32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 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. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The verses above are very similar to those in Matthew 6 with the final verse (underlined) an exact match where Jesus said
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Today, however, we are looking at the verses from Luke, so let’s begin there. In the first verse (32) Jesus is speaking to His inner group of believers or disciples, hence little flock. Some believe He was speaking only to His twelve disciples while others believe a small number of other believers would have been included. It matters not, for it does not change the meaning of what He is saying.
To His little flock Jesus tells them your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. But what kingdom is this He is speaking of? We only have to go back one verse to find the answer to this question, His kingdom that of our heavenly Father: seek His kingdom. (v31a) Not only are they to be given a place in His kingdom, but the heavenly Father is pleased to do so!
Next we come to verse thirty-three which gives many people fits, at least the first part does: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. You will note this is not in the Mathew version given above. Nonetheless, what are we to do with such instructions if we call ourselves Christians? Here it is useful to consider a few other versions of the Bible where they say Sell your possessions and give alms to the poor where alms are
mercy, pity – especially as exhibited in giving alms, charity – or the benefaction itself, a donation to the poor, alms
Outline of Bible usage
Thus it is not readily understood as a requirement to sell all of your possessions, but to be ready at the call and command of God to part with all, for such uses as God should show them: not to set their heart on riches (Matthew Poole Commentary, emphasis added). Consider the exchange between Jesus and the young rich man in Mark 10
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Notice in verse twenty-one Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus saw the young man’s problem and addressed it directly. Did he love his wealth more than his God. The NIV says he went away sad, others say he went away sorrowful, grieving, gloomy, mourning and all say it was because he had great wealth or many possessions. I imagine him walking away in tears as he realizes his wealth owns him, he does not own his wealth. When the question arises in our lives, will we love our wealth or possessions more than we love God? Will our wealth and possessions own us?
Consider the poor woman who gave so little, but was more admired than those who gave more. Why?
1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Much to consider here about our own giving. Is our giving only out of our wealth, easy to give, or do we give to the extent that it hurts, but we still do so gladly. Do you tithe? Do you do so gladly? Do you do more than tithe and do you do it gladly? Maybe you contribute your time and effort. Do you do so gladly? How much do you contribute of your time and effort? Is it only out of your wealth of time or is it out of all you have?
So now we come to the key verse for today, the verse that gets to the heart of the matter:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Show me your checkbook or charge receipts/records and I will know where your heart is say many economic gurus. There is much truth in their saying this. But they may be wrong if you have much time and effort in the place of money that you give to God freely and gladly. What story would your checkbook and charges tell about you? What story would a record of how you spend your time tell about you? What story about you would the two together tell about you? You know the answer. God knows as well.
It’s Monday, I hope you have a Great Week. Consider what story is revealed about your heart by how you spend your time and money. Know also you can change the story as well.