SISTER MARIAN’S WEB-
MATTHEW 6: 19 – 23
What I wonder, what we have or want that we treasure most. Let's think about it.
Is it some jewellery? Or is it a certain gift that holds special significance for us?
Is it a person; for example, a child, a husband, a parent or perhaps, a particular friend.
Is it our savings? Money put aside for something?
Is it our good names, our reputations?
What or who is the most important treasure we possess?
Our Gospel reading for today is part of the Sermon on the Mount.
One writer suggests that Jesus seems is saying that what is most important for us is often the affirmation and our value and identity we receive from possessions, or wealth.
In another section, Jesus had said that seeking to receive our identity and value from others and from God, at the same time, is impossible.
Here Jesus makes the point that the person who does anything he or she can do in order to acquire wealth or earthly treasures cannot at the same time serve God and His values.
Let's ask ourselves, what is most important or what is most valuable to us.
Is it what we acquire upon earth for ourselves, or what we acquire for the Kingdom of God.
Someone said that a measure of how valuable something is, is to ask how we would feel if we lost it? That shows just how important it is to us?
How many like I have, have wondered how they would manage if the washing machine broke down and we didn't have one.
Or, how would we feel if the car broke down and we couldn't afford another!
I am sure we all have at sometime had little worries like this.
There is of course another treasure, that is our health.
Most of us worry about how we would cope if we were ill or disabled and yet when we are, we find by God's grace, we cope.
The truth is, that if the most important person in our lives is God, and our purpose in life is to serve Him, whatever happens to us, He will help us through.
When our values become God's values and the coming of His Kingdom is the most important thing we feel we cannot do without, then the whole purpose of our life changes.
We are different people.
We cannot seek wealth and acclaim for ourselves and for God at the same time.
It is not the accumulation of wealth that is the problem, but for what we use that wealth.
It is not position or fame that is the problem, but how we use that position and fame to witness to God and to encourage others into His Kingdom.
I'll end today with a story about how one person used His status and wealth to further the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The late R.G. LeTourneau, the great Texas industralist, had the gift of giving. In his autobiograbhy he said this, 'The question is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God's money I keep.'
He answered his question in his life by turning 90% of the assets of the company over to the Christian foundation, and then he and his wife gave in cash 90A% of the income that was realised from the share of the business that he kept. He and his wife never lacked.
(Taken from Graham Twelftree's book, 'Drive The Point Home'.)
‘COME AND SEE’
Tom Wright, retired Bishop of Durham, in His book The Scriptures, the Cross and the Power, tells us that the commandment, not to be afraid is the most used in the Bible. He tells us that after it in the Resurrection narrative, the angel says, ‘Come and see!”
Here, their fear is accepted and they are offered proof to ease that fear. The angel invites questioning and searching; they are encouraged not to just take his word for it but to see the facts for themselves.
We are told to trust God when we are afraid, to hand it over and let Him take control. Do we ever have the opportunity for evidence? Where do we look for the proof?
We cannot visit the grave and Jesus has not appeared in bodily form to us as He did to His disciples. In the Letter to the Hebrews, the author encourages us to live by Faith but is there something to be seen to back it up?
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” (John 14: 9b.), and after His death He commissioned His disciples as He does you and me today, to take His place, to be His body on Earth. Others should be able to see the living Lord working in us.
Many of us have known or read about people who have been completely changed when they believe in Jesus Who comes to them in the form of the Holy Spirit.
These people are an inspiration to us all and can strengthen our faith by their example.
When we have times when our faith is faltering and we start to question and want to see some proof, where do we find it? We should find it in each other. Rarely do we all have times of doubts at the same time! That is why it is so important for Christians to meet and work together. This reminds us how important it is that we take very seriously how we live our lives. Again I return to that daunting quote, ‘Sometimes, we are the only Bible, others read!’
Is it possible for us to say to the outside world, “Do not be afraid, come to our church and see that Jesus is alive and working through us.”?
God is our Creator and He made us, and all that is in the world.
He created beautiful things: earth and sky, sea and land, trees and many other plants. He made the low lands and He made the Highlands, He made the plains and the mountains and the hills and he created all the living things that live in these places. ‘And God saw that it was good’. (Genesis 1: 25)
Then God made human beings in His own image and gave them power over all things and He gave them power to create for themselves.
So man became a creator. He made many useful tools and instruments with which to care for the world. He made beautiful things in arts and crafts and built many tall and great buildings and places to give us shelter. Then man created labour saving devices to make his life easier and began to crave more and more things and power and glory for himself. But he e forgot about caring for the world and so he created pollution.
Then man became selfish and created wars and sought more and more esteem and status and with these came envy, jealousy, covetousness, hatred, anger, resentment and violence of all kinds.
Eventually man became so arrogant, that he created God in his image!
And man looked at the world he had created and it was …?
And God looked on and wept.