Matthew 6:19, “19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Did you know we are all living in kingdoms? This is a little abstract, but right now we are all living in our personal kingdoms. We all have our own castles we call our homes; we have our own armies we call our bank accounts, right, make us feel strong; we have our own allies we call our friends, and we have our own “dragons” we call our careers, and today we are all living in our own personal kingdom.
When our homes are bigger, we feel stronger. When our bank accounts are growing we feel more secure. When our circle of friends is widening we feel more stable. When our careers are tamed, we feel more settled, like little personal kingdoms, and in verse 19 Jesus says, “As new people in Jesus you don’t want to build your life into a personal kingdom, because…look at verse 19…it is where moth and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal.”
Moths eat clothes, rust destroys metal, and thieves break in and steal, and it is because our personal kingdoms vulnerable?
Have you noticed there is always something to fix in your house? There is always something to improve, and the work is never done. It is because our houses, as strong as they might look, are fragile.
Have you noticed financial accounts are fragile? Stock market is up and down, conflict with China, conflict with North Korea, and something as simple as a tweet by our president sends a ripple. In verse 19 Jesus is reminding us our personal kingdoms are fragile.
Matthew 6:20, “20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal”
In verse 20 Jesus says, “But.” The word, “but” is to show contrast from verse 19 to verse 20. In verse 19 there is a command, “Do not” and in verse 20 there is a command, “Do” so that Jesus is calling all men, women, and children as His new people in His Kingdom to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
It means as Jesus new people in His Kingdom we want to hide, save, and build up treasures, not in our personal kingdoms that are vulnerable to moth and rust, but in Jesus’ Kingdom that is eternal.
Therefore, we need to ask, “How do we build into Jesus’ Eternal Kingdom on earth?” Throughout the Scriptures we see the New Testament authors introduce a concept known as biblical stewardship.
The word, “steward” comes from the Greek Word, “Oikonomos” and it means manager, or steward, and it is someone who doesn’t own the house, but manages the house.
A “biblical steward” is to practice oversight. A “biblical steward” is not the owner, but instead given responsibility by the owner to manage what ultimately belongs to the Lord.
The ability you have to make money is from the Lord. The ability you have to create is from the Lord. The ability you have to persevere through challenges is from the Lord.
The ability you have to take breath into your lungs is from the Lord, therefore, Jesus calls His new people in His Eternal Kingdom as biblical stewards, “Do not build your lives into little personal kingdoms where moth and rust destroy, but instead build your life into Jesus’ Eternal Kingdom on earth.
I know that is a little abstract to think about biblical stewardship, but I have landed on a simple grid that helps me make verse 20 tangible that came from a pastor named John Wesley from the 1700’s who described biblical stewardship under three headings:
- Give away as much as you can
- Save as much as you can
- Spend as much as you can
Therefore, we want to weigh Jesus’ words this morning so that one day we can look Jesus in the eye and with sincerity of heart and say, “Jesus, I tried to have as much fun with those resources as possible.”
And, at the same time, with a clear conscience we can say, “But, I didn’t just have fun!” This is where our culture is right now, “We are having fun!”
Our 60 year olds are living up retirement, our 40 years are reliving the 80’s, and our 20 years olds taking pictures of their food, but we don’t want just pour our lives into having fun.
We want to also save. We want to be like the wise ant. We want to be ready for emergencies. We want to avoid borrowing money. We want to be ready for the difficult seasons of life when they come.
And, at the same time, with a clear conscience we want to give away as much money as we can to proclaim the name of Jesus, push back darkness, and bring Him glory.