(Originally written 29 March 2020)
Good Sunday morning, believers and non-believers alike. As this continues to unfold, I want to change tone every week at this time to one of faith.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt. 6:19-21)
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it.” (Mt. 13:44-46).
The word “treasure” in the first verse comes from the word that we translate “tithe.” The word “tithe” has become about giving to churches, and that means money. I’d like to suggest to you that what Christ was saying here should not be reduced to that, nor should it only be considered in terms of intangible things, like time, effort, and helping others. All of those things are nice, but they are not the point in themselves.
The word appears again in Matthew 13, referring to something greater – “the kingdom.” Jesus is asking us to “tithe the kingdom.” Our money, our talent, our effort, and anything else we give to others is meaningless unless it ultimately points back to the Kingdom. Yes, all of those things help others in the here and now, but the here and now is just a fleeting image of the eternal. No matter how great we make this world, it still eventually dies. All that will remain is the Kingdom.
All of the things we are being asked to do right now (or not do) are annoying, to be sure. I really feel sorry for all the extroverts . It is annoying to sacrifice things that we like to do, freedoms that we like to have. Today, take a moment and ask yourselves – “Am I tithing the Kingdom to others, or am I just losing things?” “Do I socially-distance with anger and a sense of injustice, or do I take this opportunity to show the patience and perseverance of Christ?”
Christians, you have found something that is more valuable than anything else – how are you giving it away every day, even to those that will not see it as valuable at all?
Situations like this should make every one of us, no matter our beliefs, ask where are “treasure” is. I hope you will have the courage to ask that question of yourselves.
Have a great Sunday.