Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In the name of Jesus, dear friends in Christ, how important is safety to you? How important is it that you are secure, that your family is secure, that your things are secure? We lock our doors when we leave our home so that our things are secure from theft. We keep our money securely in a bank where it is protected. We have passwords that only we know so that only we can access our online accounts. We keep our vehicles in garages to keep them safe from hail and other weather. We purchase life insurance so our loved ones will be ok if something happened to us.
You see, when we treasure something, when something is important to us, when we value something, we want it to be secure, we want to protect it, and when it’s secure we have peace, if it isn’t secure, we worry and are concerned.
Today, Jesus teaches us that we have a treasure and it’s secure, but the more that we know that, the more that we appreciate that, the more that we appropriate that to our hearts and lives, the more ready we will be to sell and to serve. So, I want to look with you at first the security that we have that leads to selling and serving. Security, selling, serving.
First, security. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Jesus was first speaking to his disciples, but this applies to all of Jesus’ disciples throughout time. It’s always a “little flock.” God’s people are never really the majority, never really predominant force, but a “little flock.” Jesus said, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and few find it.” The only gate to heaven is through Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” God’s people are always a little flock. And knowing that can lead to fear and discouragement, right? Fear in the smallness of their number, fear in the quantity of enemies that surround us, fear because of a sense of weakness and difficulties that may face us all around.
But what does Jesus do? He calms all our fears with one little sentence: “Do not be afraid, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” We’re afraid when something that we value is threatened. What happens if you leave on a trip and suddenly remember that you didn’t lock the door of your house? Or what happens when you suddenly remember that you left your car unlocked in the parking lot and left your purse or wallet in it? There’s fear or worry, right? But what about far more important that those things – heaven! Is that in jeopardy? Can that be taken from us?
Yes, in this world we may lose all kinds of things, we may lose our house, our job, our finances, our friends, our family, our stuff, and knowing that could fill us with all kinds of fear as we think about life. But what does Jesus say? “Do not be afraid.” Why not? “Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” It’s kind of like time travel. Not traveling into the future, but God takes the future glory of His Kingdom and gives it to you now! You see, when God does his wonderful thing and brings you to faith, either through baptism or through the Word, He makes you a part of His eternal kingdom. Right now! Notice the tense, it’s past tense, you’re already an heir of eternal life, right now! Not unwillingly, grudgingly, or coldly, but God the Father was pleased, was delighted, was overjoyed, to send His own Son who already fulfilled God’s perfect will in your place and mine, who already took every ounce of your punishment for your sins on the cross and paid for them in full, who already has declared you to be righteous and forgiven and holy and innocent in His sight. Because of that you have an eternal home in glory awaiting you after this short life is over. The kingdom is already yours. No matter what happens, you know that you have an eternal kingdom awaiting you in heaven. “An inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4) That’s security!
And that security leads to a radical new view of the stuff of this world: selling. What does Jesus tell us next? “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What’s His point here? Are we to sell everything that we have and give it to the poor? Well, every action begins first in the heart. So what heart, what attitude, what mindset is Jesus illustrating here? If I know that I already have an eternal kingdom of glory awaiting me in heaven, if I know that I already have everything that I need in Christ and that He cares for me, my attitude toward my earthly stuff changes, it’s no longer the prime motivation for my existence, it’s no longer the thing that keeps me going, rather, my attitude towards stuff becomes selling and giving. Why? Because my true treasure doesn’t rest in the things of this life, but in the things of the next life: heaven.
But Jesus knows how wayward our hearts can so easily become. The things of this life can always become a snare to our hearts when we treasure the things of this world more than what we have stored up for us in heaven. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If my treasure is stuff in this world, then my desires, my plans, my thoughts, my actions, my time will be directed to those things. But if my treasure is in heaven, my first priority is going to be using what I have to secure heavenly treasures, knowing Christ more and making Him known in my life more. Those are true treasures. Anything in this life is subject to being lost, to having moths eat it or thieves steal it, but you have a secure treasure in heaven and knowing that means I can sell.
And lastly the secure treasure I have in heaven leads to a life of service. This is the last section that Jesus talks about. He’s using a picture from a Jewish marriage. What would happen is that the groom would lead a procession to the whom of his bride and bring her back to his house for the celebration. The servants had to be ready, dressed, and with their lamps burning if it was late at night so the groom wouldn’t come back to a dark house. And the master could arrive at any time so it was important that the servants would be prepared and ready and doing what they were supposed to be doing.
So, Jesus tells us, the Son of man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Jesus will come again, what will He find when He returns? Are we doing what He wants us to be doing? Are we sleeping on the job? Are we focused on the wrong things? Are we storing up the wrong treasure? Are we busy doing our own thing rather than living as God’s people? Are we diligent in hearing God’s Word regularly? Are we serving our Savior with our lives? Being His representative, His ambassador, His witness in the way we conduct ourselves at our job? In the way that we serve Christ in our marriage? In the way we interact with our families and spend our leisure time? Jesus says that he could return at any moment? Are we ready? Are we the servants whose master finds them ready?
Who of us here could ever say that we’ve always been ready, always been prepared for Jesus’ return? We can’t. So, what’s the answer? Try harder? Be more diligent? No. It’s reviewing where we began. It’s remembering what we already have. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” You see, if we have a problem with treasuring earthly stuff and not having an attitude that’s ready to sell it or we have a problem with not being ready for Jesus’ return, we need to remember the gospel. Jesus has already won you a kingdom in heaven that’s far greater and more glorious than anything in this world that we could compare it to. Jesus, by His grace, by His blood shed on the cross made you His treasure and has already given you an eternal treasure. Don’t set your sights so low as to keep them on this life, set them on Jesus and the Kingdom He has won for you.
There’s one neat and shocking detail that I skipped over. When Jesus is telling about the wedding banquet, did you notice the end of verse 37? “Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline a the table and will come and wait on them.” This is shocking! The Master comes and typically the servants serve him, but not here! Here Jesus, the King of heaven and earth says He will serve and give us the feast of all eternity. Is that not pure grace? We deserve only judgment forever, but Jesus says He’s going serve us at the feast of all feasts in eternal life!
That’s your treasure! So, where’s your treasure? Are you worried and afraid about the security of your things? You’ll always be worried and concerned if your treasure is here in this world. Rather, store up for yourself a treasure in heaven that will never fail, no moth will destroy or no thief steal. Why not? Because it’s secure. And knowing that it’s already secure be ready to sell your stuff and be ready to serve because the Master is coming and He’s coming to take you home to the eternal feast of feasts. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.