Treasure is as Treasure does…

September 26, 2010

Michael Maloney, Lay Speaker

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning!

 

God is glad you are here this morning and so am I…

 

Our topic on this beautiful Sunday morning, the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, is:

 

Treasure is as Treasure does…

 

 

Today, as each and every Sunday – we are reminded of the great treasure before us – before our time – The great treasure beyond us, beyond our time...

I speak of the great treasure found within the pages of scripture…

This morning - we once again read of great leadership and of rich storytelling…

In THE ESPISTLE – we see the Apostle Paul, among the most notable of early Christian leaders, showing us - in both his life and his letters - how to live correctly.

In THE GOSPEL – we see Luke the Evangelist give the account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth – from the events of his birth to his ascension.

Human Leadership… Why is it so very important to us?

After all, we as Christians are quite serious in believing that when we gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, really present and absolutely sovereign. God creates and guides, Gad saves and heals, God corrects and blesses, God calls and judges.  With such comprehensive and personal leadership from God, what is the place of human leadership?

Human leadership must indeed be second place. But remember this – the best leadership in spiritual communities formed in the name of Jesus, the Messiah.

Today, 20 centuries after Jesus Christ, some 2.2 billion Christians believe that Jesus was indeed the Messiah promised in the Old Testament: the son of God, incarnated as a man, whose suffering and death absolve sins and promise eternal life to those who heed his message.

God’s plan from the start was to involve others in the work of bringing people into the kingdom and in fact, no person in the Bible comes to faith in Christ apart from the work of another human being.

Not by computer or emails, not by newspapers, not by radio or television - but by leadership – storytelling…

Human Leadership – why it is so very important to us…

 

In THE EPISTLE lesson this morning:  

We see the leader Paul encouraging and guiding Timothy in the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing him, in turn how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations by trying to give spiritual direction to the rich and to those aspiring to be rich. He speaks quite frankly about how to live with money as disciples of Jesus Christ.  

Paul says we are called not to pursue riches at all. What we are to pursue are qualities of character: "godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness." We are called to take hold of the "good confession," a term Paul associates with the confession of Jesus before Pilate. In Timothy's world the language of the good confession was

Christ is Lord - Christ is Savior...

Pursuing these qualities of Christian character isn't just the opposite of pursuing money.

Pursuing these things is to be pursuing eternal life, driven by the life of the Eternal One already among us, the One who feeds us with himself ever anew at the Lord's Table.

Paul admonishes Timothy to guide all disciples of Jesus in this manner:

 vs.18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share vs.19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

In THE GOSPEL lesson this morning:

Jesus tells the story of Lazarus and the rich man…

The rich man tries to tell Abraham to tell Lazarus to get him some water. The voice of Abraham is also ironic when he responds to the rich man with perhaps the very same kinds of justifications for not helping him that the rich man used to justify not helping Lazarus. The finale isn't meant as a blow simply to the rich. It strikes against any who read Scripture to privilege themselves above others. It's now about the kingdom of God. And in God's kingdom, as even Moses and the prophets were saying to those who had ears to hear, the poor are blessed, the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, the sick are cared for and healed. If we’re not doing that, and thinking we can justify ourselves by our social standing or theological knowledge, we are of a different kingdom.

Mission in the world today requires that we deal with money. Mission in the world but not of the world requires that our disciplines with money reflect the priorities of the kingdom of God rather than the kingdoms of the world. 

By bestowing and communicating what we know to be so - by ourselves leading and storytelling in the world – we procure for ourselves and for others - a far greater treasure in the Kingdom of God than we can ever possibly have in the Kingdoms of the world.

Here this morning – we are a people of great wealth and fortune. We are all called to leadership and storytelling.

Store up for yourself the treasure of a good foundation for the future so that you may take hold of the life that really is life…

Guard the real treasure you have been given. Guard it with your life!

Treasure is as Treasure does…

 

References:

The Message

Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group

Lectionary Planning

Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission.