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Trash or Treasure

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Trash or Treasure? nv 3/14/04 / 12/21/08 pm

OS:  (1995)Craig Randall drives a garbage truck in Peabody, Massachusetts. In a garbage container one day, he noticed a Wendy's soft drink cup bearing a contest sticker. Having won a chicken sandwich the week before, Randall checked it, hoping for some French fries or a soft drink. Instead, he peeled a sticker worth $200,000 toward the construction of a new home, reports U.S. News and World Report (11/6/95).

I.      If we’re not careful we’ll spend our lives looking for treasure in trash.

A.   We’ll look for peace, security, meaning, and purpose in the possessions and things of this world.

                      1.       Things of this world never satisfy. How many times have we thought a new car, job was going to make us happy only to discover the happiness didn’t last after the new wore off.

                      2.       Then we begin to look again as if a different item, job or relationship will provide what we are looking for.

                      3.       It is a cycle that never ends until we discover the only real treasure in life.

B.     The first paragraph of a recent U.S. News and Report article titled, "The Junk Mail Deluge" says: "The people who fill your mailbox with 34 pounds of junk [mail] each year know what you paid for your moose-hide slippers and whether you paid by credit card or check. They know how much you owe on your house, whether your hobbies are fly-fishing or fiddling, whether you buy used golf balls, whether you are most likely straight or gay; they may even know what chronic illness you have. They know all this, simply, because it is their business to know. Whatever it is--amusing nuisance, trash-can stuffer, or welcome bedtime read--direct mail is a booming industry because it targets us with scientific precision" [December 8, 1997, page 40]. Now that caught my attention! Not only are there people out there paid to track my spending habits, they can use that data to determine my likes and dislikes and the types of things I might be tempted to purchase!

                      1.       The junk mail moguls have discovered something that Jesus taught a long time ago when he said,  "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6).

                      2.       Paraphrased, Jesus means this: the way we use money (as evidenced by the thousands of transactions we make each year by check, cash, or credit cards) gives the best evidence for the things we value and cherish the most.

C.   Satisfaction in this life comes only through a relationship with God. How terrible it is to spend our lives searching for treasures of God in the trash of this world.

II.   Let’s look at a good example in Genesis 25:29-34.

A.   “So Esau despised his birthright”

B.    To be the first born was a wonderful privilege in these days. Esau had privileges at that time, and when the inheritance would be divided he would receive a double portion. A birthright was special, and almost sacred.

C.   Hebrews 12 14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.  17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

III.            Do you really have everything, but feel as though you’re empty?

A.   Do you feel as though something is missing in your life?

B.    We all have longings in our heart that can only be filled with a relationship with God. Only God will satisfy these longings in our hearts.

                      1.       Things of this world will not.

                      2.       Even filling our time with good works will not.

                      3.       Only a walk with God will allow us to experience what God created us to experience in the first place.

TS] One lady told how her family had company for dinner, and after dinner she put all the food scraps in a big, black trash bag. Forgotten on the back porch, the trash the following morning was strewn across the deck and back yard. The family did not look forward to coming home to pick it all up after church. During church the children's sermon was about how it is important to keep God's earth as good as it used to be in the Garden of Eden. He had a black plastic trash bag and emptied it on the platform—coke cans, papers, and wrappers. He then asked the children, "Now, what does that look like?" The lady's son stood right up, hands on hips, and loudly said, "Well, it looks just like my house!

(If you’ve been looking for satisfaction in the world that’s what your house ‘life’ looks like.)

PQ: How can we be sure not to sell our birthright for the trash of this life? Or how can we be sure that we don’t sell the treasures of God for the trash of this world?

I.      Learn how to tell the difference between Trash and Treasure.

A.   Esau certainly had trash and treasure mixed up.

                      1.       Don’t buy into his ‘being at the point of death’. To much talking, and he ate, drank, and got up and left.

                      2.       Something more is going on in this picture.

                      3.       Basic – Esau treated what was holy and sacred as something common. He got it mixed up.

B.    What does that look like in our day and time?

                      1.       Checkbook – we give what is left over to God.

                      2.       Time – we give what is left over to God. – If we are not too busy with the world we can offer some time to God and His work.

                      3.       Do we allow the world more influence time with our children than we allow God?

C.   It boils down to keeping a proper perspective on life.

                       1.       Illu – Titanic – woman who said, “wait, I must get something” (3 minutes) – ran across slanting deck, through gambling room where all the money had piled up on one side of the room ankle deep, went into her room, pushed aside her jewelry box filled with diamonds, reached to the shelf above her bed and grabbed three small oranges. Quickly found her way back to the lifeboat and got in.

                      2.       A few hours before you couldn’t have sold her a few oranges for more than a few cents. Death had boarded the Titanic, and her perspective had changed. Instantaneously priceless things had become worthless. Worthless things had become priceless.

D.   How badly we want something is not what makes it important.

                      1.       Esau evidently wanted that stew.

                      2.       Don’t let the world trick you and give you the wrong perception of value. This life is much too short.

II.   Remember – Real treasure takes time.

A.   We live in a fast food world – we are used to instant gratification.

                      1.       Drive through and eat a meal – instant potatoes – “Instant baby formula”

B.    Esau was more interested in the here and now than the future consequences of his actions.

C.   It takes time to build a meaningful relationship with God.

D.   Philippians 3:7-11

                      1.       Paul is talking about a life time of knowing Christ.

Aesop Fable: It happened that a dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook. As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that also. So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and was never seen more.

Moral – Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

Luke 12:13-21 (The parable of the rich fool)

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