What We Watch, There Our Heart Will Be
What We Watch, There Our Heart Will Be Also Luke 12:32-40 August 11, 2019 Introduction – Review of Last Week Last week, we focused on the words of Jesus who taught us to be rich toward God. Being rich toward God means having an abundance of God’s love and hope in our lives. We covered three things Jesus said instructed us to do so we could move toward becoming rich toward God. • Do not worry – To worry in the sense Jesus described was to assume God is not involved in our lives. • Look for evidence of God’s creative power in the world. (awesome Spider web’s on Billy Maher) • Seek God’s kingdom meaning God’s leading, the activity and movement of God. If we sense God who is eternal, loves us, is active in this world, then we are rich with hope and purpose no matter what we face in this life. Today we’re going to continue with a second topic Jesus raised in this message he taught to his disciples and thousands of people who gathered to hear him. In his message, he also informed his followers they needed to be watchful for his return. As we read through this passage, notice what he says first to his listeners. Read 32-40 Context Keep in mind the message of Jesus was given at a time as Jesus was nearing his arrest, punishment and death. Bible scholars suspect this message came months, maybe weeks before the final days of his ministry. Therefore, Jesus began to expose his followers about a time in the future when he would return victorious over evil. Verses 32-34 New Treasure to Watch So just appreciate the progression of thought from Jesus in this portion of his message of verses 32-34. Before he moved to teaching about his return and the need for his followers to be ready, he gave a reality check for a new type of treasure his disciples should seek so the material things of this world are not the only focus of our hearts. One person said it like this. “When Jesus said where your treasure is there your heart is also, he was saying our hearts follow the money.” Randy Alcorn Notice there is no condemnation about having stuff; it is just our attitude toward stuff. One person said, the instruction of Jesus to “sell possessions, give alms, make purses that don’t wear out wear where no thief can steal” is another way Jesus is saying for us not to hold too tightly the things we can possess because what we watch, there will our hearts be also. Without specific examples, talking with symbols, Jesus encouraged his followers to lay up treasures in heaven. Meaning invest in what will last for eternity. Invest in what God cares about. Jesus said, “give alms” or be generous. We can fall into the trap of keeping the eyes of our heart focused more on what we own and possess; rather than the spiritual realities of life. Especially if there is fear and anxiety there will not be enough money and resources. I am reading a book that discusses what happens biologically to our bodies when we become afraid. One thing that happens during a heighten state of fear is our peripheral vision decreases and we only see what is in front of us. Perhaps the same can be said if we live with a constant sense of anxiety about a lack of financial resources and security. The apprehension consumes us to the point that all we see is the concern. This doesn’t only apply to those who have little; it also applies with those who have a comfortable amount of financial resources or more and especially if we confuse what we have with who we are and our value as a person. Illustration: You might recall hearing the story of Pastor George W. Truett. Truett, was a well-known pastor, and was invited to dinner in the home of a very wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area. Pointing to the oil wells punctuating the landscape, he boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, it’s all mine.” - Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of grain, he said, “That’s all mine.” - Turning east toward huge herds of cattle, he bragged, “They’re all mine.” - Then pointing to the west and a beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That too is all mine.” He paused, expecting Dr. Truett to compliment him on his great success. Truett, however, placing one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointing heavenward with the other, simply said, “How much do you have in that direction?” The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that.” (Our Daily Bread, October 24, 1992) Brian Bill The great founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley is said to have toured a vast estate with a proud plantation owner. They rode their horses for hours and saw only a fraction of the man’s property. At the end of the day they sat down to dinner. The plantation owner eagerly asked, “Well, Mr. Wesley, what do you think?” Wesley replied, “I think you’re going to have a hard time leaving all this.” Randy Alcorn, “The Treasure Principle”, pgs.40-41 It's no wonder Jesus said, “…Where your treasure is there you heart will be also.” v.34 When the Son of Man Returns Then, Jesus introduced the concept of his return. “You also must be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” V.40 Jesus moved the priority of attention/focus from material to spiritual. He moved the focus from the present to the future will of God. The language, “Son of Man coming at an unexpected hour” points to the final stage in time when God defeats evil and ushers in God’s rule on earth. No more climate-change controversy. No more mass shootings in malls or schools or anywhere else. No more political parties promising they have the answers and it will be different under their administrations. No more, Black vs. White, or any other racial and ethnic tension. The words of Jesus about this future hope are seen in passages like 2 Peter 3:13 states, “But in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens, and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” A part of me wants to dive into this topic. However, I just cannot because when I think of these passages that get me fired up to anticipate the return of Jesus to this world, I am also reminded of the words of Jesus himself who said, “No one knows about that day or that hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son of Man, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 The only thing we can do is take seriously that at any moment the very beginning of the return of Jesus could unfold. Perhaps many of you feel the time is ripe for the physical return of Jesus? • News about China and the threat of global instability. • Always unrest in the Middle East. • Growing awareness of asteroids coming close to the earth. • Mass-killings in the heartland of our country. Headlines such of these get linked with verses from the New Testament that talk about “wars and rumor of wars and signs in heavenly places.” But if Jesus doesn’t know when the hour will be for his return, I think the best way to find some relevance from a passage like this is to watch for less dramatic; but just as important ways he is showing up in life. Recently, I was reading from a book that belonged to Bill Bartlett entitled, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Donald Whitney. Whitney states, “God uses three primary catalyst for changing us. God uses circumstances, the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, serving, fasting and giving etc. and God uses people. (pp.13-14) Question for Application What if Jesus shows up in people and our circumstances and we are not prepared and our lack of prepared hearts then robs us of a chance to experience him and please him? Matthew 25 Jesus talks about judgment being based on how those who believe in Jesus treated the outcast of society and to pass by the suffering and the outcast is to pass by Jesus himself. Early on when the church was getting its legs under itself the requirements of faith were few; but one thing it included was to remember the poor. Galatians 2:10. But consider the passages of what Jesus said we’re to do to be ready for his return. 35-37 Jesus used an example his listeners would have understood. He drew on the celebration of a wedding. The ceremony of a wedding would begin at the home of the bride’s parents. The later half of the ceremony occurs when the groom brings his bride and guest to his home. The servants of the groom were to be ready for his return, no matter what time the groom arrived. My readings and impressions are there was no set schedule so the wedding party might return late at night or even in the early morning hours, 11:PM to 1:00 AM who knows? But the servants needed and really wanted to be ready for their master. First Jesus said, “Be dressed for action.” That’s the NRSV translation. We understand better the intent of the words of Jesus from translations like the NIV and NKJ which say, “Girded up your waist.” Men in the time of Jesus wore robes down to the ankle. To gird up your robe was to pull the robe up so you could do three things. If a man in would gird up or tie up his robe: he could fight, run or work. He was ready to serve. The second thing Jesus said was have your “lamps lit.” Be prepared with the source of light to see in the darkness. Application • There are times when living for Christ we have to fight the good fight of faith. • There are seasons when life is like a race and were running and we need to know when to treat life like a sprint and when to treat it like a marathon. • There are moments when life is sometimes work, it takes sacrifice for the meaningful things in life to be constructed, especially relationships to be built and maintained because they require the sacrifice of time, of love, and forgiveness. • Jesus said, “have your lamps lit” which could be symbolic of staying in the light of God’s truth, truth that especially comes through the wisdom of scripture. Personal application today is the best indicator how well we are watching for Jesus. I like to bring up ever- so - often a principle that I first heard from Pastor Kyle Idlemann. He has said, the greatest predictor of what you’re going to do in the future is what you are doing today. In other words, the greatest predictor whether you’re going to reach that goal to lose weight is seen in what you have done today to take care of your body. The greatest predictor you are going to become more organized, read more and watch less tv is what have you done today; not what we promise. The greatest predictor we’re ready for the return of Jesus no matter how he shows up, whether coming on clouds or in people and circumstances is whether we are servant followers ready to serve guided by the light of God’s truth. How we live today is the greatest predictor of whether were watching for Jesus; not our promises for what we plan about the future, not to pray more in the future. Word for the church Let’s also let a passage like this comfort us and motivate us to stay prepared for the hope of our ministry to gain traction. It’s the reason why our greeters continue to be prepared and ready to greet guest. It’s the reason why those who are involved in kids worship continue to be ready to provide worship even on Sundays we have no children. It’s the reason why a small group of us went to Faith Baptist this week to learn how they handle their kids worship time. To be ready means we are watching to respond to God’s leading and what we watch, there our hearts will be also.