The author of the Gospel according to Luke has been long accused of being anti-wealth and anti-money which is not only counter-cultural, although it certainly is, but it also is irrational because money is required for our basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter plus the extras. Within the church, that translates to the building and its maintenance, the worship, the pay of staff, which I am grateful, and our programming.
This accusation has long shone a spotlight on the tension of speaking finances within the church, but especially during a stewardship drive, or worse a capital campaign.
Yet, this accusation of the author is unfounded. The author does not oppose the tool of material resources, particularly for the sake of advancing the kingdom of God in all times and places. In fact, this is the Gospel that addresses how Jesus’ earthy ministry was funded… and it was wealthy women.
But, this author does reject the misuse, mismanagement, and hoarding of resources.
Our scripture this morning is infamous:
“Where your treasure is, there too is your heart”.
According to the Old Testament text and our Second Reading, Abraham’s heart was focused on, grounded in, and longed for an heir… more specifically a male heir. He longed for a male heir to (1) inherit his property and (2) carry on his own earthly legacy, you might say.
We may debate if that is an appropriate treasure for his heart to rest.
This past week I was at the Church-Wide Assembly in Milwaukee. It is similar to our Synod Assembly, but clearly on steroids.
The voting members of the assembly are tasked to discern changes to the constitutions, as well as discern memorials, policies, and this year a social statement. These are decisions that influence the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
We discern through worship, through people speaking to the business, and through prayer. We trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in mind, soul, and heart in the appropriate direction for the sake of the church in our world, in this time, and in our places.
Thus, as a voting body of over 900 persons from across the entire United States of America… we are discerning the treasure or treasures of the ELCA and thus, where our collective heart is.
Again, the sometimes bold decisions and therefore our treasures may be debated about whether these are appropriate places for our collective heart to rest. The voting assembly is aware that some, like Lucy, may be told “you got some explainin’ to do” upon returning to their communities.
Our hearts, individual and collective, rests where our treasure rests.
What is your treasure?
• Is it in your financial resources?
• is it an heir to your property?
• is it an heir to carry forth your legacy?
• is it a particular politician or political concern?
• is it a particular social concern?
• is it a particular faith tradition or practice?
What is your treasure? Where does it rest?
What is the priorities in your budget and financial spending?
What is the priorities on your calendar using your time, energy, and talents?
Where does your heart rest?
• Is it in Christ Jesus?
• Is it in the divine presence of the Triune God?
• Is it in God’s activity in our time and place?
Does it advance the kingdom of God in our world, in this time and place?
Or does it hinder the Holy Spirit, who works to advance the kingdom in our world, in this time and place, in, among, through, and yes even despite us?
Where does your treasure rest? Where is your heart?
May our hearts, individually and collectively,
rest in the treasure of our Triune God active in our world.