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In this life, we can easily get distracted by money, and even be mastered by it. David Marvin walks through Jesus' teaching on having a right perspective of money in Matthew 6:19-24. He encourages us to store our treasures in the right place, to see with the right perspective, and to serve the Lord by investing eternally.
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Good morning. My name is David Marvin. I have the privilege of working with young adults on Tuesday nights at The Porch, and I am jumping in to hang with you guys this morning. I'm going to start our time by asking a question and then telling a story based on that. Is anyone engaged in here right now? Loud and proud. There you go. That's an awkward way for all the serious dating couples…
Here's my favorite part of engagement. I promise this is going somewhere. If you're engaged right now, you'll know what I'm talking about. When you're engaged, you get to do something called the gift registry. The gift registry was, by far, my favorite part of being engaged…along with having a fiancée and the commitment of a lifelong marriage.
The gift registry, if you've never been engaged, and if you didn't do this back then, is something we did, at least, where you go and register at different department stores. We went to Target; Bed, Bath, and Beyond; and a couple of other places my wife would know. You register for the things (how great is this) you would like other people to buy for you. You're not going to purchase them. You want other people to buy them for you.
If you're engaged, you're probably going through this. We went through this, and I'll tell you about my specific scenario and our experience that will lead to where we're going. We're engaged, and we go to Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We begin to go through the process of registering, which is further awesome, because they've added a laser gun to this, so it's like Nintendo Duck Hunt. You go around the store, and you shoot the things you want. It's awesome.
We're at Target shooting the things we want, and it doesn't take me long to realize, "Man, we have very different perspectives on how we should use this opportunity to get free stuff." I know, it should go without saying, but it was like, "We are totally not on the same page." My wife's name is Calli, and she's really practical.
She's like, "Okay, we need plates. We're going to need something to eat on. We're going to need silverware, cooking utensils, and glasses." I'm like, "We don't need any of that stuff. We should register for a big-screen TV. We should get this remote-control helicopter. Can we add…" This is a true story "…a La-Z-Boy? Can we register for this? Who knows? Someone may buy it!"
She's like, "No, we need to have things to eat on." I'm like, "We can use paper plates. It'll be fine." We're going back and forth. We have very different perspectives on this. In fact, part of me was also like, "Let's just get the most expensive things on there, and we'll take it all back and get the money. It'll be great." That's so terrible.
We came at it from very different perspectives. Thank goodness my wife won (story of my life). I'm kidding. She won, so we ended up getting the plates, and we didn't get the helicopter. How tragic would that have been when, three months in, we would have been like, "Why did we get this drone? We have nothing to eat on."
She won, thank goodness. We got the plates, and it didn't end up costing us like it would have if we took my perspective on this opportunity to get stuff. It would have cost us. The reason I start there is because, in the same way, today, we're going to explore Jesus' teaching as it relates to our opportunity in this life to get stuff.
He's going to say if you come at it with the wrong perspective that is not what God would want you to have, one toward getting stuff and using this life to acquire stuff, much like a husband who would say, "Let's get the helicopter, the big-screen TV, and the chair," would look up and be like, "What was I thinking? This cost me," he says if you use life as the opportunity to get stuff, and you have the wrong view, it's going to cost you now and in eternity.
We're going to explore what Jesus has to say about that. If you write notes, we're going to dive into the topics of money, stuff, and eternity. If you are here for the first time, and you're like, "The church is always talking about money," first, keep coming. I think you'd be surprised how seldom that's talked about. One of the reasons we do feel like we need to talk about it is because Jesus talks about it so much. Around 15 percent of everything he said, more than heaven and hell combined, was about money. Today, we're going to explore and look at why that is.
The last thing I'd say is, if you're like I would feel if I were in your shoes, like, "This starving pastor is going to tell me how I need to handle my money? Who do you think you are, buddy?" we're not going to look at that. My financial advice would be a very short message. It'd be like, "Mutual funds, I think, seem safe. I don't really know." We're going to look at what God says, from the Scripture, about how you and I are to have the right perspective and how we should handle his money, not hearing from me how you should handle your money.
We're going to be in Matthew 6. If you have a Bible, you can open it up to Matthew 6 as we explore the Sermon on the Mount. I was asked to teach on anything in the Sermon on the Mount. I was choosing between money and anxiety, and I was like, "Money is my biggest anxiety."
I like shiny things, and I live in Dallas, like many of you (and our friends in Fort Worth). Lord, teach us all. I am with you on this. This is not an area of my life where I am like, "Let me tell you, I have this figured out." We are in this together. If you, like me, like shiny, new things, Jesus has some words for us.
We're going to start in Matthew 6:19. The context is that Jesus teaches this idea during the Sermon on the Mount. It's Jesus' first sermon. He shows up on the scene and launches into a message with all kinds of topics. We're going to hone in and zoom in on the words he says relating to money.
1._ Storing in the right place._ We'll start in verse 19. If you have a Bible, you can open there. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
Jesus gives us our first idea. He says, "Look, very practically, as it relates to your time, money, and the opportunity life gives you to get stuff, don't spend it and focus it on getting things in just this life. Don't become the person who's going to get more and more and more stuff. A newer car, a nicer car, another car, a bigger house, more clothes, new shoes, another purse… Don't be that person," Jesus says.
I love what he says, because it's so practical. "Is it because God hates stuff, Jesus? Is that why you don't want us to invest and use all of our time, money, and energy toward getting more stuff? Is it because God's anti-stuff?" No. God made stuff. He's not anti-stuff.
Jesus is essentially giving investment advice, saying, "It's just a bad investment if that's all you invest in." If, every dollar you take, you only use it toward building up your kingdom or getting more treasure in this life, at the end of your life, you have invested in only depreciating assets that will all break down and go away.
I'm explaining that because I think we read this part about storing up treasure like, "Who stores up treasure? Who even has treasure? What are we, pirates? What are you talking about?" His point is, the idea of storing treasure in our context would be spending and living a lifestyle that is devoted to getting more and more and more stuff. Jesus practically says, "Don't dive into the rat race. The rest of Dallas, really, America, is all about getting more and more and more. It's just going to break down. If you only invest in things around here, they're only going to break down."
We know this, right? It goes without saying that if all you invest in are things around here, the things you invest in are only going to fall apart, and they're going to need to be replaced. There are industries built around the reality that things just break down. Does anyone work in tech support? That whole industry is like, "Yeah, I'm on hold again. My TV stopped working."
Things break down, and Jesus says, "Don't orient your life around building up this kingdom and treasure here. Instead, invest in a better place." He's just giving investment advice. That better place is heaven. He's not just talking about money here. He's not like, "Cut checks." He's saying, "I want your perspective, the focus you have in this life, to not just be about getting more stuff here. Store it up in a place where there is no danger of ever losing it."
Every single dollar you invest in heaven is eternally secure. All he's doing is putting his financial advisor hat on and telling us, "Strictly from an investment strategy perspective, if all you invest in is this life and this world, at the end of your life, whoever dies with the most stuff still dies with no stuff to take with them."
Jesus would say that every part of your bank account and financial scenario is an opportunity for all of us to invest eternally and receive either an eternal reward or an opportunity we will lose forever. It will be forever gained or forever lost. He says, "Invest in my kingdom." You can go read it later, but in Matthew 29, Jesus says, "For anything you invest in my kingdom, you will receive a return of a hundred fold and greater." How crazy is that? "Anything you give toward me, you will receive a hundred fold, in this life and the next. Invest in my kingdom."
Investing here is a bad strategy. I'm not angry at you. It's just a bad place if that's all you invest in. It wouldn't be dissimilar… I mean, Jesus essentially says he knows where the market is going, so to speak, and he's giving insider trading information. That's illegal in this world. #MarthaStewart, who went to jail over insider trading. He's saying, "In this life, it's illegal. In the kingdom to come, I'm giving you insider information." Invest in this eternal stock. It will go well for you, because it's not illegal in that world to come.
It would be almost like if we could get in a time machine and go back to younger versions of ourselves (maybe non-existent versions of yourselves, for those of us who are young in the room). It's like if you could go back to the early 90s in a time machine and talk to friends who may be investing in different stocks. If they were like, "I'm buying $1,000 in stock in Enron,"
"Hey, you do not want to do that."
"No, it's bulletproof. Are you kidding me? It's Enron. It's the energy business. There's literally a town built around it called Houston. This thing is a safe bet. It's $15 a share, and we're buying $1,000…"
You try to explain, "Hey, you want to invest in something called Apple."
"What? No. They have that Macintosh computer. It's all colorful and weird. That's crazy, and it's 93 cents. From the market standpoint, you're crazy. I'm buying Enron."
You know what would have happened if we watched the progression. Even though Enron would go up for a little bit, eventually, because of scandal (if you're too young and missed that whole story), Enron disappeared. Literally, $1,000 in Enron stock from 1993 is worth nothing today. You have total loss. If you had invested $1,000 in Apple, it would be worth $3 million today.
In the same way, Jesus is saying, "One day, you are going to see that every single financial decision you made either was one you invested in my kingdom for eternity, which will grow and grow, or you will be like someone who invested in Enron and have total loss to show for it. Invest in my kingdom." He's giving us investment advice.
I think we're not even aware, honestly, of how good at storing up in this life we really are. There's a friend who came to our staff who was a missionary from Hungary. He has relationships with a lot of our staff, so he's visited us a couple of times. One time, it had been around 10 years since he had visited. The Hungarian missionary came back here to visit our staff.
We were asking him a lot of questions, and one of the questions he got asked, and I'll never forget this, was, "What has changed the most about Dallas? You've been gone 10 years. What has changed the most?" He goes, "The storage buildings." All of us are like, "What? Did that get lost in translation with the Hungarian accent? What did he just say? Storage buildings?"
He says, "Yeah, the self-storage buildings. They're everywhere." All of us on staff had the same experience. We were like, "What are you talking about? They're not everywhere." Now, watch. As you drive around today, from this moment, you're going to be like, "These things are everywhere." This is a true story. Yesterday I was driving with my wife, and in the same 300 yards there are two of them.
We have so much stuff. We're experts without even realizing it. We have so much stuff we don't have room in our huge houses. We have to find another little house just to put this stuff in. In the same way, without even realizing it until an outsider came in and said, "Dallas, you're really good at this. You have a lot," I think a lot of us feel like we don't have a lot, until Jesus comes or the perspective gets changed, and you go, "Look how much I have."
Jesus says don't devote your life toward storing more and more. You're going to need a car and clothes. You may not need an infinite number of clothes, shoes, purses, and cars. Don't store and waste it here, because it'll be forever lost. He doesn't just say that. Now we'll look at the second idea Jesus introduces.
2._ Seeing with the right perspective._ He says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Is he saying if I put treasure in a storage unit, my heart is there? What does that mean? If I put treasure in heaven through building God's kingdom, my heart is there? Jesus is basically saying wherever you focus on building, your kingdom or God's kingdom, if your focus is on earth or heaven, your heart is going to follow after that.
When the Bible uses the word heart, it's synonymous with the control center of your life. Jesus would say out of the overflow of a man's heart his mouth speaks, and he lives. Solomon said guard your heart, because you live from your heart. The heart is essentially all of your desires. You live from your heart.
Jesus said wherever you prioritize building a kingdom, whether that's trying to build your kingdom and get a new house, a bigger car, and a nicer vacation… If you do that here on earth, your focus, your desires, and all you think about is going to be here on earth. If you do that in heaven, your focus is going to follow, and the direction of your life will be all focused on those things as well.
He's talking about the focus and orientation of your life. Wherever you build your kingdom or decide to invest your finances and money, your life, time, and desires are going to move in that direction, because the control center, the heart, the steering wheel of your life will follow.
That idea makes sense of why he goes where he goes next with the eye. It takes a little bit of a right turn, almost, where you're like, "Okay, treasure, heaven, the heart…" and Jesus is like, "While we're on the subject, let's talk about your eye." It's like, "We weren't on that subject, Jesus," but we were, because of the idea of focus.
Verse 22: "The eye [your vision or view] is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light." If your perspective is right as it relates to money, everything will follow after that and be right or healthy as well. "But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness." If you have an unhealthy lens through which you see the world, your life is going to follow with it. "If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"
Jesus just said if you and I don't see clearly as it relates to money, it's going to impact way more than just the amount in your bank account. It's going to impact your anxiety, and really, your whole life. You're going to spend your life running in the wrong direction unless you can get this one thing right and see it with an eternal perspective.
That's our second idea: Seeing with the right perspective, which is an eternal perspective. If you can do that, Jesus says everything will follow and move in the right direction. I think the challenge is we live in a world that is constantly feeding us lies about the idea of money. Dallas is one of the most materialistic cities on our planet, and the idea that you need more or a newer upgrade, to get paid and get more, is fed every single day from every single direction.
Jesus says not to allow the view of culture to infiltrate your mind. The world around you is saying, "That car has 100,000 miles on it. Are you serious? You need to change, upgrade, or trade in. You guys are living in that house? Yeah, everyone has their own bedroom, but come on. You need to change, upgrade, or get bigger." Don't allow the world's perspective on money to infiltrate or lead you astray, because it will lead the rest of your life to follow it.
I know that in seasons, and maybe even right now, my vision on money is blurred and off. The funny thing about money is, if your vision is blurred… I'll say it this way. One of the ways I think we're blurred in Dallas is even the idea of how rich we are. Do you know what I mean? The thing about money is it's intoxicating. You can't really see how rich you are.
Someone who's intoxicated is like, "No, I'm not drunk." In the same way, with money, you're like, "No, I'm not rich. There are rich people. There's Donald Trump and Mark Cuban, but then there's little old me." The reality is most of us in the room are rich. You are rich, and so am I, relatively speaking. Not thinking we're rich is symptomatic of blurred vision.
I'll say it this way. If you make $32,000 a year, you are in the top one percent of wage earners in the world. If you went to a movie this past month, you have disposable income, and you are rich. If you have a cell phone, you are loaded. If you have a car… There are around 700 million cars in the world. Most of us have two. There are around 8 billion people in the world. Think about that. That's crazy. You are loaded if you have a car.
You see this when you go to third-world countries. If you go on a short-term discipleship trip with us, and you try to explain your life to them, they're like, "What?" You're like, "Yeah, I was at my house, and the thermostat…"
"What's a thermostat?"
"It's this thing that lets you control the temperature."
"You can control the temperature in your home? Oh, my gosh, what else?"
"We have running water…"
"You have water that comes right in?"
"Yeah, I mean, we can make it hot or cold."
"You can control the water in your house?"
"Wait a second. What else?"
"We have a car."
"You have a car? We've heard of cars. That's amazing."
"Yeah, we actually have two."
"Yeah, they stay in our garage."
"What is a garage?"
"It's kind of like this house for our cars."
"You have a house for your cars? What?"
"Yeah, it's really hot in Texas. The leather turns lava hot. You have to have it."
"You have leather? Oh, my gosh."
You're like, "Man, as much as I don't feel rich, the reality is I am, and my hunch is I'm not alone." The minister may not be the richest in the… Anyway, we'll keep moving. It's true, you are too. That was my way of saying, "And so are you." It's true.
Jesus says, "I'm not angry at you, and I don't want you to feel guilty. I want you to feel grateful and be generous. I want to move you toward investing in the kingdom that will come. I want to give you some of the best financial advice you're going to hear. Don't store it up here. I want you to see clearly and with the right perspective."
I know it's intoxicating the more you have, and I can honestly feel it in my own heart with money. I'll say this to illustrate the idea that the more you have, the more you want. I remember when I first got called to come work at Watermark as a part-time intern. I was in grad school, straight out of college, and they were like, "We're going to pay you $10,000 a year."
I remember thinking, "Oh, my gosh. What am I going to do with all that money? This is unbelievable. Ten thousand ones? I could just spread them out, one by one. Do you know how far that would go?" In my mind, I was like, "I wonder if they're going to give me a suitcase with cash inside or what's going to happen. I'm going to be bathing in $10,000."
I feel like the more I make, the more I want. I make more than that now, and I'm like, "I need more money." When I think about leaving ministry, honestly, the thing that has the greatest pull on my heart, the reason I've been tempted to leave, is not because of the challenges ministry brings. Ministry is hard. Hard conversations. There is all kinds of stuff can wear on you, but it wouldn't be that. It wouldn't be like, "Oh, you have to work on Sunday, even during football season. That's not fun." It wouldn't be that.
It's money. I'm like, "I need more money." Honestly, I look at people and I'm like, "I need more money. I need a bigger house. I have a house, but I need a bigger house. I have a car, but I need a newer car." I feel it in the text that Jesus is saying, "If you spend your life chasing and getting more and more stuff, David, it'll never be enough. There will never be enough money for you. You think money is the solution to your problem, David, and it's not. You have a heart problem."
Money will never be enough, but Jesus whispers to me, and, I think, to you, "I will be." Jesus is enough, and if he's not enough for you right now no matter how much you make, David, he won't be enough no matter how much more you make. He can be enough. He is enough, more than enough.
I think a lot of us think our problem is a money problem, but Jesus says it's a heart problem. It's a perspective problem. You have a messed-up lens, and it has led you into making decisions and keeping up with the Joneses in Dallas, and it's moved everything off-track. Don't fall for the lie.
3._ Serving the right person._ Jesus continues and tells us not only how we're to see with the right perspective, but how we are to serve the right person. He says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." What are we talking about? "You cannot serve both God and money."
The word he uses is translated money, but it's really the word mammon. The reason I'm explaining that is it includes money, but it's not just money. It's the word for the god of stuff. He personifies wealth. He's the stuff god. You will either serve your stuff and money, or you're going to serve God.
Again, I think it comes back to perspective. The person who is mastered by God says, "God, all of my money, everything I have, is yours. I'm yours. Everything is on loan from you. My car, my income and the interest from it… Everything I have is yours, God. You own everything. What would you have me do? You're my Master, and I'll do whatever the Master says." That person is mastered by God. He says you're either going to be that, or you will be mastered by your stuff.
I think what's hard about being mastered by stuff, in my experience, is it's hard for me to see in the mirror. It doesn't come like, "Yes, Stuff. Here, master, tell me what to do." It comes in the form of saying, "I'm my master. This is my money. I can cut God a little check, but I'm the person responsible for this. I'm my master. If I want to go there, I go there. If I want to drive that, I drive that."
Jesus says, "You're mastered by your stuff, and at the end of the day, you have to choose whether you'll be mastered by God, because everything is his, or by yourself, which is really another way of saying your stuff." You can see the mindset in the way we think about all kinds of different things.
It's not hard to see the power of someone being ruled by money. Does that make sense? We see it all the time. Think about the power money has over people's lives and what they'll do for money. People get married for money. You're entering into marriage, and really, it's about money. One of the most common reasons people get divorced is over money problems.
My greatest anxiety is money-related. It controls our emotions. You go, "Man, wow. Money does have power over people's lives." People stay in jobs where they never get to see their families to finance a lifestyle they got into through money. They've put golden handcuffs on themselves. "I can't ever see my kids because I'm too busy providing money for my kids."
Money has so much power over our lives. Even the idea of how we can be owned by stuff. Somebody said in preparing this week, "Anything you can't give away, you don't own. It owns you. Anything you can't do without, you don't own. You're owned." Jesus says, "Are you going to see yourself as your own master or see the One who is truly the Master, who owns it all?"
Our curriculum for Moneywise included some ideas of the differing mindsets between these two, regarding how a servant of money looks, as it relates to big categories in money, and how a servant of God looks, as it relates to income. All this was stolen from Moneywise, which is a class we have here that's excellent, if I can encourage you to take it.
As it relates to income, what does a servant of money do? They go, "Scoreboard! I got a raise. Holla at your boy, I'm going to Vegas! Let's do this," or any version of that. They say, "I worked hard and got a raise. That's how this happened." A servant of God, as it relates to their income, says, "I just got a raise, a bonus. God, you've entrusted me with more. I have more that I will be responsible for. What would you have me do with this?" They're very different perspectives.
As it relates to spending, a servant of money says, "If I have it in the bank, I buy. If I think I'm going to have it in the bank in a month, I do something called credit." A servant of God, as it relates to spending, says, "Lord, is this what you would have me buy? This is all your money. What would you have me buy?"
As it relates to saving, a servant of money says, "Save, save, save more. You want to climb that thing as high as you can. You want a security net, a safety blanket." The servant of God says, "Lord, what would you have me save? I don't want to find my security or confidence in money." What about giving? This one is so convicting from whoever wrote this stuff. A servant of money says, "How much do you want me to give, God?" They still give. A servant of God, as it relates to giving, says, "God, how much do you want me to keep? It's all yours."
For me, the application this week was looking at it and going, "Whose kingdom am I serving? Whose kingdom am I going to spend my life building? Is it going to be God's or is it going to be, honestly, my own? In what place am I going to spend my life devoted toward building up treasure? How am I doing that now?" Not just seeing it as cutting God some, but really saying, "Lord, all of it is yours. Help me to be generous. Help me to be increasingly someone who stores up treasure in heaven."
Let me remove this insecurity, because I feel it, and I'm sure people in the room do. As it relates to church and money, I know there's all kinds of baggage in the room, so if you're hearing right now that the church always wants your money, don't give your money here. If you can find another place that is making disciples, and you're like, "They're kingdom-minded, and they're making an impact in this world. I'm going to give over there," that's great. Do that.
I think this is one of the best places, if not the best, you can invest eternally. I believe that with all of my heart, but I want to remove that off the table so that, honestly, you don't hide behind that excuse. "Ahh, I'm not giving to the church." Don't give it here. Give it to some other organization where they are making disciples. There are a lot of them out there. We encourage you to do some, but quit hiding behind that smoke screen.
Jesus says, "Whose kingdom are you going to build into? Who are you going to invest in?" I think this church is one of the best kingdom-minded groups of people you can give to, but I don't want to allow you to be like, "Ahh, the church is just…" Give it to Compassion. Give it to the missions stuff that's going on in Rwanda through some Watermark partner ministries, but don't hide behind that and be like, "I'm just not going to do it."
Whose kingdom are you going to build? Where are you going to spend your life building up treasure? For me, it was just about asking the question of, "Lord, will you help me? I feel this tug." Honestly, I feel, as much as anything in my world, the thing that most distracts me from my relationship with God, from what matters most in this life, is money.
For me, evaluating and applying this message this week was going, "God, will you continue to take ground and help me? I don't want to spend the rest of my life chasing after little pieces of green paper with dead presidents on them, Lord. Will you help me?" That's what it is.
When you see it from the eternal perspective, heaven is looking down, going, "Are you serious? You're allowing a bunch of stuff to distract you from the true treasure of all existence, Jesus? Whose kingdom are you building? Are you going to build up your own kingdom here that's honestly like a sand castle on the beach that will be swept away, or are you going to invest in the only kingdom that will last?"
At the end of any registry (if you've ever filled one out or gone to buy a gift for someone off their registry), when you fill it out, there's this list that's put together. On the list is everything the couple selected as stuff they wanted to get through this opportunity. It's funny, because in doing so, when you look at someone's registry, you see what they value. You see, "Oh, huh. Interesting. I wouldn't have picked that. Matching pajamas? Interesting… They wanted us to buy that."
You see the things they value as a couple. In the same way, the Bible teaches that, in life, all of us are putting together this eternal registry. At the end, through all of the purchases, through how we see, and through the perspective we apply, as it relates to getting stuff in this life, there'll be a moment when we get to see, from heaven's perspective, the list of everything you purchased. It shows you what you value. How we use money in this life shows who and what we treasure most.
Will it be my comfort, my own experience, and myself, or will it be Jesus? How you use money not only showcases what you value (yourself or your Savior), but the tragedy of money is it has the ability to distract us like nothing else from the true treasure, which is not a bunch of stuff. The true treasure of life is not a bunch of things. It's a person named Jesus.
That's a treasure of all existence, all ages, and all life. In the registry scenario, we registered, we got married, and we got a bunch of things. Our friends were really kind and generous, and we were opening the gifts, and it was awesome. We got the spatula, and the plates, and things that were good.
In that scenario, if I allowed the stuff to distract me, I would have missed the true treasure of marriage, which is not a toaster, but a person, a wife. Does that make sense? No one would be like, "Oh, the true treasure is you get all this stuff that comes along." No one should get married because they're like, "I need a toaster. Who wants to get married?" That's a terrible idea. The treasure of marriage is a person. For me, that's my wife, Calli.
I think, from heaven's perspective, as foolish as it would be to see someone who's distracted from the treasure of marriage (their wife) because of the stuff, like a toaster… She's like, "Do you want to go to bed?" and I'm like, "No, I'm going to keep playing with the popcorn maker a little bit more." If that happened, you'd be like, "What is wrong with you? Your wife is the true treasure of marriage. You're allowing the stuff to distract you from the true treasure, which is a person."
In the same way, one day, I believe with all of my heart, we're going to see clearly that the true treasure of life, of existence, is not things. It's a person. His name is Jesus. You can golf-clap for that or do whatever you want, but listen on this. Like nothing else in this life, money has the ability to distract you and me from the true treasure, the only treasure, and one day, we're going to see from heaven's perspective that he's always been the treasure.
Have you ever thought about this? Even in eternity, there's one treasure. His name is Jesus. Are you thinking about this? I'll close here. If you go read Revelation 21 tonight, you can read how the apostle John, Jesus' best friend, is given this perspective, this vision of heaven, and he gets to see what it's like.
He begins to describe heaven, and he begins to tell us about the building materials. He tells us what heaven is made of. He's like, "Yeah, the asphalt is this see-through gold that you walk around on. The drywall is made of emeralds and pearls." He uses this metaphor to say of everything we value in life, in heaven, they're building materials. It'd be like the floors were made out of dollar bills, and there were Louis Vuitton walls. That's what it would be like.
He's saying, "One day you're going to see clearly, and everything you value will be pushed aside to make way for the true treasure, Jesus." You can read this later, and I'm not totally sure why this is, but even the building materials are see-through. You say, "Why are they see-through, John? You're saying the floor is gold, but you see through it. It's crazy. Why are they see-through?"
I don't know, but here would be my hunch. In this life, I can get so focused on gold or treasure that I don't see Jesus, but in heaven, there will be no ability to miss out on the true treasure. Everything we think is valuable will say, "Don't stare at me. Look through me. Look at the true treasure. His name is Jesus." You're going to see he's the treasure in this life, and in the life to come.
One day you and I are going to see it clearly, and please, Lord, will you help us, will you help me, to not spend the rest of our lives chasing and building our own kingdoms. Even now, would we be able to see through things and worship the God who's not against you having possessions, but who doesn't want your possessions to have you.
He doesn't want your possessions. He wants you to have a perspective. He's like, "I'm God, what am I going to do with a Tahoe? I just don't want it to own you." Like nothing else, it distracts. Will you take away the power of money from our perspective? The true treasure is not things but a person named Jesus.
We're going to have an entire team down front here. If you don't know that true treasure… If you heard in this message, "Give us your money," that would make me really sad. I'm saying to give your life to Jesus, the true treasure. If you've never known and met that God, he's the God who loves generous givers because he's a generous giver, who said, "How much do I love you? How generous am I? I will die in your place." The first step you need to take is not examining whose kingdom you're building, but what eternity awaits you if you look with an eternal perspective.
For those of us who do know Jesus, the invitation for all of us is to go, "Whose kingdom am I going to build? Where am I going to store treasure, Lord? How am I going to see this life, and who am I going to serve?" I pray we would serve the King who died and served us. Let me pray, and we'll close in song.
Father, thank you that you're a God whose generosity goes well beyond anything we could ever do. No matter how generous we are in this room, the most generous person is you. In that matchless generosity, you gave your life for us. Would we surrender not just our time, our money, and our stuff, but our lives to you, Lord?
Would you direct us and help us to serve your kingdom before ours? Help us to build into your kingdom. Help us to see with an eternal perspective. Thank you, Lord, that you love us and you're generous, regardless of where we are. Would you help us, free us, and free my heart from the deceitfulness of money? We love you. Thank you for Jesus. Amen.
Any time you buy something, you get a proof of purchase, a receipt, or something that proves it. If you are in the room, and you do not know the God who has stepped into human existence, who came to die, who gives meaning to all of life, and who is the true treasure named Jesus, the first step comes with accepting the purchase he made on the cross.
Just like with proof of purchase, there will come a day when, regardless of what you believe, you're going to stand before the King of Kings, named Jesus. With arms spread wide, he will show the proof of purchase. "You can look at the scars on my hands. This is how much I love you. This is how generous I am."
For you, the first step will be accepting and trusting in that God, not in what you do. The good actions you've attempted to put in your repertoire in your life to appease God will never work. It begins by accepting what Jesus did on the cross, his purchase for you. If you don't know that God, we'll have an entire team down here who would love to talk to you. It's the primary reason we have a team gather at the front of the stage.
If you do know that God, to all of us going forward and doing what so many of you do so well… We have the most generous body. It's not the most rich body. There's a difference between rich and generous. You can be generous and have a lot of money or not have much money.
So many of you do this so well, so for those of you who do, thank you for inspiring and encouraging me and so many others. For all of us going, "Whose kingdom are we going to build, Lord?" would you help us to build yours? We love you, and we love you guys. Go have a great week of worship. That's it.