Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 27 2020 - Matthew 6:1-24 – Lasting Treasure

We have been going through a time of real crisis with the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses have had to close down and many may not reopen. Many have been unable to do their work and now have a reduced income or no income at all. Some of us who have investments that are part of our pension have seen their value fall in a dramatic fashion. We may have thought that we had enough to last for the rest of our lives, but now we are no longer sure. We fear the loss of many of the things we had thought of as dependable and certain.

Some 42 years ago I had a motorbike which was my pride and joy. It was a Triumph 650, ex-police bike. I had customised it in various ways; it was my treasure. Our first child was born on the seventh of August 1978. On the following morning I got up to go and visit my wife and child in hospital only to find that my bike had been stolen – I never got it back. My initial reaction was one of deep anger and a sense of loss. But soon I began to feel that the Lord was teaching me an important lesson; I had lost my motorbike, but God had given me a precious daughter. People are more important than things. And the greatest treasure of all is to know, love and serve God. We need to safeguard our hearts against the false values that characterise the world in which we live.

Jesus teaches us to pray for “our daily bread”. Not to seek after the dangerous riches of this world but to be content with what we have and to learn what is truly “enough”. God’s world is being destroyed through the insatiable desire for more as well as through the current pandemic.

That is not to say that we should be indifferent to the injustices of our society. On the contrary, we need to challenge the distorted values of our world; money is not the measure of all things and economic growth is not to be our god. Instead of comparing our lot unfavourably with that of the super-rich, we need to recognise the plight of those in other parts of the world who are struggling to live on a dollar a day. We need to speak up for those whose voice is drowned out in the clamour for more trinkets. We need to work for a world in which people, made in the image of God, are valued rather than being seen as the disposable resources of an economic machine. We are to pray and work for a society that is marked by righteousness and a world that it nurtured and sustained rather than exploited and ravaged – a world where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus challenges us to examine our hearts and to question what we truly value. What are the things we long for and daydream about? What are the priorities in our lives – the things that actually shape the way we live and act? Perhaps this current crisis will teach us all to reassess the things that are of real and lasting value – family and friends; the beauty of the world around us; the unfailing faithfulness and love of God.

Heavenly Father, forgive us that we so often view this world as if it were ours to use and manipulate as we please. Help us to see that we are your creatures living in your world. Teach us to live in dependence upon you and to respect and care for one another and for the world which you have made. Keep us rejoicing in your daily goodness and trusting you for the days to come.

 

Peter Misselbrook