Luke 12: 32-40
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
TEXT: "... where your treasure is, there your heart be also"
It has been said that one of the best tests of your religion is to find yourself in church with nothing less than a twenty dollar bill in your wallet.
In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus announces the ultimate test of one's status as a religious person:
Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom ... Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in the heaven where no thief comes near and no moth destroys ... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Lk. 12:32-34).
It is so hard, at times, to find words to describe the deep experiences of our common humanity. For example, who of us could ever find words to describe life's greatest treasure: the experience of Jesus Christ coming into your heart; the experience of the loving Presence of God in Jesus Christ.
The foundation of our faith, the foundation of our true religion, the foundation of our genuine religious experience is what the Old Testament calls "the steadfast love of God," and what the New Testament calls "the Grace of God." This means that whatever else we may think or feel about God, whatever our theological hang-ups may be, the essence of our faith is that God is ultimately for us; that God cares for us. And if that reality ever gets hold of you at the deepest level of your being, you will never be the same again. Treasure that reality in your deepest heart and your life will be transformed! This is why the Apostle Paul started all of his letters with the words "Grace to you from God the Father." This is what he wanted his converts to hear first, because it is central to the faith.
It is by the Grace of God that He has come to us in Jesus Christ, and identifies, with us and shows us what human life is all about.
It is by the Grace of God -- the goodness of God -- that He has come to us as the Holy Spirit -- welling up within us as living Presence.
It is by Grace -- the goodness of God -- that we are being called into a union of love with God Himself -- which Jesus called "the one thing needful" in our human life.
It is by Grace -- the goodness of God -- that we receive the gift of wholeness of life and hope for the future and strength to love other persons with a life-enhancing love.
In our coming together to celebrate this basic reality of our religious experience, it is important for us not only to hear these words again, but also to ponder them reverently and gratefully, and treasure them in our hearts.
It is important for us to ask ourselves: Are we embracing the Good News of God's goodness at the deep center of our beings where we make our basic decisions about who we are and what we ought to be doing? Are we standing tall on this foundation stone of our faith or are we slipping and sliding on the shifting sands of other priorities.
In his book called "America on Six Rubles a Day," the comedian Yakov Smirnoff writes:
Coming from the Soviet Union, I was not prepared for the incredible variety of products available in American grocery stores. While on my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk -- you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice -- you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder -- I thought to myself, "What a country!"
Powdered milk and powdered orange juice and baby powder and fast food and fast cars and Compact Disc Players, IPods and PCs and designer clothes and fifty million dollar lotteries and all the rest -- what a country! But if that's all there is at the center of our lives -- what a shame! If our lives are based on the shifting sands of money and possessions and passing pleasures, we're in for a terrible letdown!
Let me hold lightly things of the earth; Transient treasures, what are they worth?
Let me hold lightly things that are mine -- Lord, let me hold tightly, all that is Thine!
A successful businessman who was looking for some answers in his life decided to spend some time reading Scripture. After he had read the Bible through, from cover to cover, he wrote these words:
It was the most exhilarating experience of my life. First, the creation story and what happened to Adam and Eve and Noah. And then the Patriarchs -- Abraham, Isaac, and Moses -- as God led the people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Then the word of the prophets, as the nation falls and rises again. Then the coming of Jesus, the forming of the Church, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Then on into the dreams of the future in the Book of Revelation.
From cover to cover there is one theme, and I felt it carrying me along like I was riding a wave. It is the goodness of God that the Scripture writers are telling us about, from beginning to end. It is the reality of who God is and how He acts and what He is doing -- in His goodness! This is the theme all the way through. And it has changed my life completely.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News about God. And so we have come to worship, and so we have come to celebrate, for,
The Lord our God is good! His mercy is forever sure. His truth at all times firmly stood, and shall from age to age endure.
The father of two daughters had just awakened in the morning. His wife was in the kitchen making breakfast. She turned to the two daughters and said, "Run upstairs and tell daddy that breakfast is ready." They both ran upstairs, but the older one outran her sister and was the first to reach dad who was sitting on the edge of the bed, straightening his tie. She jumped on daddy's knee, put her arms around daddy's neck and kissed him, saying, "Daddy breakfast is ready." Then her little sister arrived, puffing and panting and looking a bit crestfallen as she took in the situation. "I've got all there is of daddy," the big sister taunted. Whereupon, daddy looked lovingly at the younger daughter and held out his free arm -- and she ran into that arm and daddy put that arm all around her and hugged her. The little sister then looked up at her big sister and said, "You may have all there is of daddy, but daddy's got all there is of me!"
Sisters and brothers, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The good God who made you, wants you for His own. And when you treasure Him in your deepest heart, He's got all there is of you!