What are the things we most worry about or are most afraid of?
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Living in the relative affluence of the western world members of my people group tend to worry about financial issues. These are usually financial issues concerning our future. These worries and fears are expressed in a variety of questions – will I have enough money to see my life out? Will interest rate increases cause my mortgage repayments to go up to unaffordable levels? Will my rent be increased in the new year? If I increase my giving to my church or this ministry will I have enough to live on especially those times of increased costs, such as when my car or home need big repairs?
Our reading today follows on from a story Jesus told about a successful farmer/businessman who found himself in the envied position in having too much success. Too much that he needed to expand his storage facilities to hold all his grain. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. But then he adopts an attitude of complacency and assumes his success and corresponding wealth will provide protection for him. He can take things easy, drink and be merry. But Jesus declares him a fool as he dies ill prepared for what follows after death. Although he has stored treasures on earth, he is bankrupt when it comes to treasures in heaven. He is a pauper when it comes to God and his kingdom.
Jesus then tells his listeners to not worry about possessions. He reminds us that we are valuable to God and he knows what we need. And in these verses, he tells us not to be afraid and that it has pleased the father to give us the kingdom. And not only that we have been given Jesus – the kingdom’s king! And if we have the kingdom then we can loosen our grip on earthly treasures. We can even sell them and give our money to the poor!
We are encouraged not to attach to the temporary but to attach to the eternal – to faith in Jesus. After all – we enter this life with nothing and we leave it the same way. May our faith in Jesus cause a generosity towards God and others that is radically counter cultural to this society that measures our major successes often in economic terms alone.
Head: What do you worry most about when it comes to money?
Heart: Is your heart in the treasures of this life? Including your money, home, education, job and even family? Or is it in the treasures of heaven?
Hands: What is a practical action you can take this week to loosen your heart’s grip on earthly treasures and grow treasures in heaven?
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, who made all that there is and who provides us with all that we need – please forgive us for the anxieties and our fears we express over the necessities of life. Help us to trust you more and help us to realise that all our money is really yours. Father help us to be open to this command of Jesus to sell things we own and give the proceeds away to others. Although it comes from Jesus’ lips it can still sound foreign to those of us who hang on too tightly to our misplaced treasures. Continue to do a work in our hearts so that they might reflect the heart of Jesus.
A song to listen to: Crowns