32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35 “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he[a] would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
As we’ve discussed, the gospels say a lot about the Kingdom of God, or God’s Presence. It is in our midst, its embodiment is deep and abiding relationship with ourselves, one another, with and through God. In so many ways, we cannot see or hear the Kingdom if we are not striving for authentic relationship with each other, ourselves, and God. It’s all one thread that weaves throughout life.
This morning, our text says that God is giving us God’s Presence, this is our treasure if you will.
Now, when I see that word treasure, I think of maps with an “X” on them marking a treasure chest.
As a kid, I would romp around on our family’s property. We had about 7 acres and 4 of those acres were woods…our property also was connected to my Uncle’s property, which was also about 7 acres. Beyond that, we had probably dozens, if not hundreds of acres around us with woods, streams, hills, and even small lakes. Our neighbors were also pretty friendly, so adventuring throughout the woods was like an escape into a kid’s imagination with pirates, Robin Hood, and so many other stories made up.
Also, in those woods, my dad would host our church’s youth group in the fall every year. We’d have a big hayride that would end up in a clearing in those woods with a huge bonfire where we’d sing songs, cook hot dogs and marshmallows, and play games on the edges, in the dark…but, that bonfire always called us back towards seeing one another and give us a sense of presence…magical nights!
Later, as an adult, I enjoyed going through those woods, not only remembering, but finding other treasures as those woods kept on pulling me in. I had to have a watchful eye, ear, and open heart to receive the gifts of those woods.
God’s Kingdom, our treasure, the Presence of God…keeps on pulling us in towards new treasures within and without…it’s in our midst, all around us, pulling us towards each other and God…finding the gift of the joy of being connected with each other and God’s purposes in our lives together and with God. But, again, we have to be on the watch to see that treasure.
And, God’s Kingdom, our treasure, is about putting material possessions in their proper place, which is a place of not holding on too tightly.
As we talked about in previous weeks, we can’t take our material possessions with us, and that’s not God’s economy or measurement of wealth. God values relationship, that’s what gives the energy for creating, saving, sustaining…that’s the treasure.
So many times, we hold on to material treasure, but Jesus is saying that we are called to share it, to be give it away. To bless the poor and one another. Why? Well, certainly to meet needs, but also to empty ourselves of possessions that keep us separated from one another. It’s also meant to say that if we bless others, take care of them as best we can, we can then have the joy of entering into relationship with them.
God’s kingdom treasure is about taking away barriers that may keep us from embracing others, ourselves, and God. God’s Kingdom treasure has much more to do with our becoming fully human as we were created to be in the first place.
When we are able to love and share freely with others, to move from transactional relationships to truly transformational relationships, we experience joy and purpose. When we invest in others, that is a deposit of treasure that cannot be destroyed. However, as our scripture says, we can let thieves in that steal away that joy…we listen to voices that are divisive, mean spirited, anxious, and lead us towards a sense of deep selfishness and even a loss of self.
Jesus tells us this morning to take stock on where our treasure lies…if it is with things that pull us apart, then we will be fragmented and produce nothing good and cause us to be in states of deep separation from one another, but if it’s on the Kingdom of God, then it will bring unity, peace, and bear good fruit that blesses others.
We must be on watch for the Kingdom of God in our midst. God’s desire is to give us God’s self, it brings God pleasure to be with us. We are given purses that don’t wear out… God’s presence is with us, holding us in tension and in beautiful ways.
We are called to be aware of God’s presence around us, to keep our lamps lit in the darkness in order to recognize when God, the master of the banquet laid out before us arrives. This master is hosting an amazing gathering for us, wanting us to have glimpses of love and grace…wanting us to be awake, alive to the wonderful work of becoming more human in the way of Jesus.
Jesus also warns us to be on the watch for the leaven of the Pharisees, the substance that they want to give us, the substance of control and scarcity, leads us to a misunderstanding of God’s purpose. God does not simply desire piety from us, God desires live, abundant life. The leaven that God offers fills us, nourishes us, makes us come alive. There is a thief that comes to steal from us the fullness of God’s presence in our lives, God’s joy and revelry in who we are in our humanity, yet Jesus comes to make us aware and to live in the present moment with God and others.
In this parable, there are three things to be aware of:
- The master provides for this who have eyes to see, who have been faithful with keeping their lamps lit…those who want to see.
- Jesus calls us to be vigilant.
- Jesus wants to reveal to us the nature of what it means to be truly human as God
Friends, let us keep watch for God’s actions on our behalf through Jesus, let us see that God’s leaven is Jesus…and Jesus’ body, Jesus’ life nourishes us…let us also remember that Jesus poured life into us, giving us the courage to live as the truest humans we can be…it takes time and practice, but this action reminds us of Jesus’ coming to us to call us into being the people we were created to be, the people we’ve always wanted to be