S2EP68 -Stor Up

Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 68 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to be talking about storage, or as I’ve so lovingly nicknamed the episode, “Stor Up”.

I don’t know if it’s true where you live but around the DFW metroplex, I have noticed an alarming number of storage unit facilities being built.  I say it’s alarming because in order to justify the building of these million-dollar facilities there has to be a demand for storage space, and in order for that demand to exist people have to own more things than they reasonably need, that they then need to store.  I understand that people may be moving into smaller spaces than they had before so they need the storage space while they figure out what to do with their stuff, but that can only account for a small percentage of people.  This whole thing is alarming because it’s a symptom of a larger, more destructive issue that has become a societal norm.

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke it is recorded that as Jesus was moving on from a time of ministry in Judea that a young man ran up, knelt in front of Him, and calling Him “good teacher” asked Jesus what good he had to do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus tells him what any rabbi worth their prayer cloth would, to keep the commandments.  The young man asks which ones to follow and Jesus starts listing the Ten Commandments.  But, in all three Gospels, before Jesus can finish the list, the young man insists that he’s kept all these commandments since he was young.  Jesus tells him that he’s still lacking in one thing.  The eager young man asks what he lacks.  Jesus tells him to go and sell everything he has and give the proceeds to the poor.  This will get him treasure in heaven and he can come and follow Jesus.  The young man leaves grieved because he had lots of stuff.

This wasn’t some new message that Jesus came up with on the fly when the young man approached Him.  Jesus had been teaching this same message for a while.  Matthew 6:19-20 CSB it says, “[19] Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. [20] But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Most of you hearing or reading this have probably heard that snippet of scripture so that’s not anything new to you any more than it was to those in Jesus' day.  What if though, and I know it’s a crazy concept.  What if we read the rest of what Jesus taught on the same topic, in that same passage?

Matthew 6:22-24 CSB, it says, “[22] The eye is the lamp of the whole body.  If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  [23] But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!”

OK, so we’re going to pause here for a second, we only got to verse 23, so we’ve got one more verse to go.  But, wow Jesus.  Is it really any wonder when Jesus starts talking like that, that folks stop at verse 21?  We’re gonna break down verses 22 and 23 before we move on to verse 24.  Because we can’t just throw out something crazy that sounds weird like that and not talk about it.  We can’t just gloss over that.

Anybody ever used a flashlight to see in the dark?  Where do you look?  Where do you focus your eyes?  In the light, right?  And then your body does what?  It follows your eyes into the path you’ve chosen with your eyes.  Jesus is talking about focus.  If you’re storing up treasure on Earth, that’s a huge red flag that your focus is here, not on God.  If you’re choosing temporary, Earthly, things as your focus then your whole worldview, your whole aspect on life, your decision making and ultimately your ministry as a Christian are focused on and around the things of this Earth and not God, not the eternal, not The Gospel.

But Pastor Bill, I don’t see what’s wrong with having my stuff and following God too.  Doesn’t God want me to be happy?  I mean I worked hard to get what I have, and I think God wants me to be a good steward of the things He’s given me.

Moving on to verse 24 of Matthew 6 CSB, “[24] No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”  The word for money that Matthew used to record Jesus teaching there, and the same word that Luke used in his record of this teaching is the word:

G3126 μαμμωνᾶς mammōnas mam-mo-nas' Of Chaldee origin (confidence, that is, figuratively wealth, personified); mammonas, that is, avarice (deified): - mammon.

Avarice – that is greed for wealth or material gain.  You cannot serve both God and self-confidence, you cannot serve both God and wealth, you cannot serve both God and material gain.  Americans, as well as more and more of the world, live in a society of consumers.  We want more and more, bigger and better.  We crave it right?  The new car, the bigger T.V., the newest phone model, the few more square feet in our homes, the largest churches with the biggest attendance and the most popular pastors.  It’s all vanity and idol worship.

Which leads us to Ecclesiastes.  As a rule, I generally refrain from referencing the book of Ecclesiastes.  As a matter of fact, out of 167 episodes of The Berean Manifesto, I think this will be the first time it’s been referenced.  The reason is because the book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon towards the end of his life while he’s in a bit of depression and taking stock of his life and all his mistakes.  Overall, the book teaches some good concepts, but it can be difficult for the average reader to glean the positive message amongst its pages.  So, it is with great trepidation that I call to your attention Ecclesiastes 4:6 CSB, “[6] Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.”  Let’s just take a beat and let that settle in, “Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.”

Jesus put it this way in Mark 8 and Matthew 16, “What would it cost for you to sell your soul?”  OK, so He didn’t exactly put it in those words, but if He had grown up anytime within the last one hundred years then that’s the way He would have said it.  Mark 8:34-38 CSB says, “[34] Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.  [35] For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.  [36] For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?  [37] What can anyone give in exchange for his life?  [38] For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

What would it cost for you to sell your soul?

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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