FACING THE CROSS (Part 4) Facing Our Worldliness Lent Week 4 Matthew 6:19-21 Pastor Carey March 10, 2018

Donald Barnhouse told the story years ago about how young boys in a certain part of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their work. After much conversation and discernment, someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster that chimed daily were slightly out of tune. Something had caused the chimes to become discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong and began unconsciously to copy their out-of-tune pitch.

Isn’t it interesting how quickly we can pick up or copy actions, words and thoughts of the people we associate with?  The same holds true for the thoughts we borrow from the things we read, the programs we watch and the music we listen to. If we are not careful, almost without even knowing it, those things can slowly change us from the true center of our life – Jesus Christ! God has given us His Word which is the absolute pitch of life and living. If we learn to sing by it, we shall easily detect the falseness in all of the music of the world around us.

I believe that Lent is our time to return to focusing on God more than we have. Beginning on Ash Wednesday Lent is a 40-day period ending on Holy Saturday that is a preparation for celebrating Easter. Lent is a time for penance by all Christians that invites us to “jump” or “spring” onto a deeper faith life.

During Lent 2018, we are focusing our attention on how Jesus faced the cross and now invites us to do the same – to determine over these 40 days what is not in line with the cross.  What things need to be eliminated or crucified in us, what things need to be resurrected or begun in us to live into the disciple of Jesus calling upon all of us?  It starts with remembering who we are, who we are not, who we are supposed to be and who we are called to follow.  Today, let’s all face our worldliness.  As Christian disciples of Jesus, we are in a constant battle with where we choose to place our daily obedience: in Jesus, or in the things of the world?

To be a disciple of Jesus is an invitation to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.  Following Jesus starts by demoting every part of our being and allowing only Jesus to be the head – the Lord (the One in charge) of every part of our life, every day, every place and in everything we do, think and believe.  For in the kingdom of Jesus, everything is about Jesus and him only.

To pledge our allegiance to the world calls for a much different approach.  The world is the place where we are in charge and everything, anywhere and always it is about me (you, us). The world tells us to always look out for #1; if it feels good, then do it; eat, drink and be merry; buy now and pay later and to grab fortune, fame, power and pleasure because that is the only thing that really matters in this world.  Every day we must choose for ourselves which master to serve.

One of my favorite movies is National Treasure (actually both of them). I think I’d love to be a treasure hunter and have always wanted to find something incredibly valuable in the backyard!  Have you?  I remember finding some really neat things in my parent’s attic this past Fall when we had to move everything out.  As I opened drawers or boxes I hoped for lots of cash or gold or jewelry.  But for the most part only found papers that should have been thrown away years before.

In many ways, humanity is always looking for treasure.  We hope to find that nugget of gold that will provide us with everything we will ever need for happiness in our life.  So we try the world’s way of living hoping to strike it rich in fortune, fame, power and pleasure.  And for most, we come up empty finding only worthless papers in our drawers and boxes.  Someone once said that the world’s smiles are more dangerous that its frowns.  After the wealthiest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller died, someone asked, “I wonder how much he left behind.” A wise friend answered, “All of it!”

This is what Jesus is trying to help us see in our scripture lesson today.  The Lord gives us a wonderful reminder of the truth of the two kingdoms vying for our allegiance.  In these three verses that are part of the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus frames the truth about the lies of the world’s treasures that fade quickly and then Jesus reveals the truth about the eternal treasures of God that never fade.

In his day, wealth was calculated by gold, clothing and food.  Jesus describes how all three can be either eaten by bugs or vermin or stolen quickly by a sly thief.  In essence, the treasures of the world’s kingdom are volatile and are easily lost.  But Jesus tells us that those things we “store” in heaven will never be lost or devalued.

But what matters the most that Jesus wants us to see is the place where our treasure is located IS the place we will most want to be – and will end up being!  Jesus calls us to learn to be content with what we have. Having the wrong treasure leads to having our hearts in the wrong place.  What we treasure the most controls us whether we admit it or not. When we do we are able to live contently with whatever we have because we have chosen eternal values over temporary earthly treasures.  Concern for wealth and treasures and power and pleasures get in the way of what really matters – a heart orientated towards the things of heaven (2 Esdras 7:77).

Jesus never implied that this world was unimportant, but rather, that the important part of this world was where it leads.  Contrary to some, this world is NOT the end of life; it is the stage on the way.  So we must always guard our hearts, minds and souls to NEVER allow ourselves to become so attached to the things of this world that we miss our true home to come.  What is selfishly hoarded is lost, but what is generously given away brings treasures in heaven. What we keep we lose and what we spend in faithfulness to Jesus we will always have.  If possessions or money become too important to us – and ultimately divide our whole allegiance to Jesus, then let’s be sure to re-establish control or get rid of it.  Is your faith bank on earth or in heaven? What do you need to do to change accounts?

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>