Transcription details: Audio 07 15 2018 (1).mp3
Input sound file: Audio 07 15 2018 (1).mp3
is the wrong road. Once upon a time, there was a very wealthy man. He called his three closest friends and he said to them, “I’ve decided that I’m going to take it with me. People tell you you can’t take your wealth with you. I’ve decided I’m going to take it with me.” And he pointed to three packages. “All of my fortune is divided up into those three packages. I want to ask each one of you to take one and when you come to my funeral, at the very end before they shut the casket, I want you to come up and pretend that you’re overcome with grief. And just before they shut the door, each of you put a package in my casket because I’m going to take it with me.” Well, the time came for the funeral and the three men came forward just as they’d been asked. And they couldn’t help but look at the package in the other man’s hands because it looked a little smaller than it did before. In fact, one man just had an envelope. After the funeral, they got together and they looked at each other and one of them said, “You know, I really want to be honest with you fellows. We’ve been friends for years. As the pastor of the church, church needs a new fellowship hall and I hate to tell you this, but I took some of the money out of that package to help the church pay for the fellowship hall.”
The next fellow said, “Well you know, as the doctor, medical equipment’s very expensive. We needed a new machine for the office and it was going to save lives. And it was the right thing to do. So I took some of the money out of the package and I bought a new machine for the doctor’s office.” And the other man, businessman, said, “I am shocked at the lack of moral character that you two are showing us.” And they looked at him and they said, “You only put in an envelope.” He said, “Yes. But in the envelope was a check for the full amount [laughter].” Here’s the problem. Your bank does not have a branch in heaven. You can’t take it with you. No man on his deathbed ever wished he had spent more time at the office. I was trying to think of a version for women. Maybe this one works. No woman on her deathbed ever wished she’d spent more time dusting. I don’t know what you would put in the margins there, but there’s something about knowing that we do not have forever on this earth, that wakes us up to see things with a different light. I want you to know that I was in the hospital for several days. The whole time I was in the hospital, I did not once think about how much I needed a new car. I did not once worry about who was going to win the World Series. In addition to that, I just didn’t much care whether I ever got a pair of those skinny jeans or not. Because my mind was focused on what was really important. Because what you’re looking at will change your mind. You have to pay attention to what holds your attention, particularly if it holds your attention in a way that’s like an obsession, like a craving, like you won’t be happy unless you have it. It’s much wiser to lift your eyes above to realize what is truly important. We just heard that song, “Drugs or Jesus?” Maybe you think that’s a little dramatic, what if we worded it like this: “Everybody just wants to enjoy life.” Does it feel a little bit more like it might be us? Sit and watch a perfect world go by. We’re all looking for love and meaning in our lives. We follow the roads that lead us to drugs or Jesus. You ever really thought about what a drug is? It is a material thing that changes the way you feel. It is a material thing. Throughout all of the Bible, human beings have had trouble with the desire for material things that would bring them happiness. The Bible calls them idols. You make an idol out of wood, you make an idol out of metal, you put four tires on it and you think it’s going to make you happy. But you’re putting your faith in the wrong thing. But there’s a constant struggle going on in our hearts and in our towns, whether they’re large or small. My whole life, the singer says, I’ve tried to run. I’ve tried to hide from a light, from the stained-glass windows in my mind, refusing to let God’s light shine down on me, down on me.” We’re drawn to the road to Jesus. But sometimes, we’re on the wrong road because we’re putting out faith in the material things as if they could do for us what God does. You think “Drugs or Jesus?” is too dramatic? Friends, I want to tell you anything, anything can be an idol. Any thing can be an addiction. Anything. And it would be an amazing thing if you or I did not have at least something that drew our attention away from Jesus? Too far. Matthew 6: 19. Here’s how Jesus puts it: “Do not lay out for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume, where thieves break in and steal. Verse 20. “But instead, lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven.” “Where neither moth nor rust consumes, where thieves do not break and steal. Why? Verse 21. “For where your treasure is, there will your heartbeat also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. If your eyes are pointed at what is meaningful and true and helpful, what is filled with love and joy and peace, light will shine into your life. Your whole life, your whole body will be full of light because that lamp will be on. But if your eye is not sound, if it’s not working as it should, if your eye is distracted and turned to other things, if your eye is focused on darkness, darkness will flow into your mind and life. If what should be light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness? Verse 24. Here’s where Jesus brings it home. “No one can serve two masters. Rather he will hate the one and love the other or he’ll be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and material things.” That’s what that word mammon means. You cannot serve God and lust for money. You cannot serve God and focus on consuming everything for your pleasure. You got a choice. You’re on a road. It leads to Jesus or it leads to putting the material things of this world in the place of Jesus and where He should be. If you want to know where your treasure is, take an inventory. If you take your checkbook out, if you keep track of the dollars as they flow out of your wallet, where does your money go? Total it up. That’s your priority. That’s your treasure. 100 years ago, people had a lot more time than they had money. This is when it was easy for volunteers to come to church because there wasn’t anything else to do. Nowadays, people have money but they have no time. Keep track of where your time goes. You’ll find out what your priority is. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. I waste a lot of my time on things that just don’t matter. But that’s how you know what your treasure is. What do you spend your time and your money on this world? If you want to turn things around, what you want to do is ask Jesus to heal your eyes. To ask Jesus to help you to pay attention to what matters. To ask Jesus to help you to turn away from what doesn’t matter. You may not be able to stop doing it, but if you could stop thinking about it, you’ll stop doing it eventually. But you may have to ask Jesus to heal your eyes please sing it with me. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of his glorious grace. If you turn your attention your paths will go in the direction that you’re looking. Lay up treasure in heaven. This has been on the church sign now for years. But it’s the commandment that’s well known to us, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” And if that’s where your heart is, and that’s where your treasure is, then you’re going to want to obey Jesus. And the minute Jesus has your attention, you know what he’s going to say? He’s going to say, “Turn your eyes to your neighbor. Your neighbor is in need.” You’ve got two coats, your neighbor has none. Give your neighbor a coat. Your neighbor’s lawn mower is broken. You can loan him yours. Be kind to your neighbor and not only that, be kind to yourself. You have no idea what sometimes flows out of the simplest kindness. A plate of cookies. Just simply being friendly because some of the people who are your neighbors do not think they have a friend in this world. But they have you. And not only that, I’ll be honest with you, sociological research has proven that what lies at the root of true conversion to the faith is that people who truly convert to the faith of Jesus Christ have at least one friendship with someone who believes and lives by their faith. And that friendship is the closest friend they have.
What the research says this morning all across the United States, only 18% of the people in a town are in worship Sunday morning. Now you know why it’s 18%, some of you are on vacation, some of you are ill, not everybody can come every single week. But your kindness toward your neighbor is the most sure and certain way, first of all for them to see someone who truly has faith. And for them to see the road that leads to Jesus. You know why? Because you’re on it. And your light is shining. So everything you do for your neighbor lays up treasure in heaven. Everything you do for God lays up treasure in heaven. Let’s turn our attention from material things and the brief, shallow pleasures they can give us to what truly matters. People and our Lord. Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, with all the commercials one after another after another, it is so easy for us to be distracted. It’s so easy for us to think that what we truly need is that thing on the TV, that thing in the catalog, that thing on the Internet. They’ll ship it to us for free if we just pay for it right now. Lord help us to see that what truly matters, what we’ll wish one day we had spent more time doing, is spending time with people that we love. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen. Let’s stand and