2nd February 2023
2nd February 2023
Read (Matthew 6v19-24)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
In June 2015 I walked from church to the primary school for the annual leaver's assembly and somewhere on that short trip I lost my wedding ring. It wasn't terribly expensive and Jenny was her usual gracious self when I told her the news but to this day I'm annoyed at myself for not taking better care of such a sentimental piece of jewellery. How did I lose it? I'd lost weight, my finger had shrunk and off came my ring. I remember even hearing it "ping" as it hit the ground but I couldn't find it and despite hours of looking it never turned up. But here is why it was never that important - I'm saved.
The Christian understands that there is nothing as precious as salvation and therefore even our most beloved treasures in this life shouldn't cause us an anxious thought. That's not to say we should be careless or wasteful but we should never allow our hearts to be captured by things which have no eternal significance.
Jesus said “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." (v19-21) The Lord speaks about the difference between temporary treasure and lasting treasure. The moth likes to eat your fancy clothes, rust likes to destroy your fully restored Ford Capri and thieves like to steal your gold rings. But our heavenly treasures are in no danger. What does Jesus mean by heavenly treasure? In Christ we have received a glorious reward and a heavenly inheritance. An eternity in heaven makes the passing joys of this world look like a wet weekend in a field with a ripped tent.
So what is your focus? Truly this world offers much to entice us and we are often like little magpies who are endlessly attracted by new bright shiny things. In this regard Christ tells us we have an eye issue. The eye is the lamp of the body - we can see because light bounces off an object and into our eye. Therefore if our eye is healthy and Christ focused our whole bodies are full of light (v22). In other words we understand the fleeting nature of this world and we long for the permanent glory of heaven.
However if our eye is bad then the body is filled with darkness (v23). Such a person believes that this world is all we have and it offers far more glory than Christ ever could. It is a tragedy when we see this lived out. How many families have torn themselves apart over the inheritance of Uncle Sam's farm? How many of us have been prepared to trample all over our opponents so that we might benefit from the world's riches?
Jesus is the light of the world and He seeks to illuminate the darkest reaches of the human heart but if even the light in you is darkness then how great the darkness (v23)! Such a person is in a dire spiritual condition. An individual with two bosses will inevitably favour one over the other (v24) and so in the same way it is impossible for us to serve both God and money (v24).
Brothers and sisters, it is easy to say and write that Christ is our greatest treasure but it is much harder for us to believe. Our hearts are easily seduced and soon we find ourselves clinging to the treasures that we have gathered around us on earth. There is much danger on such a path - our priorities become centred around our comfort and the preserving of our treasure and the gathering of more treasure.
May God forgive us. Paul spoke truthfully when he said "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3v8-11)
May you and I be able to say these words truthfully because we know that the world's riches are pitiful in comparison to Christ.
Q66 What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment? The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory, and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.
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