Lesson Eight • Laying up Treasures in Heaven
Devotion 1: How to Prepare
Pastor John Carter
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.’” Matthew 6:19-24
We are steadily moving through Matthew Chapter 6. This week we are going to walk between this great chasm of earthly treasures versus heavenly treasures. We will examine our earthly vision versus heavenly vision, and determine if we serve earthly masters versus the Heavenly Master. So, the question is, “How do you prepare for this massive disruption in how we think, see, and serve?” It is easy to ignore and it is easy to create very real reasons why we cannot focus our minds. Consider what we see and ultimately commit to serving a wonderful God.
I am sure you have a million other things on your mind as you are preparing for the week. Your mind is more than likely not really into even reading this devotion. I get it! You are not going to offend me one little bite if you say, “I am too busy for this.” If you can endure the business of life and squeeze in a little time to finish the devotions this week, I hope you will be challenged and encouraged as you learn to focus your heart, mind, and soul towards God. By doing this, we will have greater peace and understanding of the important things of God.
In the business of life, how do we prepare for God’s disruption? Jesus set an example of this element of disruption for us quite often as He walked the Earth. It seems Jesus was often interrupted during His mission to complete the work His Father had sent Him to do. In Luke chapter 5, we see a story of Jesus’ teaching being interrupted by a group of men trying to get one of their friends before Jesus so He could heal him.
Luke 5:18-19 records, “And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.”
Can you imagine how disruptive this would have been? Jesus is trying to teach all these people (the crowds) when these guys have the audacity to interrupt Him. They literally tear open the roof and deconstruct a home so that they can get access to the One who can heal. Consider the massive interruption that took place in this scene!
I would think Jesus would be so upset by the interruption and that they destroyed this home. I This is often my own response to disruptions in my life. We find them inconvenient, annoying, and sometimes just outright angering. Look at the example Jesus gave us during His own disruption. Luke 5:20 says, “And when he saw their faith, he said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’”
The disruption that was initially caused by these men who cared for their friend turned into an even bigger one with the statement Jesus just made, “Your sins are forgiven you.” What did He say? The people that heard Jesus say this instantly were disrupted by the words of Jesus, in particular the so-called religious people. Luke 5:21-22 says, “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, ‘Why do you question in your hearts?’”
I love how Jesus likes to disrupt our thinking and He knows how to get us to disrupt the routine and patterns we create in our hearts. He knows all the questions we are going to walk through and He knows the real and tangible ways we are going to be disrupted. Be willing and ready for it! In Luke 5:23-26, we see Jesus doing something amazing, “‘Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ – he said to the man who was paralyzed – ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today.’”
Disruptions can definitely be hard to deal with. We have our plans and our agendas. We think we know what we want and when something else comes in and throws it off, we can easily take it the wrong way. I see Jesus, in this story, taking the disruption and using it to glorify God. He uses it to point us to His power and His authority. Jesus took the disruptions and turned them into glory, awe-filled wonder, and made them extraordinary. So, how do I prepare for the disruption of God? I think it starts with the willingness to be disrupted. If we are too busy for God to interrupt our day, then we can easily say our priorities are off. This week, as we look at Matthew 6:19-24, ask God to disrupt your days, thoughts, and priorities so that we can experience the glory, wonder, awe, and extraordinary things God has prepared for us.
This week’s study will more than likely be disruptive. It will cause you to question things in your own life. This disruption is not a bad thing. As much as we may feel uncomfortable, the goal is to draw us closer to the Father. The desire of God in His disruptions is to help us see the things we need to see so we can be even more aware of how He desires to be with us. Today, take some time and pray that God will disrupt your life (Yes, I said pray for it). Pray that the disruption will point out some things you need to address. Pray that the disruptions will ultimately cause you to draw near to Him, the One who has all authority and power to forgive sins! He has the healing power to fix what is broken in us! When He does this, let us make sure we praise His name and give Him glory for every single disruption we encounter.