Love Gives Treasure
I meant what we're at continuing our series for Advent this year called love gives we've been thinking about the reality of Jesus coming to Earth Jesus being born as an expression an act of the profound and beautiful love that God has for us as we see you in probably the most well-known verse of scripture John 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gave he gave his only son that whoever might believe in him would experience life and it's full of it's only been thinking about what does it mean that love give God is love and God expressed himself and demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus to us while we were still Sinners love at its core love in its nature gives We examined or last couple weeks that love gives time. Love does not is not concerned with with self nearly as much as it is with the other and so love gives time. We we spend time with Jesus not because we're supposed to but because we get to love love moves us and urges us. It's not a debt. It's not a burden. It's a gift and a blessing love gives time love gifts. Thanks love is grateful and and recognizes the goodness of of of life and of God who has given us life and even in the broken world that we live in. Love gives. Thanks. That we have come to know God in his love last week. We saw that love gives count love gives itself love is authentic and genuine love love love doesn't wear masks. Love love just love is what it is tonight. We're going to continue this in and I want to talk about love love gives its treasure. That's right. We're going to talk about money tonight as laughing about this as I was thinking about it, you know, whenever whenever people start talking about money in the church, a lot of people get really nervous and awkward about it. It's really interesting facts survey after survey when when people are asking outside the church. What don't you like about the church at number one or number two is this idea that all the church cares about is money and and that it's greedy and and all that sort of stuff in and I suppose there are examples if we want to look for them of churches that are greedy of a people that have used Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom to the benefit them. Thousand to make themselves wealthy and rich in it, and we went out to look for hard to find examples of that. But I think there's more to it than that as I was thinking about it this week, you know, we live in a consumeristic culture everything it in our world and our culture where is driven by consumerism and end every day every day. We are bombarded by hundreds. If not thousands of voices that are telling us how to spend our money. What we should do with our money in the bank. So tell us government's of town as politicians telling us the stores are telling us Amazon is telling what parts tell everybody's telling you need to spend your money here and when they do that none of us go up there so greedy. Don't do that. Can't believe they would do that even like in a rama politics when I think they're so blatantly greedy. We don't do that.
Church when somebody in the church wants to talk about money. We got home and we should do that. The more I thought about what's what I think is really going on is that when we start to talk about money in the church? What we're doing is we're bringing the gospel directly up against one of the dominant and primary Idols in our world and in our hearts and we don't like it. We don't want it. We want a Jesus that's comfortable. And it Jesus said convenient and a Jesus that builds us up the way that we want to be built up. But when I went when we're confronted with a Jesus that is Lord of all and that includes our resources. And our finances where we get a little bit uncomfortable. Cuz we want him to save us from our sins, but leave our checkbooks alone. There's something so profound I think went went when we step back and just objectively look at it that it should make us want to think more clearly more deeply more critically about our relationship to our money and our possessions and how it affects and shape our hearts and our values in a way that we live day in and day out especially for those of us that are following Jesus because I think it doesn't it doesn't it. It seems so obvious to me. But if we're if we're followers of Jesus. And that doesn't affect how we spend our money. Are we really sure we're following him at all? Is it is interesting you read through the gospels. Jesus talked about many subjects because Jesus came to talk about life. He came to show us how to live in the kingdom and if you want to take the gospels apart and just go through verse by verse and he talked about this year and this year and this year Jesus talked about money or they talked about heaven. Jesus talked about money just as much as he talked about since Jesus talk about money over and over and over again. Why because it's a part of life. and Jesus came Or are lie. You don't want a part of us. He wants all of us. He's not the Lord of what happens after we die. He's the Lord of all of our life and it starts here and now so I want us to think together tonight about how love gives and how love gives its treasure not out of obligation. But out of the light, so if you love let's start together in Matthew chapter 6 in The Sermon on the Mount Jesus addresses here. starting in verse 19 Kingdom perspective On well and money.
and our hearts He starts out this way. He says this do not lay up for yourselves Treasures on Earth. Ware Ma rust destroy North feves can break in and steal. Rather lay up for yourselves Treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. This is a well-known verse because it is in the sermon on it's one that I imagine most of us has hurt. I've heard many times but I imagine that it's one that doesn't mean all that much to most of us because most of us have bought into a false dichotomy between the Earth and Heavens. So when we hear Jesus talk about don't lay up Treasures for yourself on the Earth, but lay up for yourselves Treasures in Heaven, we think geographically or spatially we think the same don't worry about what happens here. Just worried about what happens after you die. We think that heaven's means somewhere else or someone else that Jesus is talking about this this future-oriented deny yourself today. I meant and tomorrow you'll have something better. Mmmm, that's how we read the text. It becomes almost impossible to do anything with it other words, it becomes practically irrelevant because I know what it means to invest my money and things of the earth I get on Amazon I click by and it shows up at my door. I know what that looks like. We all know what that looks like. What does it mean to invest your money in things in the heaven? If if if that means what happens to us after we die if that means someplace or someone else? What is Jesus saying? Franklin nothing if that's what it means if he comes one of these nights moral platitude, that doesn't affect High anything we do with our lives. Maybe we could just tweak it a little bit and say well that means you know tithe at church or you know, when you when you go shopping and you see the guy out there with the Bell throw something in or you know that like we're we're purchasing something in heaven, but really that kind of understanding of this text and of Jesus, let us off the hook. Okay, I'm not going to be as greedy as somebody else that I know but I'm going to I'm going to make sure I give Jesus a little bit here and there. Can I suggest you tonight? That that's not what Jesus is really talking about because Jesus doesn't have this dichotomy between Earth and Heaven as if they are different places, they are different rounds, but they are meant to be together and Jesus coming is the inauguration and the invitation for us to live in the heavens with God as our father not just on the earth. It's not that we live in the earth now and then we will live in the heaven when we start to live with Jesus. We start to live in the heavens right here. And right now because Jesus is the king of the Kingdom the kingdom is here because the king is here if we are made citizens of the Kingdom then we are in the heavens now. Even while we're still on the air. So what would Jesus is saying here is not that you know, think about what happens. He's talking about Jews your resources use your money use the things that you have for the things that God is doing right here and right now in your missed this is not a word for tomorrow. It's not yesterday's word. It's a word for today.
Use what God has given you for things that matter. When the reality is you invest in the things of this world. It's a really bad investment. I mean ultimately it doesn't laugh. You know it in the ancient world moths were seen as incredibly destructive. I don't think of moths as destructive personally annoying. Yes, but there's not so much better in pre-modern world. You had to really be careful about things and if you invested your money in clothing, which is so easy for us to get because we don't got so it ourselves I got to put the time of shearing the sheep and then in the doing all that, you know, how they make clothes. Do. You know, I remember Graphics in my history class that I didn't really understand. In the pre-modern world closing those kinds of resources. They were costly and a moth. Can you get mods in your chest? You get mods are cuz they're going to eat if they're going to destroy it rusts you invest in something that's metal. You're less than something that the trust will destroy. You know we get every once in awhile you read through the news and you see some, you know ancient Discovery, they found a coin or a sword or something here and it's amazing. Everybody gets so excited. This is 500 years old. This is 2000 years old. This is this is so ancient and and we get excited about it because it's so rare that one of them would actually be preserve. It's not that there was only one coin or once order one pottery that know it's but all have been destroyed except this one random one that gets Preserve. Jim's this point is just as valid today as it was when he said if you can invest all of your life all of your heart all of your income file Desires in things that are ultimately going to break down and fail OU.
We live in a culture where the companies that are Relentless Lee bombarding us to buy their products are making their products in such a way that they are planned planned obsolescence. The one you buy that iPhone for $1,200 when you buy that note 9 for $1,000 when they built it they planned, but it wouldn't last more than two to three years so that you're going to have to go buy another one when the time come.
You can't take it with you. Jesus says happy careful about what you treasure. I noticed what Jesus doesn't say. He doesn't say don't treasure things. It doesn't say don't treasure things. He says Be Careful What You treasure be thoughtful be intentional in what you treasure I think treasuring things is inherently human. The question is not do we treasure things if you are a human being made by God in the image of God, you will treasure thing. The treasure things is inherently human the wisdom of Jesus is that we should be thoughtful about what we treasure and direct our actions towards making a difference in the realm of God's. Invest our life and what God is doing. Which can never be lost. I will. Almost such a black-and-white choice Jesus's laying out before you can use your money for something that won't last or you can use your money for something that well you can use your money for something that at the end of the day will be quite meaningless, or you can use your money in your wealth or something that will matter forever.
Jesus just paint such a beautifully stark contrast in order to help us. gain, an understanding what really matters in life? You continue Zana verse 21. He says this for where your treasure is. There will your heart be also. Your treasure focuses. Our heart. Heart is is when the Bible talks about a heart is talking about our will it's talking about our volition talking about our our direction that what we focus on. This is why I Paul and other writers, we'll talk about the eyes of our hearts, right? Because it's what we've looked at. It's what we focus on it's what we direct ourselves or Jesus says listen where your treasure is there your heart will go also very often. We think it goes the other way. We think we're driven by our hearts, but in reality we're driven by what we focus on. This is the whole basis of advertising there would be no advertising if this wasn't true advertising is built upon the premise that if they show you over and over and over again that you need something eventually you're going to believe you need something. You got to see it. You're going to see it. You're going to see it. Then you go. I need one of those. You going to you going to watch House Hunters and then you got to look at your house and go man can't believe I live in this dump. Before you watch the show, you loved your house after you watch the show. I need a new stove. I need to be careful what you focus on because your heart will follow along with it. Your heart will follow along with it. So if you spend more time watching Netflix than in the Bible don't be surprised if your heart goes more for the world than for the things of God. If you put your attention on politics more than on Jesus don't be surprised if you're full of anxiety and fear and worry.
Where you focus this is where near where you focus what you treasure your heart goes after it. Your heart goes after. This is where your treasure is there for your heart will be also he continues on and in a very strange way at this is one of those is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy your whole body will be full of light was talking about straight out of it if you got good eyesight and you can see where you're going. When you're able to navigate through the world our eyesight helps us navigate through the world. He continues he says but if your eye is bad your whole body will be full of Darkness. If you can't see where you're going, you're going to fall you're going to bump into stuff. You're going to be in darkness. So he's using just the simple example of eyesight, but he's connecting it to this issue of the heart and money and how we relate to it. And so he says this if the light is in you is Darkness How great is the darkness? The person the treasures what lies within the kingdom sees everything and it's true worth and relationship. Can I say that again the person that fixes his eyes on the things of God? The person the treasures God and his work in this world will gain a perspective of the actual worth and value of what we see in life. But when we focus on the things of this world, we lose a Divine perspective. We lose a spiritual objectivity about what is Meaningful and what is beautiful and what is good and what is ultimately of value Find ourselves loving things that quite frankly aren't lovely. And not nearly as beautiful as Jesus. Jesus listen when you focus on the wrong things you love the wrong things and you end up in a bad States, but when you focus on God and the things of the kingdom when you focus on things of ultimate value, when you keep your focus on your creator, you're going to gain a wisdom and a perspective about what matters and what doesn't What matters and what doesn't? It will allow you to enjoy the good things of this world. They far too often. We read a text like this we go. Okay, if I'm going to be really spiritual I got to hate everything of this world. I'm not going to I'm going to dress in burlap sack. I'm going to use a flip phone. I'm going to I'm going to get rid of my car and buy a horse. I mean, I would have been like a week we go to these extremes, which I'm not going to Listen, there's some amazing things in this world. Good things are made by God things and they're made by God's imagers. Thanks and went we can appreciate them and Delight in them. We can't treasure them the way that we treasure Jesus so went when we have this Kingdom mindset. It allows us to enjoy good things to Delight in them in their proper place and perspective. I don't we need some more perspective in our world today. About what really matters and what doesn't? Trouble you what passes as news these days? Is it not trouble you who we Elevate and lift up as important and significant in our world and in our culture today? if you look pretty if you sing pretty if you can act pretty and you must be important. I'm not saying those people aren't important.
That really what we want a value that who you want to look to is that we want our kids and our grandkids to a door. to the hope for to strive to be we ourselves want to live in the mentality of our world that says you really matter. If you got a lot of money you really matter if you're really skinny you really matter if you got a whole bunch of followers on Instagram.
I would bet my right arm that Instagram won't even be here in 10 years.
I doubt it'll even be here and yet today in our world. We literally have people that kill themselves because they get unfollowed or unfriended or they don't have enough lights or they don't have enough something on a platform that probably won't be here in a decade. Jesus is calling us we need perspective. When we focus on the things of this world we end up in darkness when we focus on God our creator what a light shines into us and not just into us but through us. But through us so we can send you some says this app. No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve. both God and money I got understand Jesus is riding in a cultural World at War slavery was a reality. It was not the kind of slavery that was practiced here in the Americas or or in the world in the eighteen-hundreds. It was not that kind of slavery, but it was slavery not to laugh. When he's talking about this everybody's really clear about what he's talking about. There is no slave that has two masters. It's any possibility it cannot work at some point in time. This master will say I want you to do this and this master will say I want you to do that and they're not the same thing and you can't do both.
It's Eva logically evidence is almost anything can be. Jesus lays it in this issue of us and our relationship to money and he says at the end of the day. The end of the day you got to choose who you're going to sir. We don't even think about serving money. We think our money serves us. And it may start out that way it may start out. It's okay. This is how I'm going to use my money in. This is how I'm going to control a bit but but what happens very subtly and but very quickly as we begin serving it. The tale begins to Wag the Dog. The cart begins to lead the horse week we we we become enslaved. To let this world in our culture tells us about money and possessions. We we we don't serve it doesn't serve us we end up serving it. It's a Jesus just lays it out. He says listen, you're going to have to make a choice. After whom you're going to serve are you going to serve your creator or you going to serve money? possession the things of the world eventually something's got to give invariably it will lead you. If you don't put God first. ultimately, you will have to do something to be financially secure do something to impress people or do something to the fill your desires that will lead you to go against God's will It's it's not an if it will happen. It's a win it will happen. It's a certainty. Regina says you got to decide who's in control who's in charge who you ultimately will serve. Are you going to serve the things are created or you going to serve the Creator? You cannot serve both God and money.
You know, I think that's why. When God gives the Ten Commandments. the very first one remember you shall have no other gods before me. You should worship me alone. This is this is core. It's Central to the reality of of a relationship and worship of the Creator. He either comes first.
He's either in charge. or he's not and you don't get to play it both way. This is this is it who who has your heart?
PR money is a reflection of our heart. What we spend what we invest how we use it or abused. It reflects who we worship and look to you.
She's just she just talks about her money in the context of our worship.
context of our identity and in our context of our Salvation as God's people. Who belong in God's kingdom? We're no longer citizens of this world our citizenship live in the kingdom of God. We're now aliens and strangers passing through
How we invest how we spend how we focus how we love our money and our possessions speaks volumes about how we love our God and our savior. I was thinking about this and just thinking through text about giving and worship and offerings for the Lord my heart and my mind went actually right to the beginning of the scriptures that the Genesis chapter 4 right after the creation narrative and after the fall in Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve are escorted out of the garden and God covers them in the the animal skins and sets the cherubim to guard the way back into the eat and we we get this story in Matthew chapter 4. It says it's an Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and pork and saying I've gotten the man with the help of the Lord and again she bore his brother Abel. Now label was a keeper of sheep while Cain was a worker of the ground. In the course of time paying brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portion. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering. But for pain in his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry and his face spell know if you've heard the story before, you know, it goes from bad to worse. And we have the first case of fratricide brother killing, brother. Because of this issue of an offering to the Lord what I find amazing about this text as I was thinking about it is that this is before Moses and the law this is before God called him before everything else that's happened. I mean, it's just started there just out of the garden who told them to bring an offering to the lore. Who told them to do that? Was there a law that they needed to bring an offering to the Lord? Absolutely not was there Commandments did God tell them they had to do it as far as we know if Adam and Eve until they had to do if something was going on within them a sense of understanding therion relationship with that even though they're out of the garden. They still have this unique relationship with God when he speaking to them. He's walking in the field with them sting know him and in the course of time. So the Texas in the course of time, it's a really weird phrase in the Hebrew what it means is that when a harvest came in. In a season where where the the fields have been Tales the Harvest has been brought in the shape of been sheared. The Lambs have been killed in the in the course of time when their possessions are before them without any law without any man day without any commandment whatsoever.
We got to get some of this to the Lord.
What I love about this is the love. I think that's what's going on here at a very profound an important level. Well not for both of them sadly. Because there's some differences that take place in this offering. It says that came brought him some of his Harvest. Tim brought him something here God. I don't really like turnips. They're all yours.
For a little tail in there. You can have all the brussel sprouts you never desire.
Game brought him something. the table Write him the first born. Abel brought him the finest Abel brought him the most important the choice of Abel brought him what his heart desired and delighted in the most and gave it to God. And much like when Jenny preached a couple weeks ago on the the two men that going to pray right the two men go to the temple to pray. The one says oh God. I thank you that I'm I'm not like these other people. I'm an awesome Pharisee and then the other other guys, like he can't even look to have mercy on me. That that that story tells us that you can do the exact same thing in different ways and get incredibly different results with God. Gina says it this way. I tell you the truth, right the second one goes home Justified. The first one went home just as proud of himself as when he came in. They wouldn't the way we do things matter. We do the right thing in the wrong way. It becomes the wrong thing. This this is true in the story of Cain and Abel. Is it not they both bring an offering but it's the way in which they bring the offering. Dangerous to hear God have something evil says God. I want you to have this is my prized possession my first born here take it. And God looks with the light and joy upon the offering available, but he's displeased with offering a pain. I don't know how he expressed his Delight in one and his displacement with the other part of the the verbage in there in the Hebrew is it uses a verb in there that that means to burn and then there's some especially some of the Jewish commentators and rabbis of old believe that what happened is that when they brought their offerings that God consumed with fire the offering available, but the offering of Cain was just left there maybe that happened maybe it really doesn't matter what the point of Genesis the same God was delighted with one and he wasn't with the other.
What do the right thing? if we give our money, if we if we spend our resources, if we invest in the things of the Kingdom out of the wrong motives, it doesn't delight and please The Lord At All
That writer of Hebrews says it this way when he's talking about Cain and Abel. He said by faith Abel offered to sacrifice more acceptable than 10. Through which he was commended as righteous God commending him by accepting his gifts and threw his fee face though. He dies. He still speaks. We're still telling his story.
I don't like your faith is not just objective belief. Faith is subjective affection. with ejected boy pain didn't love God able dead. Didn't want to give to God's able couldn't wait to give to God. It's a world of difference for the difference is love the differences relationship. The difference is delight and desire not Duty and obligation. It's like one of my favorite stories in in the life of King David is in 2nd Samuel 24 David does one of his many boneheaded things that creates major problems in the land of Israel and God actually sent this massive Arcangel started destroying and killing people across the land and David realizes what he's done and so he goes out to make a sacrifice to repent before the Lord and he goes and he wants to make this offering and one of the people at one of his people one of his subjects as here my Lord you can have my land you can have my cattle. You can have all my stuff go ahead and make your offering and David says absolutely not he says I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing. I'm not going to I'm not going to take your stuff and offer it to God. It's not an offering it's not it's not a gift unless there's some sort of intentionality in and frankly some sort of sacrifice involve. If David would have used somebody else's Goods to offer a sacrifice. It's not his sacrifice. It's the other guys.
And this is this is where it starts to rub against us As Americans is that we're okay giving an offering to God, but we don't really like the word sacrifice. But ultimately every offering is a sacrifice Every time you choose to give something to God you're choosing not to give it something to something else. Every time you choose to invest it in in the work of the Gospel you're choosing not to invest it in your own self. There's always a level of sacrifice involved.
very often and sometimes stupidly doesn't ask the question. How much does it cost? What does it just doesn't ask that question? Love love ask a question. What's needed? How can I get it? What can I do? What where how how can I make this happen?
I'm not obsessed with cough.
Aren't you off at man?
We want to offer something to the Lord. Long as it doesn't hurt too much. And David would stand before us today and say it man if it doesn't hurt. I'm not sure it matters.
I will not offer burnt offering to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.
the closest one other text Mark chapter 12 well-known Passage Jesus was indulging in one of my favorite pastimes people watching. Can't realize that that's what he's doing verse 41. It says he sat down opposite the treasury and watch the people putting money into the offering box. Will not be fun. If I did that when we did the offering I just follow the ushers around and just relax. Okay. I see what I've actually been to churches before. We're that's how they gave the offering the pastor would stand up there with the offering plate. You have to walk up in like You might get more out of that. I don't know but it doesn't seem very healthy to me. But here's what Jesus says many rich people putting large sums that they were giving it was a big box a big metal and they would come in and they didn't have paper coin or plastic cards like we do then coins coin, right? You knew the large sum was going in by the sound that it made you knew what was going on by the sound that it made. But then a poor Widow came. And put in two small copper coins which together. with less than a penny, I mean nothing a little fear these guys coming in there dropping it on clock and she comes up and
the only human level Just on a purely human level. We would look at that scenario and go man. Guy who gave a whole bunch. He must really love the Lord. A woman that just plates not so much. This is why we can't remember God sees the heart. And God sees it all got judges not just the action but the motive of the action the Jesus looked and he sees it and then it says that he called his disciples to him and said to them one of those teaching moments of Jesus hate you guys y'all saw what just happened, right? Yeah Jesus we thought they were GIF. Truly I say to you. That poor Widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. Eugenia Center we put You said that's more? That's more than those giant bags of coins that were making that loud sound that clinging gong or symbol. She gave more than them put together.
Why Jesus? For they all contributed out of their abundance. But she out of her poverty. Put in everything. She had everything she had. to live on
here's where it gets interesting to me. Because Jesus is lifting her up is the hero of this story. She's lifting her up as an example of Faith as an example of sacrifice as an example of what pleases God and yet I think in our advantage in many if not, most of our churches we look at that woman and say, oh you're being foolish Steward of what you have.
You being full of Steward of what you have? I'm not being stingy towards God. I'm just being a wise Steward of what I have. I got to make sure that my retirement is up to Snuff. I've got to make sure that I have all of the luxuries that I feel good about and once I've got all my stuff together, then. I'm going to be happy to give to you but that's what the wealthy people that's what the Pharisees that's what the anti-heroes are doing in this story. They're making sure all their ducks are in a row and then they're given to God's and Jesus says that's not the heart of the king. That's not the heart of love. This woman loves trust in God to the point that when she's down to nothing. She's not going to come out into the house of the Lord and not offer something even if it cost her everything.
I want you to be challenged tonight. Like I'm being challenged. I want you to let the love of God challenge you. God so loved the world he gave his only son that there is nothing more costly in the universe.
host gift Jesus chose to come Happy more, costly. Love always requires a sacrifice.
The love it's not a sacrifice. It's at the light. Joy. It pleased the father to give his son. In order that he might gather for himself his children it please Jesus to lay down his life.
We might be restored and reconcile. Wow, yeah. I cough. Sometimes it hurts. But when you're in love, it doesn't feel like hurts. It feels like worship. It feels like faith. Feels like trough.