Our True Treasure

Sermon 1816 Luke 12.22-34 August 7, 2022

The run-up to the start of the school year leads to a lot of stress and anxiety. I have seen it on the faces of our teachers. Have they prepared enough? Are their classrooms ready? Was there anything they overlooked? I have experienced it as a parent. Can I get the kids up and out of the house on time? Did we get all the school supplies on their list? Is there something my dear scholar is forgetting to tell me until Monday morning at 7 am and Target doesn’t open until 8? Been there. Done that.

But why simply point to the start of the school year? Haven’t the past two years been filled with stress and anxiety? We’ve been asked to do everything but hold drills on what to do in case of nuclear attack!

As we wade through the daily flood of information it is easy to lose sight of what is important, what matters. Jesus tells us what to pay attention to. Our Lord tells us what is

Our True Treasure.

1. The kingdom of heaven is ours.

2. All else will be given us, too.

A man had tried to get Jesus to settle a dispute about the inheritance between him and his brother. Jesus refused—he wasn’t a probate judge. Let the appointed officials do their jobs. But it was a good opportunity to address something his followers wrestled with.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Do not be afraid, little flock, for you Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom (22-23, 32).”

The sinful human nature worries about these things—and a lot more. It has gotten to the point that (thanks to social media) we worry about missing out (FOMO—Fear of Missing Out). Look it up. It boils down to the idea that if you don’t grab it for yourself it will be gone and your life will be over.

Our bodies are simply hangers for clothes? We exist to ea?. Seems a little preposterous. If clothing and food were all important, we would have laws to protect them. But clothicide is not a crime, is it? No toddler will be hauled into jail for spinach abuse. The laws protect us, our bodies, our lives. If even the government recognizes that, what is wrong with us that we don’t see it?

“O you of little faith!” Jesus says. That’s the problem. How can we not see it? We do not trust God to do his thing.

Now remember, this is the Savior who is talking to us. He was sent to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of heaven. Because of Jesus people would know the way to eternal life with God was through faith in the forgiveness of sins offered by Jesus. The Savior was sent to create that way to the kingdom of God. By his perfectly holy life Jesus kept all the commands God had laid down for the human race to keep. He did not stand under God’s condemnation. By his innocent sufferings and death Jesus paid the price for all the times we had failed to keep God’s commands. Because he was the Son of God, his life was worthy enough to take away the sins of all the world. This is the one who is speaking to us. Jesus knows. “The Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” We are saved from our blindness. That’s our true treasure. The kingdom of heaven is ours.

So we make that a matter of importance in our life. We want to make sure the very youngest among us believe in Jesus and are part of his kingdom. We bring them to Jesus in Baptism, that the Holy Spirit will create faith in their hearts through the washing with the water and the Word. We are eager to get them to a Lutheran preschool and elementary school where Jesus is not just a slogan or an inspirational poster. We pray to him, worship him and learn from him every day. Everything he has taught us is important. We can pass over nothing because there is a polite agreement to disagree. In the lives of our children we want to see the fruits of faith, not the fruits of indifference.

We recognize what is good for our children is good for us. Many of our professions demand continuing education. We recognize the value of life-long learning. The same thing is true with the kingdom of God. Our true treasure is heaven and we want to learn more about it, what it is, how to get there, what impact it has on our daily life. Sunday School for all ages, weekly worship--it matters! We should riot if it were taken away.

Our true treasure. The kingdom of heaven is ours. All else will be given us, too.

God has a funny way of working. Once he has created faith in our hearts, he strengthens that faith, he keeps working on it. It isn’t done, done, check, check like some divine bucket list. God is never done with us.

To strengthen our faith and trust in him even more, Jesus points to the birds. They don’t have barns. They don’t have silos. John Deere doesn’t make crow tractors and raven harvesters. They fly around here and poke around there and get everything they need. God feeds them and the ones that perch by my peach tree, waiting for the fruit to ripen, God feeds them very well indeed! If God cares for the birds, won’t he much more take care of you and me? Aren’t we more valuable to him than crows?

Or look at the lilies of the field. What beautiful flowers they have! Such delicate petals and such vibrant colors! Giorgio Armani couldn’t come up with colors like that. Ralph Lauren never even tried to make a fabric that soft. And these are wild flowers growing in the fields. Today they grow and tomorrow they are cut down and used for tinder in a campfire. If God makes the effort to so clothe the flowers of the field, will he not make sure we have something to wear? How could we be so blind not to see that? How could we trust our Savior so little?

Don’t be like the pagans, Jesus says. Their whole life is spent on clothing, how to impress people, how to flaunt their wealth. Every thinking moment is devoted to what they will eat, rare delicacies from across the sea, new preparations for tried and true recipes. The richest of meats, the finest of wines. The wealthy Romans of old were so gluttonous they had special rooms in their mansions to expel the first few courses of a meal that they could continue to stuff their bellies with the remaining entrees and desert! They almost drained the waters off Naples of seafood. Don’t be like the pagans, Jesus says. They think it all depends upon them. You know better. It all depends on God.

So put his kingdom first and all these other things will be given to you as well. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. You will never go without.

King David once wrote, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread (Psalm 37.25).” The words of Jesus are true. Everything we need will be given us as well. Put the kingdom of God first. God will see to the rest.

Now, because the sinful human nature never listens to God’s Word, even though it claims to be the wisest teacher of the Word to never crack open a Bible, I must briefly handle three objections.

David is speaking generally. In times of famine or war, the righteous suffer as much earthly deprivation as the unbeliever. That’s why we want to remember our brothers and sisters in the Ukrainian Lutheran Church.

Secondly, God will give us everything we need to keep body and soul together. I didn’t need the big lottery prize last week, so God made sure I didn’t win it. I used my time for things more pleasant than waiting in line at Primm to throw money away. What I need, God will give me.

Finally, since I deserve none of these things and only receive them because of my good and merciful Father in heaven, I am happy and content with what he gives me. It is not tough. It is not torture. I am not seeking to be enrolled in the list of martyrs of the faith for the comfortable life God has given. I will make the most of it and treat it as if it were on loan to me from God, not as though I had earned or deserved it.

Our True Treasure

1. The kingdom of heaven is ours.

2. All else will be given us, too.

As the school bells ring tomorrow, teachers, students and parents will discover things weren’t as bad as they feared nor as good as they dreamed. It will be life. And the Lord who has given us eternal life, will make this life work out as well.

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