Wednesday 30th January
Matthew 6:21, Mark 10:17-29
In the last devotion we discussed Jeremiah’s account of Israel’s imminent captivity to the Babylonians. We looked at the warning that was issued of serving worthless, lifeless and pointless pagan idols. They were told to remember God even in a foreign land. Today’s lesson takes a different stance on worthless idols and bring it’s much closer to home. Jesus, in many of His teachings, referred to the importance of guarding your heart with righteousness. When the heart is corrupt the whole body becomes corrupt. A crack in the wall can easily be painted over but after time the consequence of neglecting its maintenance will show and the true state of the wall will ultimately reveal itself and could end up as a costly repair. So it is with our lives; we can so easily gloss over the issues in our hearts, but when the true testing of your character comes, then your heart condition reveals itself. We learn of a man like this in Mark chapter 10.
On His way to Jerusalem Jesus gets stopped by a man who drops at His feet. The man questions Jesus as to how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus replies by listing six of the Ten Commandments. Interestingly Jesus only names the commandments that have to do with self and others!! The man boldly states that he had kept these commandments since he was young. Jesus compassionately replies that he still lacked one thing. He then tells him to go and sell all his has, give the money to the poor and then come back and follow Jesus. However this proved one step too much for this man, for he had a great wealth, so he left Jesus saddened by His words. What was it that this man lacked??
Jesus in Matthew 6:21, talks of building your treasure on this earth. Ultimately it won’t last. Rust, thieves and moths will come, steal and destroy it. He concludes with the statement “that where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus here is not saying that you can’t be rich but rather highlighting the danger of putting money at the forefront of your life. This is much the same as the man found in Mark 10. You could commend him for keeping the six commandments Jesus listed. Yet the ones he didn’t keep were the problem, they were the crack revealing his true heart. The first two commandments Jesus didn’t list are “Love the Lord God with all your heart having no other gods before Him” and “Do not bow down or worship any false idols”. Now we come to the essence of Jesus’ message. Have no gods before the true living God and no idols in your life. We asked the question what did the man lack?? The answer is simple. His money was his god, his idol. The sad thing is, is that he valued a worthless, perishable wealth greater than that of a priceless and everlasting life in the presence of Almighty God. He was grieved and saddened in his heart because he missed the point of what Jesus was saying. His treasure was in the wrong place. His heart’s desire was corrupted by the love of wealth and materialism.
Jesus in verse 21 actually says that if he sold his possessions and gave his wealth to the poor, then God would reward him with treasure in Heaven. What he forgot to realise is that his wealth on this earth was temporary, yet the treasure Jesus promised (although maybe not gold or silver) was eternal. Where does the your treasure lie? In worthless idols or in a worthy God?