY.
THIS IS OUR TRUE TREASURE CHURCH.
Open table, even for those who want to believe
And to do that, we must become like these brave men and women, and value other’s above ourselves, and attend to the needs of those around us while trusting God for what we need.
move to scripture…
[use for CTW, for context for the prayer and message, and for scripture]
[other scripture…john 4:32-35…spiritual food…doing the will of God...
[THREE MARBLES!!!]
I was at the corner grocery store buying some potatoes. I noticed a small boy, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.
Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller, the store owner, and the ragged boy next to me.
“Hello Barry, how are you today?” “H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Them peas sure look good!” “They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”
“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.” “Good. Anything I can help you with?”
“No, Sir… jus’ admirin’ them peas.” “Would you like to take some home?” asked Mr. Miller.
“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.” “Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?” “All I got’s my prize marble here.”
“Is that right? Let me see it” said Miller.
“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”
“I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?” the store owner asked. “Not zackley but almost.” “Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.” Mr. Miller told the boy. “‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.”
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, “There are two other boys like him in our community. All three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.”
“When they come back with their red marbles – and they always do – he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.”
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Years went by, each more rapid than the previous one, until I recently had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community. While I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died and they were having his visitation that evening. Knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we got in line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two had nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts… all were very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket.
Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
“We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
No, Jesus didn’t reluctantly give His life for you! He offered it wholly and freely, that most precious and costly of sacrifices place upon the altar of freedom! He alone was crushed for our transgressions! Bruised for our iniquity! And that punishment, that death, that pain, that sacrifice - the very thing that brings us all the peace we can know in Christ today - it was all placed on His shoulders, that by His death and life so willingly given, we might be healed!
We might know peace.
And knowing that peace, we might invest our lives in imitating Him, and bringing that peace to others. Spending all of that investment on people. The very same people He loves so much. The very same people He died for.
People matter more than stuff...
I say this to my girls all the time, but it bears repeating today. We must treasure people more than stuff. More than principles. More that dogma or traditions. More than political agendas and positions. We must value them more than all of that, in fact, more than anything outside of God!
Listen, God didn’t die for that car. He didn’t die for that boat, or that job, or that political party, or that position - He died for the whole world! He died to show us how to live! He died so that we would know what love is! He died so that we would honor that example, and then having been so blessed, to actually try to live it out in this world!
Church, HE DIED SO THAT WE MIGHT TREASURE HIM, AND IN SO DOING, TREASURE LOVE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE WE COULD EVER HAVE! THAT WE MIGHT HONOR THAT LOVE, THAT DAILY BREAD, SO MUCH THAT WE NOT LOOK FOR MORE! THAT WE MIGHT NOT COME BACK ON THE SABBATH, LIKE THE JEWISH PEOPLE! THAT WE MIGHT ACTUALLY LISTEN TO HIS WORDS AND REALIZE THAT IN THEM ARE ALL THAT WE NEED! IN THEM ARE LIFE! IN THEM ARE HOPE! IN THEM ARE LOVE! IN THEM ARE THE VERY THINGS THAT WE NEED! AND Y’ALL, WE NEED TO DWELL THERE, HONORING HIM, HUMBLING OURSELVES, FOLLOWING HIS WILL, AND THEN TREASURING ALL THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN IN HIM! TO DO SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST SHARE THIS TABLE IN REMEMBRANCE OF HIM! TO SHARE OUR LIVES IN REMEMBRANCE! TO SHARE OUR LOVE! TO SHARE OUR MOMENTS! TO GIVE EVERYTHING WE’VE GOT TO HONOR HIS SACRIFICE AND HIS LOVE AND MERCY FOR US!
[pic of communion]
Of all the gifts you have. There is one more valuable than the rest. It is the very one that all of our stuff takes away from us.
Don’t
Just, for a moment, be honest with yourselves. How much time and attention do you give your stuff? Maybe your TV. Phone. Cars. Lawn. Business. Career. Think about the stuff that gets in the way of life, and ask yourself, how much time to I give it.
I want you to do that, because y’all, everything has a price. And God calls us to be careful what we treasure because whatever your treasure takes something from you.
It takes time.
Time that could be invested in people. The very people God needs to save. Time that could be spent loving those people we know, or our families, our friends. Time given to those in need. Time shared with children who have no one to share it with. Time offered to bring hope to those who can’t see hope when no one is there to show it to them.
Give us this day, our daily bread. Give us just what we need, and we will take the rest and invest it in others. That is the real call of this line in the prayer. We will take that other stuff that we treasure, sometimes too much, and invest it in this world! Maybe that means you sell what you don’t need and give it to the poor, like the rich young ruler. Maybe that means that you put down that phone for a minute to play with you kids, or spend time with your family. Maybe you skip eating out one night and make a meal for someone who is hurting or lonely. Maybe you give a couple minutes after school to that kid that no one pays attention to.
Whatever it is, God will guide you to invest in people. To honor His example. To give your life for others to know life. That is what following Christ is all about, church.
And this table represents that very thing.
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