the one about our hearts and treasure...
August 12, 2019, 10:02 AM

Sermon from August 11, 2019

Text: Luke 12:32-40

Grace and peace to you from God our creator and our Lord and Savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

So, this morning we read one of Jesus’ most ‘mis-remembered’ sayings. I’ve heard people talk about this text countless times and have heard them switch up the two most important parts, and when you do that it truly changes how to interpret this text.

When recalling this text, some people seem to remember the phrasing of Jesus’ words to be, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.”

And that’s nice. Your treasure is in your heart. Such a wonderful sentiment. And it happens to many people – some you’d least expect. One of my good friends in seminary quoted this text in the incorrect way during his first preached sermon in our homiletics class. He was lovingly corrected, and he’s an awesome pastor in North Carolina now.

I think we mis-remember this text in that particular way, because that interpretation is easier to digest. We want to believe that our hearts are where our treasure is at. That innately we are good, righteous, and just people. That we are at our core loving, accepting, and forgiving people. That in our inner most being, we follow where God leads.

Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.

But, that’s not what the text says. No, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

That’s harder. That’s more difficult.

In this small part of our reading, Jesus is asking his disciples – Jesus is asking us – what are the things that you value? What sorts of things in your life do you give worth to? For whatever you give value and worth – that’s where your heart will be.

I think for us as Americans, this is a text that should rock us to our core. Because there are so many things that we value and assign worth to, that fly in the face of what our Lord calls us to do.

And we all fall victim to it, we all participate within it – even me. Perhaps even especially me.

We assign value and worth to so many clothes, shoes, gadgets, trinkets, and more. We clamor for the small and big things in our lives in such gluttonous ways not thinking about what it takes to bring those items to our lives.

Sure, we love the cool shoes and the fancy clothes we wear, and we probably know that they are made by small hands – perhaps children’s hands – and those who craft them are not given a fair living wage or working conditions – but, we like our clothes so we compartmentalize those thoughts and go on about our days.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We love our gadgets – I love my gadgets – I love entertainment. Yet, I and we watch and consume those things knowing full well many folks who have their hands in the creation of that product. Whether it be a phone, a movie, or a game are not paid adequately for their work.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We love our ways of life. We don’t like change. We don’t like to hear the cries, the fears, the stories of those around us who have lived a life different from our own. It’s hard to hear. They make us uncomfortable. Hearing the stories of those who seek shelter and safety. Hearing the stories of those who experience hurt, oppression, ridicule, and hate all because of where they come from, who they love, or what they look like.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jesus calls us to another way. Jesus states to his disciples and friends that they are to give up that which they are used to. Give to those in need. Sell what you own. Give trust and hope into the one who never wears out. Make your treasure in God – make your treasure in the way of God.

Be ready for action. Be ready to be sent. Be ready for the return of God.

Be ready as you stay up to make sure that others are cared for. Be ready as you live into the call to faith that Jesus invites us into. Be ready to be served by the one who will return.

I’m pretty certain that what Jesus tells us here is one of the most difficult things for us to hear as people of faith living in our part of the world today. It’s difficult, it makes us uneasy, we like to try to gloss over, speak around, or just flat out ignore what our Lord is telling us.

We also get upset when someone points it out.

Yet, here is what I know.

Jesus states that we should be alert for the return of the master. We should be at the ready, not knowing when that time will come.

The return of Jesus – the master, our Lord – isn’t a time of fearful fretting. Jesus paints a wonderful and beautiful picture of what that return will be like.

We’ve heard it been said that when Jesus returns, he’ll bring fire and brimstone. He’ll sit at the judgment seat and declare whether we’ve been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the eyes of God. Where we will face the consequences of what we’ve done.

We’ve been fed a picture of fear and gloom to ‘whip us’ into some sort of shape.

Yet, the words that Jesus speaks here is not one of foreboding or gloom. The ones who wait for the master don’t do so with apprehension and fear.

The master returns to serve them. That’s strange isn’t it? It isn’t what we expect. It really isn’t what we’ve been heard screamed from the rooftops and the street corners.

We are alert and ready for the return of the master who comes to sit us at the table and feast with us. That’s pretty amazing. That is the love of God.

We’ve been told that we need to ‘shape up’ because God is coming for us and that it won’t be good.

Yet, I’m here to say to you now. We are to be alert and ready, we are to be at work in the world in waiting hope of our God’s return. Caring for those in need, seeing where our lives are bringing hurt (whether intentional or not) to those around us and around the world and changing our ways. We are to see where our treasure is, because that is where our hearts will be. We do that not out of fear of what is to come.

But, we are alert and ready in anticipation and hope of the one who is to come. The one who sits us at the table. The one who fastens a belt around his waist. The one who models service and love to those all around. The one who invites us to care for others as God cares for the world. The one who stoops down to wash the feet of his friends. The one who serves those around him.

That’s the master we wait for.

That’s the one in whom we put our treasure and where our hearts will be found.

That’s the one who calls us to love and serve and be with those around us.

We wait yes, but we do so in action for others and in anticipation of the one who comes to serve.

We wait. We serve. The one coming loves us. Let us all live into the love that God shows the world. Amen.

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