Friday, February 15, 2008

Lenten Devotional: Day Nine, Friday Feb 15th "Treasure Chest"

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5-7
Devotional Emphasis: Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the greatest sermon ever preached. It definitely contains some of the most well known teachings of Jesus. Jesus begins this sermon by listing nine blessing we call “The beatitudes.” (Some scholars believe there are 8 beatitudes, the ninth being a summery.) He then introduces the theme and declares that he is not taking away from the law or the prophets, but fulfilling them. The body of the sermon really has three main points: (1) How to live out the law? (2) How to practice piety? (3) How to live our lives faithfully to God? Jesus ends the sermon by telling his listeners that if they obey his words it will be like building a house on a solid foundation.

After Jesus finishes telling his listeners how they could better practice some of the foundational aspects of the faith, namely alms giving, prayer, and fasting, he tells them they should not store up treasures on earth, but rather they should store up treasures in heaven. His reasoning for this is that treasures on earth will be destroyed or be stolen, but treasures in heaven will be had for the long haul. The thing we are aiming for determines where our heart lies. The heart in ancient Jewish thought controlled the emotions, so if the heart was corrupt, our actions would be corrupt. If we live our lives as if money if the most important thing, then it is money that we have our heart set on. Jesus is telling us that when this happens, we will simply be striving for something that eventually fades away.

CS Lewis once wrote that if we aim at things in earth, we will get nothing, but if we aim at things in heaven we would get earth thrown in. I think this is something like what Jesus had in mind. I believe it is only when we experience the love of God that all the other things we have and desire in life find their true meaning. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day in which we reflected on those most dear to us. The love we share with these persons by itself would never satisfy our desire to be loved, unless we understand these loves through the greatest love, the love that makes all loves possible, the love of God in Jesus Christ.

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