Saturday Sermon: Where your treasure is
By Ben Sheeran
Greek mythology tells the story of the king of Phrygia who did a good deed for one of the minor gods.
As a reward, he could have whatever he wanted. Because the king came from humble roots, and the kingdom was impoverished, the king desired unlimited wealth. He wanted the ability to turn anything he touched into gold.
At first, this was a great trick. A worthless branch with a touch of his finger would turn into a priceless piece of art. Common apples became comparable to those presented to the queen of the gods, Hera, on her wedding day.
But the price of the gift soon became apparent. When he sat at the table, the chair became gold. He picked up a goblet, and to his delight it turned to the precious metal. As he tried to drink the contents, they solidified. He could not eat, but he could afford to lose a few pounds. His beloved daughter ran into his arms, but before he could stop her she turned into a golden statue.
The familiar story of Midas has a similar moral to that of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21. When he was blessed with a good crop, he replaced his barns with larger ones and looked forward to a life of ease. However, that night he died, and all of his earthly plans were worthless in the afterlife.
There is a common axiom, "there are no U-Hauls following a hearse." Since this is the case, "How shall we then live?" Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:19, "Do not store up your treasures here on earth where it can be destroyed by moth or rust or even be stolen. Rather, store your treasure in heaven, where it cannot be ruined or stolen. For, where your treasure is, there is your heart."
Currently, there is a commercial of a dog that is worried about a safe place to keep his bone. This is the nature of this passage. Earthly treasures can be ruined, lost, or stolen. But what are those treasures that are eternal?
Relationships with God and man are what are everlasting. The police findings of a famous actor who was shot, stabbed, poisoned, and drowned simply read, "some people deserve to die."
Our relations with companions are a means of writing our own obituary.
"He sure could whistle," was the only good thing the preacher could say at one funeral. Many positive ones can easily supersede these negative examples.
Those who were not blessed with earthly riches but gave all of themselves to those in need are common. Matthew 25:35 tells of the true measure of this, "I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me water, I was a stranger and you brought me in, I needed clothes and you provided for me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me ... whenever you do this for the least of my brothers, you do it for me."
The Bible is a record of God's desire for a relationship with mankind. It begins with the creation and the Garden of Eden and it's climax is the Cross and Resurrection. But that is not the end, for God continues to desire a personal relationship with his greatest creation.
The various houses of worship are a tribute to mankind's desire for a relationship with God. They are a place of divine and human fellowship.
The Rev. Dr. Benjamin W. Sheeran, D.Mn., is a retired pastor.