I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Matthew 6:19-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[b] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Our brief scripture reading comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and it involves the subject of money—a subject Jesus talked about a lot. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money and possessions. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. (Howard L. Dayton, Jr., Leadership, Vol. 2, no. 2.) Jesus dealt with money matters because money matters. You see, according to Jesus, money is a spiritual issue.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement in the eighteenth century, reminded us that money itself isn’t evil. He said, “’The love of money,’ we know, ‘is the root of all evil;’ but not the thing itself. The fault does not lie in the money, but in them that use it. It may be used ill: and what may not? But it may likewise be used well.”
He had three simple rules for the use of money:
- Earn all you can without doing any harm to yourself or to others.
- Save all you can. By that, Wesley meant that we should practice the spiritual discipline of “enough”—knowing how much is enough.
- Give all you can.
The first thing we learn about giving from Jesus is that when we give we invest in that which lasts, that which is eternal. Jesus’ words in our scripture for today call us to invest ourselves in that which lasts. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal…” Put simply, Jesus reminds us that those things we can purchase, accumulate, hoard, possess, see, touch, count, measure and use are temporary—they don’t last. They are consumed by moth and rust and they may be stolen by thieves. There is no real security in earthly treasures because no matter how durable they seem, they are temporary.
A rich man in town died one day, and two men were talking about it. “How much did he leave?” asked the one.
The reply came back, “All of it.”
I like the inscription on a tombstone that I read years ago:
What I spent, I lost
What I saved, I left
What I gave, I have.
In his sermon on the use of money, Wesley said, “[Money] is an excellent gift of God, answering the noblest ends. In the hands of his children, it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, [clothing] for the naked: It gives to the traveler and the stranger where to lay his head. By it we may supply the place of a husband to the widow, and of a father to the fatherless. We may be a defense for the oppressed, a means of health to the sick, of ease to them that are in pain; it may be as eyes to the blind, as feet to the lame; yea, a lifter up from the gates of death!” [John Wesley, “The Use of Money,” Sermon Fifty, The Sermons of John Wesley, 1872 Edition, Thomas Jackson, editor]
There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Take My Life and Let it be Consecrated”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. Listen to this hymn on SoundCloud.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster