treasure

September 23, 2015

Treasure after

Stewardship is a matter of the heart

 

There’s an old story about a dad who gave his son two quarters as he heads for Sunday School. He told the boy that he should give one quarter in the offering and he could keep the other to get an ice cream cone. (I guess that price for an ice cream cone proves how old the story is). As the boy walked down the street he accidentally dropped one of the quarters which then rolled into a storm drain and disappeared. The boy looked for a moment down the drain and then slowly looked toward the sky, sighed and said, Well God, there goes your quarter.

 

The very idea of giving sets off an internal war in us. Whose money is it? In the last several studies, we have been seeking to understand financial stewardship from the Bible. It’s a very personal subject. And the biblical concept of stewardship is that God own everything – both quarters.

 

Stewardship means that as believers we are each assigned different amounts of material things to manage for God. And that really is a test from God. But because material things do have our name on them, it creates a tension. Who really determines where our money goes? Will I really use my financial and material things exactly how God wants me to?

 

What we see in this study and the next about giving won’t make any sense unless we understand that we are stewards managing God’s money. This study will focus on what the Bible often calls our “heart.” The heart, in Bible usage, is often a metaphor of our will. It’s where we make up our mind if we will do what God wants. We can only understand what God says about financial giving if we align our heart with his.

 

Jesus told us to store up treasures in heaven as an expression of a devoted heart. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. {20} But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

 

Jesus was greatly concerned about our heart. Our heart will naturally attach to physical things that moths destroy – speaking of valued cloth and clothes – or things that rust destroys or corrodes or anything valuable that thieves take.

 

Money sure gets away easily, doesn’t it? (Proverbs 23:5) “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” In contrast, Jesus urges us to store up treasures in heaven. Jesus is calling us to think differently about treasure. Attach your heart to things that last forever, Jesus says.

  

The real issue is that where our treasure is, our heart is. Period. This passage is not specifically talking about giving money to God or ministry, but it is teaching us something crucial about a decision we must make prior to any giving. Where is our heart? Which do we value – financial or eternal treasure?

 

Giving or tithing is going to be meaningless at best if we think like some who teach that giving is a way to have financial success, or a way to impress God, or impress people, or a way to feel good about ourselves. Then our goal – our heart – is still on ourselves and not on eternity.

 

Jesus’ main point was to ask us which we want. Which one do we value – earth’s treasure or heaven’s? We might pretend that we want a diversified portfolio – earthly and heavenly treasure. I want it all, we might say. But we can’t. Jesus makes sure we understand that.

 

Thanks’ for all the feedback on this series, not always the most popular topic.

 

 

Pray for Karen, who is having really bad back issues and an insurance company that is giving her fits.

 

Pray for Robert as he battles addiction

 

Jillian, and depression

 

Questions, comments and prayer requests to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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