"You can't take it with you!"
We’ve heard the axiom so many times that we don't give it a second thought. We use it to remind ourselves, "Don't waste so much energy accumulating things that don’t last!" Or we encourage ourselves, "Go ahead and use it up now! Better enjoy it while you can! You can’t take it with you!”
But what if we can take it with us?
Jesus said if you store up for yourself treasures on earth, it's a bad investment. Thieves steal, economies collapse, things decay. He said it's better to store up for yourself treasures in heaven where those things don't happen.
But he said it's not just because it's a more reliable investment. He said the reason is because, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21 NIV)
The Christmas season is a good time to look at what you treasure most.
And before you look forward, look back over the year and see what you've invested your treasure in. I find two questions helpful.
We throw our money at a lot of things. Some of the things we spend our money on have no eternal value, or even have eternally negative value! And other things that we say we value just don't show up at all in what we spend our money on.
Usually the disparity is much more grey than paying for "sinful things" and neglecting "holy things." It's paying for lesser things and not being able to pay for better things.
Look back over this year to see where your heart was. In times of uncertainty we really see our hearts! How did you spend your money? Where did you invest your time? What stories did you tell about the things you appreciate and value? Did your cash flow tell the same stories?
Where you spend your time and money tells you where your heart is really invested.
What if you do take it with you?
We say, "You can't take it with you!" and Jesus says, "That's not true! You DO take it with you!"
He drove the point home with a very black-and-white statement. What if there's not as much wiggle room here as we think? He said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)
To be clear, how we spend our money doesn't determine whether we receive eternal life. We don't buy salvation. That's not our gospel. But what we spend our lives on does reveal how eagerly we are trusting and loving God in this life.
Many of us came to Christ knowing that we had racked up insurmountable "sin debt" by doing things that just shouldn't be done. But then we called out to God and he forgave us that debt! He wiped it clean!
When the Lord says, "Your sins are forgiven," it is the last word on sin. This is our gospel. All who turn to the Lord in repentance and faith will be saved. If you've done that, all your sins, your transgression, your debts, have been forgiven. Amen.
But the gospel is more than a debt relief program; it’s an investment that reaps eternal reward.
His last word on our sin becomes the first word on our love.
At the beginning of this Christmas season, consider how you are investing -- not just your money, but your life. And to speak of your life is to speak of whatever things you treasure.
Last week I sent a letter to everyone I could who has connected with SCC this year. In it I explained where we are financially and what is needed to break even this year. As pastor, I have that responsibility to let you know the church's year end needs. But honestly, my greatest desire is that you would be mature in your love and wise in how you invest your life. Because you ARE taking those things with you.
I've attached a copy of the letter below, with all the $$$ signs.
We'll take up a generosity offering as part of our worship this Sunday, but you can give anytime by clicking here. The principle laid out in scripture is that there would be equality in meeting the needs. And that's all I ask. Give in keeping with however God has blessed you.
Pastor of Sarasota Community Church since 2009.