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August 15, 2011 / Daniel

Where is your treasure? Matthew 6:19-24

In the second half of Matthew 6, Jesus turns his attention to our treasures and our worries.  There is obvious relationship between the two.   We store up treasures to guard against our worries.   “It never hurts to save for a rainy day.”   “Build a nest egg, ’cause you never know what might happen.”

However, Jesus warns us about storing up treasure here on earth.   Because treasures stored here in earth tend to be eaten away by moth and rust.  And then there’s thieves.   You never know when 2008 is going to hit and the stock market takes it all away.   Treasures on earth can disappear.  However, treasures stored up in heaven never disappear.

Sometimes it feels like Jesus is asking us to do something that is quite risky.  What if you invest everything in Jesus and his kingdom and it all turns out to be a fraud?   What if Jesus and his kingdom is just one big giant ponzi scheme?  Jesus tells his disciples,

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:25-26).

This is Pascal’s wager.   Everyone has to make a bet.  Will you give up something of finite value to gain something of infinite value?  Life here on earth won’t last forever.  Our treasures here on earth will disappear.  So, Jesus challenges us to go “all-in.”  To risk it all.

But betting on Jesus is a sure thing.  Why such confidence?  Because Jesus’ kingdom is an already, but not yet reality.  Easter morning was Day One of God’s new creation.  The kingdom has invaded this fallen world.  Resurrection has happened.  Jesus’ resurrection is the first of many.  There are more to come.   The already assures us of the not yet.

In v.21, Jesus adds, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  The location of our treasure is based on the identify of your master.  Therefore, Jesus concludes,

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Where you keep your treasure reveals where your loyalties lie.



Leave a Comment
  1. umbach6 / Aug 15 2011 4:30 am

    Good reminder. Is a sure bet really a gamble at all? I ran across a post yesterday from an atheist perspective on Pascal’s wage which was an interesting read –

  2. Daniel / Aug 15 2011 12:22 pm

    Thanks for commenting and for the link.

    The validity of Pascal’s wager has been questioned from time to time. The “which religion” objection is probably the best one. I’m not as concerned with the philosophical argument as much as the idea that following Jesus involves a risk (this present life). With any risk, there is a potential reward (the kingdom). I’m thinking of the Jim Elliot’s quote… “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

    What do you think? Do you like Pascal’s wager?

  3. umbach6 / Aug 15 2011 7:52 pm

    I really like Jim Elliot’s quote. The fact that he lived what he talk adds to the validity of his words. I think he also saw it not as a simple wager but something that must be done if one is to live the life we profess. A year ago I would say Pascal’s wager makes sense however now I think it misses the mark. I think it falls short of being able to give a reason for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter3.15). See also Paul’s approach in Athens to using the altar to the unknown god in Acts 17. He uses it as an in to preach the Gospel not to help them hedge their bets. I now see Pascal’s wager as being imprecise as it makes the Gospel seem as if there is a possibility that it is not true.

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