Matthew 6:19-21; 24 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.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
These are extremely powerful passages. I had three thoughts when considering them. First I thought about my grandmother. Back in “the day” I remember her words in times of stress or crisis. “The LORD will provide.” It would be many years later that I would finally connect these words to the story of Abraham and Isaac. Blessed with a son after impatiently waiting decades, GOD then instructed Abraham to offer his beloved Isaac as a human sacrifice. We know the story. As they approached the location where the sacrifice was to be offered young Isaac curiously inquired about the key missing element, the sacrificial lamb. Abraham’s reply, “The LORD HIMSELF will provide…” Abraham is stopped just before slaying his son and indeed, trapped in thickets nearby is the ram that would be the sacrifice. This mountain location is then forever called “the LORD will provide.”
My second thoughts are of the George Elliott classic “Silas Marner” and the Steve Martin movie adaptation “A Simple Twist of Fate.” After unfairly losing his social status and fiancée, Marner becomes a recluse taking joy only in the gold he stock piles. He is obsessed with it, taking great pleasure in counting it each night and securing it. He is barely able to contain himself until he can count it again the next day. This story reminds me so much of how many of us live our lives today. How often do we check our bank balances or the stock market? We know this story too. The gold is stolen and Marner is devastated until one night an abandoned child shows up on his door step. The miser finds a new, much more satisfying treasure in loving and caring for this helpless, abandoned child. I read this story in school and saw the movie as an adult and in both instances I was struck by how much value we routinely place in things that ultimately are worth very little.
Finally I am blessed to have a new grandbaby. As I look into her twinkling eyes and innocent smile I know the world she will live will be much different than the one we live in today. When I was her age there were an estimated 2.5 billion people on the globe. By the time she graduates high school it is estimated the global population will be over 8 billion. Even as the population explodes, the world oil reserves (which are tied directly to food supplies) are vanishing with estimates showing depletion in just 40 years. While scientists warn of the coming global warming crisis, ecologist say a fresh water crisis is already here. When I was growing up I could have never imagined paying money for water out of a bottle like a soft drink. In a speech to the United Nations in 2010 President Obama said that while the threat of global nuclear war decreased dramatically over the last 30 years the threat of a nuclear attack (by terrorist) is not only possible, but likely. Economists also warn that capitalism and the free market as we have come to know them are simply not sustainable and the financial correction will be devastating. Life for this little one will no doubt be a challenge. However, amid all the gloom and doom I and confident of one thing. The LORD will provide!
GOD of the Universe, we thank YOU for YOUR unconditional love and YOUR gifts of daily provisions for us all. When we are tempted today to worry and fret remind us that we are loved by the CREATOR and provider of love itself! In CHRIST name we pray, amen!