Monday Morning in the Preacher’s Study
First thoughts about next Sunday’s sermon
(12th Sunday after Pentecost, August 11, 2013)
Jesus follows last week’s parable of the rich man who wanted to build more and bigger barns with teaching skipped over by the Revised Common Lectionary in our in-course reading. We missed Jesus telling his disciples not to worry about their lives and comparing how God cares for the ravens who have neither storeroom or barn. Just before our pericope begins Jesus has said not to worry about what we eat and drink, “instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
This helps set the tone for Jesus telling us to look to the future not with fear, but with trust in God. We are to store treasure not in earthly barns but in the heavenly realm, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In this sentence, Jesus describes the way humans are hard wired to work. In some ideal world perhaps it might be, “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.” But that is not how life works for us. We don’t always live out even our deeply held values in ways noticeable to others. Jesus describes the truth that as we come to ascribe value, and store up that value, we direct our hearts.
When our faith in God as revealed in Jesus the Christ fails to provoke change in our daily lives, then we are probably storing up our treasure closer to home. As Verna Dozier succinctly put it, “The important question to ask is not, ‘What do you believe?’ but ‘What difference does it make that you believe?’” In the same book, The Dream of God, Dozier states, “The urgent task for us in the closing years of this turbulent century is to reclaim our identity as the people of God and live into our high calling as the baptized community.”
Claiming baptismal identity rings out to me through this text in which Jesus calls his disciples away from worry and into trust as they consider what they treasure. This call could not be more antithetical to a consumer economy driven by the anxiety that comes with a desire for more and better rather than lasting and true.
I know where I want my heart to be, but is that where I am really placing my treasure? What do I value? How do I show my values in my daily life? What difference does it make that I believe? This is what I am pondering as I journey toward Sunday.
Frank Logue is a member of the APLM Council having served previously as its secretary. He worked as a church planter, founding King of Peace, Kingsland, in the decade before his current call as Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Georgia.
Photo by Frank Logue.