Who do you think of when you think of a treasure hunter?
Perhaps someone in 1700’s dress with a tricorne, three cornered hat, coat and waistcoat holding a faded map where x marks the spot?
Or maybe it’s a neatly dressed lady waiting in the queue at BBC’s antiques roadshow convinced that the ancient hat pin she has brought is just ugly enough that it might be worth something.
Or perhaps it’s the bleak picture of a modern day treasure hunter glued to their seat pushing the button on the slots machine hoping for three treasure chests in a row.
The adventurer, the hoarder and the gambler – they are all treasure hunters.
Jesus demands that his disciples pursue a different kind of treasure in Matthew 6:19 – 34. He says that this kind of treasure hunting brings a freedom from worries over the material.
You can see Jesus key demand in these verses
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
And how do you store up treasure in heaven? You need to skip down to v33
But seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness,
God’s kingdom first means belonging to him and inviting others to join with you in his eternal kingdom that begins know is your top priority and this priority is one the shapes your character in his vision of right living.
Throughout the sermon on the mount Jesus calls on his followers to live Holy Set apart lives. Will we live out our vocation to be different, holy, God’s treasured possession? Will this vocation impact our we use our material possessions?
Do you remember our treasure hunters? The Tricorned adventurer, the neat hoarder and the bleak gambler? Who do you think of when you think of a treasure hunter?
Maybe it was none of these characters but I wonder was it you? You see Jesus knows that we are all treasure hunters. I am a treasure hunter, you are a treasure hunter, you don’t need a map, a hat pin or a casino to be a treasure hunter. His demand is not that we stop seeking treasure but that we take the treasure hunting skills we have already been using and put them to good purpose, a purpose fitting God’s Holy Treasured Possession. Jesus knows you and me. He knows that human nature is to store up, treasure up. But he warns that if your security is placed in putting away material possessions for a later date this security will always ultimately fail. 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. On earth you will face Moths and Vermin; remember Jesus speaks to those in a time period where banking was in it’s infancy. For most of his disciples the ability scrape together enough coin to pay Roman taxes was a challenge. Security, material possessions, storing up for the future did not happen in banks, shares and insurance as we do today but in grain and fabric storage. Jesus says that in our world soaked in sin the decay of time will defeat your treasuring up of treasure. The reality of a world broken by sin is that which you put away for later will be eaten away at. It is never truly safe and so if it is where you find your safety your security you are mistaken. Ahh but you think, we do not store our wealth in this manner anymore, we are shored up protected with banks and shares….Moths and Vermin come in many forms. I for one have never forgotten a photo taken after World War One of German woman using German currency to fuel her stove because it was worthless. Jesus warns that if your security is placed in putting away material possessions for a later date this security will always ultimately fail. It will fail either by moths and vermin; Jesus says that in our world soaked in sin the decay of time will defeat your treasuring up of treasure. Or by thieves that break in and steal; Jesus says that in our world soaked in sin the immediacy of greed will defeat your treasuring up of treasure. Whether it is the opportunistic swipe of your wallet and the fast use of your credit card, the planned assault on your home, or the systemic ethical black hole which invaded our financial sector leading to the GFC thieves break in and steal. The good news is that he offers a better alternative. Jesus in his death and resurrection offers an alternative view of the material. Jesus comes so that in our world soaked in sin the decay of time and the immediacy of greed are defeated in his death and resurrection. The physical world is made good in him. He feeds 5000 with a boys packed lunch. He tells the waves to be still. He instructs his disciples and their boat overflows with fish. The things that do not last can work for eternity when they are not used for our security but for the glory of the one who offers eternal security. In 2 Peter 3:13 we read 13 But in keeping with Jesus promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. One day when Jesus returns the heavens and earth will be remade and on that day the effects of sin will be no more. The creation will be free from decay and greed. But the righteousness, our right living before God, that we take part in now will be our permanent experience. And so Jesus demands an alternative; 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. Don’t stop being a treasure hunter but treasure the true treasure….. Treasure up for yourself treasure in heaven …. If you are a tricorne wearing adventurer gaining by your wits – have an adventure of righteousness. If you are a neat hoarder carefully secreting away hoard for heaven - Perhaps God’s word in your heart. If you are a gambler risking it all risk it for Jesus – speak the good news when few are brave and give the jackpot of eternity to someone lost in sin. That which belongs to God’s eternal kingdom can never be destroyed by moths or vermin, it can never be stolen by thieves… And with Jesus demand comes a blessing. Jesus says V25 Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes… 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Those who are Jesus disciples, who have put their faith in him …are God’s treasured possession. They are God’s people…their heavenly Father knows what they need before they ask. So they v33 seek first his kingdom and his righteousness knowing they are valued, cared for by the one who is sovereign over the universe. In vv26 – 31 Jesus invites us to see every David Attenbrough moment as a picture of God’s ultimate generosity. You know that moment when you are watching your TV screen and are struck by God’s insane creativity and generosity in his making of the universe. The beauty of a bird, the shocking riotous colour of the great barrier reef – the God who poured his creative power into these creatures who are here for a moment poured his ultimate creative power into Jesus resurrection for your sake. It is a how much more argument. If he pours out his generosity in his animal creation how much more will he do for those who have put their faith in his Jesus as the ultimate security. Seek him first … and you will find that he provide’s what you need and the wants that were possessing you and worrying you will disappear.