Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sermon Oct. 10-11, 2015

Title: Your treasure is in heaven!
Text: Mark 10:17-22

20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The body of David Livingstone was buried in England where he was born, but his heart was buried in the Africa he loved. At the foot of a tall tree in a small African village the natives dug a hole and placed in it, the heart of this man who they loved and respected. If your heart were to be buried in the place you loved most during life, where would it be? Would it be in your wallet; in an appropriate space down at the office; or maybe at the soccer field, or cottage, maybe up north; or even at the ballpark?

Where is your heart? Where is your treasure?

Source Unknown.

Your treasure is in heaven!

17 And as [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Isn’t that the question most ask? What must I do? What can I expect? What do you expect of me? We ask it in all aspects of life. We ask it of parents, at school, with friends, or groups of friends. We ask it as we grow older, at work, and at times we rail against those expectations. They expect too much. How can I measure up to that we think?

As a hockey fan I look forward to the Red Wings season. Some might say anything less than the Stanly Cup is a failure, even though the Wings have made the playoffs for 24 consecutive years. For some fans only achieving the ultimate prize … makes it a successful season. The Tigers are done and the Lions can’t even get started.

“Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The rich young man asks Jesus in our gospel lesson for today. As a rich young man he has achieved much success in his life.


To give you some perspective, how many of you know the name Dustin Moskovitz … No one? Well, he is the youngest billionaire in the world. On May 18th 2012 he became an instant billionaire. He was the third employee hired by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. He was in charge of their technology and instead of pay when they began; he received a 6% share of the company. In May of 2012 when Facebook went public he received over 5 billion dollars. He like the man in our gospel lesson today … at 27 … is a rich young man.

So Jesus asks first: “Why do you call me good? And tells him, No one is good except God alone.”

Jesus here sets the stage for what God requires. No one is good except God alone. But trying to go a bit deeper with this young man Jesus lays it out.

19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness [or] defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”

Jesus gives him half of the commandments. He says for a start, how do you do with these? And remember Jesus hasn’t asked him about the table of the law that deals with God.

You are to have no other Gods, do not misuse the name of the Lord your God and keep holy the Sabbath day.

Jesus just asks … how do you do with these interactions with your neighbor in the world? The rich young man answers:

“Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And I’m sure there are people who think that they measure up well. “I’m pretty good they think.”

Your treasure is not here but in heaven!

The Red wings pre-season record was 6-0 and 2 … six wins, no losses and two overtime losses. In the eyes of we who are fans that was an acceptable record. Their only losses were in overtime. If they win the Stanly Cup, we as Red Wing fans would rejoice!

But perfection for God is so much more than what we as fans expect. Winning the Stanly cup would be great but perfection in the Lord’s eyes requires no mistakes, no goals against, no injuries, no penalties, no overtime - in fact the other team can’t possess the puck at all - because if they have the puck you’ve missed the mark by not having the it. No missed shots because every shot has to go in the net.

That’s perfection. That’s impossible, you might say … and it is.

Even Miguel Cabrera, the rich young batting champion from the Detroit Tigers makes an out almost 7 out of every ten times he comes to the plate and we revere him as super human with the bat when our God would require 10 hits out of 10 at plate appearances.

That’s perfection. That’s impossible, you might say … and it is.

Your treasure is in heaven!

Jesus loved this young man so it may seem a bit funny what he says next.

“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

You only lack one thing. It’s your stuff. Jesus say, “Sell it all and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven!”

22 Disheartened [by what Jesus had said to him], he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Your treasure is in heaven!

The other part of the law, the part about this man’s relationship between his stuff … and his God … has now come to light.

He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

It is not sinful to have stuff … as long as your stuff doesn’t have you I heard a pastor once say.


In 1978 I bought a bike, a Schwinn Varsity. It’s hung in my garage for the last 30 years. I pulled it down to ride a bit and get a bit of exercise. The tires were original and at 37 years old well dry rotted, so I bought tires and tubes and fixed the bike. I got enthused about biking and as can happen started looking and reading about bikes.

I never thought that my bike was too heavy, but when I found a like new 1977 Schwinn Le Tour that was only 30 pounds rather than the 40 pounds of my Varsity I bought it. After all it was only $100.00 and was a beautiful pearl orange and looked and rode like new. Monica asked why I needed another bike after I just fixed up mine … and being 25% lighter just wasn’t cutting it.

So, as good fortune would have it, a beautiful Trek bike, which is a very high quality American made brand, came on the market for $100.00 and it was right here in Waterford. I just had to take a look ... didn’t I? The 25 year old owner had lost interest in biking after taking up drums so I asked him, “Would you take $80.00 for it?” Well, to my surprise he did.
Now, I didn’t need the Trek bike but it was in such nice shape and at the very least I thought, I could sell it in the spring for more if … I wanted to.

When Monica saw the bright red Trek bike she said, “Another one?” You see, this one was lighter too at only 23 pounds and it was a really good deal … but she didn’t seem very interested in hearing about it.

And … I won’t even tell you about the Ladies Schwinn Le Tour I found for $20.00 and fixed up for my daughter Amy. My son told me … “I don’t need a bike dad.”

“Stop looking in the classifieds!” was my wife’s suggestion for what she thought was my bike problem.

Where is your treasure?

“Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Others have asked that question too. When Jesus had fed the multitude and they followed him and said:

28  “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God … that you believe in him whom he has sent.”  John 6:28-29

[They were seeking him, not because they saw the signs Christ did, but because they ate their fill of the loaves.] Jesus said to them, 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, the wealth and things of this life but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. John 6:27

The possessions we have, the work we do, and the things we treasure … the bikes in the garage … will not measure up in God’s eyes. It is after all already his and it has been given to you … and how you use it … can certainly benefit those in need, physically and spiritually.

There is nothing to be earned, because it has all been given. There is nothing to do, because it has all been done. Because of Christ, the good teacher, you have received God’s favor. Not for what you have or what you have done but because of what Christ has done for you.

The treasures on earth pale in comparison to the treasure God has in heaven for you.

Jesus says, come, follow me!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


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