Life's Two Bank Accounts
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where
moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where
thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart
will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear,
your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body
will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how
great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the
one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You
cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried
about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your
body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more
than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor
gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth
much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to
his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the
field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even
Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so
clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into
the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry
then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear
for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly
Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His
righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about
tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its
How are your investments going? Was the stock market up or down this week?
What interest rate do you have on your biggest loans? Is it true the owning your
own business means that you will never be unemployed again? If a person
beginning college studies were to ask you what career path he or she should take
to have a good future, what advice would you give him or her?
May I share an observation with you? If you have a lot of money or
possessions, it takes more time than you have to manage them. If you have a
little money and few possessions, it takes more time than you have to manage it.
If you have no money or possessions, the lack of money and possessions likely
consume your time and life as much as money and possessions consume the lives
and time of people who have both. It makes me wonder who serves whom: does money
serve us, or do we belong to money?
Life focuses on investments. Every person, man or woman, makes those
investments: some out of necessity and some out of choice. One of the biggest
questions every man and woman faces is this: in what are you investing?
- Centuries before Jesus was born into this world, God said these words to
second generation Israel through Moses:
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 All the commandments that I am
commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and
multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your
forefathers. You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led
you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing
you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments
or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you
did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand
that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that
proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
- Moses referred to an experience in their lives that happened when many
of them were children.
- Their parents had not yet reached Sinai.
- The parents were very dissatisfied with living in the wilderness and
stated their discontent.
- They had been in the harsh wilderness environment for a month and a
- They had dreams about all the good food they had in Egypt (like us,
they forgot the horrible things).
- They even said that the only reason they were in the wilderness was
for them to die of hunger.
- It was in that context that God provided them quail in the evening and
manna in the morning.
- The people to whom Moses spoke ate manna for 40 years!
- Manna began on that occasion at the middle of the second month after
their departure from Egypt.
- God's provision of manna ended about 40 years later when they
crossed the Jordan River, camped at Gilgal, were circumcised, kept the
Passover, and ate some of the produce of Canaan.
- In Moses' statement, quoted centuries later by Jesus (Matthew 4:4), I
find several things fascinating.
- God brought them to severe hunger and provided them manna for two
- First, to know if obedient trust was in their hearts.
- Second, to teach them that there was a greater issue in survival than
- Or, there is more to life than physical survival.
- Following God's guidance is more important than food.
- Food is terribly important to most of us!
- The issue: is spiritual survival really more important than physical
- Let me call your attention to Jesus' words in tonight's text.
- First, we need to establish a context.
- In the over-all context of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) my
conclusion is this: Jesus was contrasting God's concept of righteousness
in human existence with the Jewish concept of righteousness in human
existence (particularly the Pharisees' concept).
- The Pharisees would have said there was no difference in their view
and God's view.
- Jesus said there was an important, basic difference.
- Just before our text tonight, in Matthew 6, Jesus discussed the
importance of motives in righteous deeds.
- He used three accepted, common acts of righteousness in a Jewish
community: benevolence, prayer, fasting.
- Every devout Jew did all three things.
- Jesus even did all three things.
- However, Jesus point is seen in these two questions: Did you do
these things privately to cement your dependence on God? Or, did you do
these things noticeably to others to attract human attention to
- The primary issue is this: "What is the basic focus of your life?"
- How does a person determine the primary focus of his or her life?
- He or she determines it by looking at the way he or she invests life.
- Jesus said, "Do not invest yourself in physical things."
- Physical things are temporary and uncertain.
- Forces beyond your control can take your investment from you!
- Invest your life in eternal things!
- The eternal is permanent and is as certain as God Himself!
- God is in charge of that investment, and nothing can destroy
anything in God's possession.
- Jesus' basic truth: Our hearts belong to what is important to us!
- Jesus illustrates that truth in several ways.
- The importance of the eye's focus.
- The impossibility of serving more than one master.
- The realization of life's purpose--it is more than physical
survival: clothes, and food and drink.
- He declared some basic truths about God.
- God feeds the birds.
- God clothes the grass.
- God knows and understands our physical needs.
- He also made some statements about human limitation.
- People can change nothing by worry.
- Worry cannot make life longer.
- The godless let worry drive them in their pursuit of the physical.
- He also made some statements about focus.
- Put the rule of God above everything else in your life.
- Put your confidence in God when you face a physical need.
- Be righteous by God's standards and values.
- Take care of the present day rather than worrying about the future.
- I would be among the first to acknowledge that all of this is much
easier said than done.
- Tonight will be the last time that I, as a regular Sunday evening
responsibility, will have the joy and pleasure of sharing a lesson with you.
- I knew this moment was coming as soon as my physical condition was
- My physical condition declined very rapidly from July to late November
- From Thanksgiving until now the decline has been very slow.
- My primary issues remain the same.
- The basic cause degenerates very slowly now, but it degenerates.
- The shrinkage of my cerebellum cannot be treated.
- Basically all I can do is exercise sensibly and be carefully.
- I wish to thank Dena Jenkins and Rebecca Holloway (both trained in
speech therapy) for the volunteer help they have give me for months.
- In spite of Dena's commitments, she came to my office many Tuesday
mornings to assist me with my speech problems.
- Rebecca monitored me from the audience and gave me notes to help me be
aware of my specific problems.
- Even with their help, I could not improve the speech problems.
- Please listen to me very carefully--the last thing I want to do is start
- If you do not understand something I share with you, come ask me or
- No, I did not wish to stop preaching to you--I have done this all my
- Yet, I knew this was what I needed to do--it was not a matter of
desire, but a matter of necessity.
- I will continue full time on staff here until January 1, 2007.
- I will continue teaching the Wednesday night auditorium class until
the end of the summer.
- I will continue teaching my Sunday morning class indefinitely.
- A reassessment of (a) my physical condition and (b) the needs of this
congregation will be made in December of this year.
Joyce and I deeply appreciate your prayers, your encouragement, and your
[Now, one of our elders will speak to you.]
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 4 June 2006
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