Where Is Your Heart?

Sermon Notes (Sunday November 1st, 2015)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

 

Where Is Your Heart?

1 Chronicles 29:14-18; 1 Luke 12:32-40

 

A couple of months ago, I shared a good story with the church Elders during our monthly Session meeting. I want to use that story as an introduction to my sermon this morning. The story is told about a pastor who was trying to grow the vision of his congregation. He told them, “With God’s help we can see the day when this church will go from crawling to walking.” And the people responded, “Let the church walk pastor, let the church walk.” The pastor continued, “And when the church begins to walk, next the church can begin to run.” And the people shouted, “Let the church run, pastor, let the church run!” The people were starting to see the vision and so the pastor took it one step more, “And finally, the church can move from running to flying. Oh, this church can fly for God!” The people were getting emotionally involved and excited and then the preacher went on, “And in order for this church to fly it is going to have to have lots of courage and lots of money. We’re going to do things we’ve never done before and dig deeply and give greatly.” The congregation grew quiet and then from the very back somebody mumbled loud enough for everyone to hear, “Let the church crawl, Pastor, let the church crawl.” My question for the congregation today: Are we crawling, walking, running, or flying for God? Are you yourself crawling, walking, running, or flying for God?

 

Frequently the Scriptures warn us against a cheap and easy religion, a religion that does not cost us much. So many people today do not mind to follow and to worship Jesus “where the shade is pleasant” to use the words of the Prophet Hosea 4:13. Often times we become like the church people in our story. We want to walk, run, and fly. Yet, we are not willing to pay the price. The topic I’ve chosen for the month of November is thanksgiving and gratitude. Gratitude and thanksgiving begins with putting our hearts in the right place. This is our “stewardship season” and I want the church this morning to examine a great passage from the gospel of Luke chapter 12:32-40 especially verse 34, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” A couple important observations as we look together this morning at 1 Chronicles 29 and Luke 12:

 

First: Our Generosity Reflects our Heart

Our generosity reflects the state of our heart. In other words, what we treasure the most reveals our heart. Where is your heart? Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If your heart is set on the things of this earth, then you will be busy about the business of laying up treasures here. If we value fortune, fame, power, then we will direct our energy to do whatever it takes to be so instead of being witnesses to God’s faithfulness and servants in His Kingdom.

 

Someone once said that a simple way to know what your heart values is to examine your financial receipts, bank and credit cards statements, and your calendar. What do you spend your money on? Where do you spend your time? If you examine your checkbook, credit card statements and bills along with your schedule of activities, you will easily be able to tell what your heart values. The location of your treasure reveals your heart. Where are you laying up for yourselves treasure? Is it on earth where it will be destroyed by decay or be stolen? Or is your treasure in heaven where it will pay eternal dividends? Our generosity reflects the state of our heart. There is a connection between our hearts and how we handle our money. We can’t divorce our faith from our finances.

 

I love the way Randy Alcorn, a Christian author and Director of Eternal Perspective Ministries, puts it: “God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but my standard of giving.” Why does God give us more money than we need? It’s not so we can find more ways to spoil ourselves and our children. It’s so we can give – generously. Friends, I honestly believe that God gives us money not to build our own kingdom on earth, but to build His kingdom in heaven. Giving dethrones us and enthrones Him and the opposite is also true. Our generosity reflects our heart!

 

Second: The Fear and Anxiety of Living that Kind of Generosity

Before putting that kind of generosity before His audience, Jesus said in Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” We may have such fear and anxiety when we live out that kind of life. I believe that many people in this congregation are generous and want to be more generous, but the fears in our lives are real, and it seems our faith in God and anxieties about material things are intertwined all together. Who isn’t worried about savings for retirement and college tuition, health care costs, declining real estate values and stock portfolios, getting or keeping a good job?

 

Jesus does not deny what life can do to us. He just wants us to lean upon Him more than anything else. He just wants to give us the kingdom of heaven and all the love, joy, peace, and hope that accompany it ~ the kind of treasures where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Friends, our true security lies in the fundamental truth of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, and that makes all the difference. There is no ultimate security in our accumulation of earthly treasure. American Missionary Jim Elliot (1927-1956) once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Gain is what Jim Elliot was thinking about! He just wanted the kind of gain that he couldn’t lose. He wanted his treasures in heaven.

 

On the days when you need to be reminded of this great truth, just go outside and watch the birds in the sky. They neither sow nor reap; yet God cares for them, the seemingly most carefree of all God’s creatures. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Remember that life is a gift from God, both to be treasured and to be shared. God will provide for us, and through us, God will provide for others. May we know the joy of giving our life, our resources, and our energy and the freedom that God grants those who trust in Him alone.

 

There is a bumper sticker that reads: “Tithe if you love Jesus. Any idiot can honk.” What a wonderful sentiment! I think Jesus said the same thing here in Luke 12. “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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Those are the key words, “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. I hope you and I today, as we think about our pledge cards for 2016, examine our hearts, trust God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, and feel the same way as King David felt in 1 Chronicles 29:14, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” To God all praise, honor, and glory, and to this all God’s people said, “Amen.”

 

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