Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Treasure!

31 July 2022

As we delve into this week’s chapters in Luke, there are two themes that keep coming through: Prayer and Treasure!

 

Looking back to Luke 12:34 (NIV), Jesus said: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Also, in Luke 16:13 (NIV) he said: You cannot serve both God and money.

 

Money here is not the notes and coins in our pockets or bank accounts.  It is Mammon, the love of money or the greed for wealth and material things that can consume our lives.  Mammon is actually a false god that seeks to take our worship.

 

This week’s chapters from Luke 18-22 unpack for us the nature of our hearts.  Prayer is a key part of our worship; it is our intimate time with our Heavenly Father; it is where we can bear our hearts, plead our cause, bring our requests, intercede, and as Jesus said on the Mount of Olives: Pray that you do not fall into temptation.

 

When we pray, we are seeking God’s will in a situation.  Our focus is on Him and His answer.  When we put our financial treasure above God, and seek wealth to “get rich” or “to better ourselves” with no thought to God’s plan for our lives or to sharing what we have with others, we serve money.

 

There are two encounters, one in Luke 18 and one in Luke 19 that highlight the difference.

 

In Luke 18 we read about a ruler who has kept the commandments since being a young boy.  In his eyes he has followed the law, done the right thing, lived a religious life.  However, Jesus says in v22 … sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

 

The ruler was very sad (v23) because he was very wealthy.  He didn’t want to let go of what he had.  Jesus knew his heart.  Jesus went on to say “it is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 

 

We often think that having money will solve every problem we have, but really more money means you just have a bigger bank balance, and actually more responsibility as God expects you to be a good steward of all that you have.

 

Let’s look at another encounter.  In Luke 19, Jesus meets Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector.  Now this man has money, in fact, he’s got rich from other people’s money, taking a cut for himself each time he collects tax.  Tax collectors were despised and unloved and Zacchaeus would have been one of the worst.

 

However, we read in v3 that “he wanted to see who Jesus was”.  He was seeking Jesus.  He ran ahead and climbed a tree to make sure he had a front row seat.  I love Jesus’ response as He looked up and saw Zacchaeus: “I must stay at your house today”.

 

Look what Zacchaeus did.  He didn’t need to be told what to do.  He had encountered Jesus.  We read that he gave half his possessions to the poor and he promised to pay back four times the amount that he cheated people from.  Jesus declared, “Today salvation has come to this house” (v9).

 

Finally, let’s look at the end of chapter 19.  Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out those who were selling, quoting Isaiah 56:7, “My house will be a house of prayer.”

 

The temple was the place that everyone came to worship God.  It was the place of sacrifice.  Greedy sellers had put extortionate prices on the sacrifices, knowing they had captive customers who may have travelled days to be there.

 

A place that should have been a place of encounter had become a magnet for those serving money.  No wonder that Jesus responded in the way He did.  The god of money (Mammon) had set up residence in the House of His Father.

 

As we go through this week’s readings, take some time to do a treasure check.  Am I seeking after God’s heart, or am I seeking after my own?


Photo of Claire Morton

Claire Morton

Director
GoChurch Global