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For Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also

by HW in HI

based on Mat. 6:1-6, 16-21

What powerful words. We only have to hear them to know that we’ve fallen short of the glory of God.

Right now, in my family, we are looking at buying a house. And when I hear the words, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” I imagine myself getting confused, and thinking that my treasure is in having a nice house..

Or I’ll give you an even better example. A friend of mine on Oahu, Joe Carr, is running the Alpha Bible study for his Episcopal church in Kaneohe. I don’t envy him running it. What I envy is that he’s getting 100 people on a week night to show up, week after week, to learn the word of God. And I am forced to ask myself, “Do I treasure building up a church so others will see it and think, “What a fine pastor!” or do I treasure serving God faithfully whatever the circumstances?

Lent is a good time to ask ourselves, “Where is my treasure?” An honest answer will always show us how we can go about improving our spiritual lives, how we can go about opening ourselves to God’s presence in our lives.

Do we treasure our house? Maybe. Is that really where we want our hearts to be? Do we treasure fine jewels or paintings? Perhaps we treasure our cars or our trucks? Our books? Our music? How about our computers? Perhaps we treasure our jobs. Maybe we treasure our toys, a new dress, a cool computer game.

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Today we enter the season of Lent. A time for us to think about where it is we’ve stored up our treasure. A time for us to think about storing up a bit of treasure in heaven, instead of our usual place.

Lent is traditionally a time of prayer, of fasting and of almsgiving. The purpose is not so we can say, “See how I pray!” Or “Look at me, I’m fasting.” Or “ Wow, I’m giving up dessert so I can give food to the hungry.” When we pray, and fast and give alms it has everything to do with our relationship with God, and not so much to do with other people seeing what great Christians we are. Jesus said, when you do these things, don’t do them so you can make a big deal about it all, but do them secretly so your Father in heaven will know.

In a little bit we will put ashes on our foreheads, as a way of starting Lent, and reminding ourselves that we need to pay attention to just where it is that we put our treasure. And it has everything to do with changing where we put our treasure. The point is not so that everyone we see will know we are Christians observing Lent. In fact, this morning you will find a box of tissue at the door of the church. Feel free to wipe off the ashes as you leave:

Jesus said, “Whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”