A Reflection on Matthew 6:19-24
One of the blessings of serving as a pastor in the same place for decades is that I get to know some great people pretty well. And there are times when the memories of saints that I have encountered enrich my soul. One such saint was Dr. Fred Lenfesty.
Dr. Lenfesty was a member of our congregation for decades. He taught the Harriett Thompson Sunday School class for over 20 years. He served on boards and committees in our church. He faithfully attended our early worship service up until just a few months before his death. And Fred always had something worthwhile to add to any conversation. Among the things I miss about Dr. Lenfesty are his comments in line after worship. With his wonderful smile, Fred would often shake my hand and say “You really told them today, preacher.” That regular tongue-in-cheek comment was a set-up of sorts for the other times when Fred would come through the line, and in response to the day’s sermon and scripture would comment, “Now you’ve gone from preachin’ to meddlin’.” Sometimes the scriptures do that. They hit a little too close to home.
In the part of the Sermon on the Mount that we find in today’s scripture, I think Jesus goes from preachin’ to meddlin.’
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. …..
24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth
How can the words of Jesus so easily jump over twenty centuries and speak so plainly to me in my daily life? How did Jesus know that I spend much of my energy “collecting” things? In the sacred realm, I have a few dozen nativity sets and scores of crosses. On the secular side, I have a drawer full of pocket knives, a chest full of ink pens, and more cars than I can easily park in the driveway. Having these things brings me a strange sense of pleasure, and yet things can tend to be controlling.
As Jesus is meddling in my life, he makes me ask if I spend too much of my time and talents on these treasures? Do I worry about the thieves stealing my stuff, or the rust ruining my rewards? If so, is it worth it?
I guess each day is an exercise in investing wisely in the things that truly should be treasured.
Show me how to use the money that is at my disposal, so that You are the true center of the things I truly treasure. Let my heart find its home in seeking You each day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.