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The Best Investment

David Wright


How material things does not last, but we can store treasure in heaven by investing in people.


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • July 21, 2012
    11:30 AM
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Lived in New York City seven Total one brother six sisters and a brother convinced all of his sisters to never marry. The last sister died in one thousand thirty one and the same old rundown house that they all lived in her only dress was one she made herself and she wore for the past twenty five years never married never had kids never traveled never fixed up her house or herself. And what no one knew was that when the last of the Windles passed away. That they had received a huge inheritance from their parents valued at more than one hundred million dollars mind you in one nine hundred thirty one this week I got on to online and found an inflation calculator and if you plug it in and put the Year in one nine hundred thirty one. That's equivalent to one point four billion dollars today. That's so much money that if I inherited that much money today at age thirty three and had six sisters to divide it with and we all lived to be a hundred. Each of us would have to would only be able to spin our allowance of just three million a year just each of us. I read that story. And I think to myself What a waste. To have had all of that tucked away. Dug in a hole in the ground somewhere I don't know where they had it. What a waste. Jesus counsels us to have a different approach a man. To whom much is given from him much will be required. And so this morning. I want to turn to the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapter five six and seven here Jesus' ministry has just begun. He's called together his disciples. He's done some preaching and he's done some healing but this sermon on the Mount. Is in many respects Jesus and address to a very large crowd from the Cabalist Jerusalem Judea and beyond the Jordan Scripture tells us in a few verses right before. And as Jesus speaks they are drawn in. Because it is contrary to all that they have heard from the priests and the rabbis up until now only the healthy and the wealthy and the Jewish race. They were the only ones that were blessed. But rather Jesus' first words of this sermon took everyone by surprise took them back. Bless it. It says in Chapter five Verse three blessid are the poor in spirit. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The complete opposite of what the priests and the rabbis taught in fact in verse twenty Jesus goes as far as to say unless your righteousness exceeds that right. Dismiss of the scribes and the fair sees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Wow. This is radical stuff. You see the letter of the law was strictly enforced. But the spirit of the law. That was a different story completely neglected. Oh that that would never be said of us. And while will not be taking the time to look at each one six different times in Chapter five Jesus says you have heard it said but I say to you. They think they are so self righteous because they do not murder or commit adultery or divorce improperly but Jesus gives them and us a much deeper understand. Ending of each of those things and how all of us can be guilty of yes murder and adultery. Jesus further outlines how we should turn the other cheek and not just love our friends but our enemies as well. You have heard it said. But I say to you. And in the heart of this sermon. On the Mount we find today's passage that still I believe speaks volumes for our time in two thousand and twelve and the time of materialism and self indulgence where people live to work and work to possess in a world of cess with fashion and entertainment and sports where the wealthy and affluent are idolized where pride is called self-confidence and greed is called providing for your family where extravagant vacations have become the absent fathers attempt to buy back the affection of his children where the smartphone is king and all social interaction is crippled by that blank screen went blank stare scuse me to that two by three inch screen. You've seen it before. In fact I have thought about creating an app. It's going to be called How To Save Your Marriage and you'll download that app and you'll click on it and in bright big red letters little letters it'll say put it down. I wonder how much I'd make on that up. Yes I believe these words from the lips of us are more pertinent today than they were two thousand years ago. Matthew six verses nineteen and twenty. Matthew six reading verse nineteen and twenty Do not lay up for yourselves treasures. On Earth where mom and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither rock ma ma thing or rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. What's the first thing that comes your mind when you hear that phrase treasure do not strive yourselves treasure on earth. When you think of treasure do you think of a treasure chest perhaps buried the bottom of the ocean filled with koans you think of money or wealth or a big bank account. One study I came across this week show that the top concern of college freshmen seventy eight percent of college freshmen when choosing their major. The number one thing they look at well I just don't ever want to have to worry about money. Sounds like they're already worried about it. The reality is you have to live within your means. The numbers on your paycheck are ultimately irrelevant because you have bills that will match it. If not exceed it. In other parts of the world all of us would be rich for the simple fact that we're not hungry. It's estimated that one billion out of the seven billion on the planet today are hungry and malnourished. Today. That's equivalent of all of North America and Europe combined mothers who have nothing to feed their starving children in fact hunger is the world's number one health risk. Kills more people every year than AIDS and malaria and tuberculosis combined. Yet in the face of that here in America. Consumers spend an enormous amount of money on non essentials. I'll give you a few examples. Six hundred four billion going out to eat. In two thousand and eleven forty eight billion on the pet industry expenditures. You ever traveled overseas and seen how pets are treated. Twenty billion for video and computer games nineteen billion on home entertainment products and the list continues. We've adopted that motto he who dies with the most toys wins. New houses cars furniture electronics not because the old one has worn out. But because it's no longer top of the line. We need the newest and the latest and the greatest. The reality is most of us could live on half of our income if we had two major life adjustments Yes. Would you ever be hungry probably not. The reality is we don't want to. We won both of us to work two jobs together we put in one hundred hours a week while someone else raises our kids and enjoys all the first the first words the first steps the first time riding a bike. And society has told us to invest in stocks and bonds and C.D.'s and mutual funds but if you really want to play it safe invest in the housing market. We're not going to take the time this morning but I came across a study after study after study that showed Americans get their self-worth from how much they make Americans are very willing to give up personal time just so they can make more money American spend even when they can't afford it. Shocker. And that the number one issue couples fight about finances but you already knew there. And as a result of our desire to make more money. We are stressed out and severely sleep deprived. But what are we really investing in what's the point. What are we hoping to gain. You might be sitting there in your smug complacency and say OK OK OK I get your point but I don't have that problem. I'm in high school or I'm in college and I'm just trying to pay my bill. I don't have any money. I mean have a car. And buy a house that's the last thing on my mind I'm just living off of ramen noodles and cereal. Well let me ask you is time a treasure in our society today. Well if I only had more time. I know I should get up and read in the morning but I really need my rest. Do you read your story later sweetheart daddy is really busy right now. It's right now overcome. I know the church needs my help with the evangelistic campaign but I have to go to work. To support my habits and the lifestyle I enjoy time is a treasure where are you investing it. Now please don't misunderstand me. There's nothing wrong with having money or even a lot of it. There are plenty of examples in Scripture of extremely rich and wealthy people. Abraham and job come to mind. They were both extremely wealthy but the challenge comes at the more we have the greater our responsibilities to keep everything in order to maintain it all and if we're not careful. The easier it is for us to lose our focus on what's most important. Having in acquiring can take priority over everything else. Yikes. Back to Jesus' timeless Council on the Sermon on the Mount do not lay up for yourselves treasures on this earth why. Because here on Earth MAF and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Let's face it things on earth deteriorate. They can be stolen. It's a bad investment Jesus says you're spinning your wheels. You know monster one of the most devastating pests they can wipe out an entire fortune in just a matter of minutes the swarm comes and devours and leaves nothing. And it's not mosque it's termites or rod or turn it over hurricanes or earthquakes wildfires. And then there's rust. And I took the Island Hopper on my way to Pont to pay and madge was one of the islands we would hit. It's a tiny narrow little island you're not even sure if you're landing on anything but water when you touch down on it. The life expectancy of a car on manager old new car because of rust two or three years. It's only a matter of time rust will sneak its way in. And whether it's a washer and dryer clothes stained by rust whether it's work tools left out by your kids at night pocketknives computers stereos freezers lawn mowers rakes shovels like Senate slowly get started and if you allow it takes over. So whether it's organic whether it's metal it's going to deteriorate. But that's OK You say the real valuable stuff is gold and silver and diamonds never seen a rusty diamond have you know but I haven't ever seen a stolen one either because it's gone. Our lives have been forever altered by this reality of thieves that break in and steal. That's why we have car locks house locks gate lots deadbolts fences security guards alarm system hidden. Cameras laser beams motion sensors glass detectors guard dogs hand guns B.B. guns and trip wires all because of the thief. Bottom line. There are no true earthly investments. Is it true. Nothing is one hundred percent secure. That's why someone invented insurance. And let me tell you there's no guarantees. There he said. So what is the answer. Jesus tells us again. Matthew chapter six Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth where mobs in the US destroy the earth these break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither MOF nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal for where your treasure is there your heart will be. Also very simple Jesus says store your treasure in heaven. And you might say well how do I do that. Well by focusing on things that we can take with us to heaven things that are not bound to this earth. And what is not down to earth people. It makes sense when we pack for a trip. We don't worry about all the things that we can't take with us. We're only focused on what should I bring. That's how you store treasure in heaven you focus on what you're going to take with you. You spend personal time with Jesus each day you invest heavily with your means your resources your time into the church and its evangelist and purposes. Maybe it's beginning a small group Bible study in your home or just saying hey I'll host a small group in my home. Maybe it's learning the names of your neighbors. And of in. Really having someone are standing in their spiritual condition. Because I believe we have an incredible in time message to share that nobody else. Nobody else is sharing a message that will be a safeguard against the wiles of the devil of in time and in time I believe is now the message to fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment has come and worship Him who made heaven the earth the sea and the springs of water. It's not about converting everybody to Adventism it's about delivering a timely message that nobody else is sharing to prepare a people to meet Jesus now Pastor Charles and Sharon today we commend you both for your commitment to storing treasure in heaven for being instruments in the hands of God in fearlessly but lovingly sharing God's message of truth and hope and love not just in a word but in action. While we recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from above. We also recognize your commitment and surrender to Jesus to be used by Him for His purposes. There is no other job quite like past oral ministry your life in many respects is not your own. You're on call twenty four hours a day seven days a week. You have meetings that go late into the night but are still expected to be another one that starts in Charlotte at nine A.M. the next morning. You're expected to work all week and when the rest of the week takes a weekend break. That's often your busiest time. And really everything. That goes on in this building ultimately is your responsibility. Finance Committee church board school board Family Life Committee conference committees hospital board hospital visitation and home visitation Bible studies evangelism community involvement and community services keeping a close eye on your inexperienced associate. The never ending email and voice messages all of which are urgent many dealing with delicate issues complaints family crises marital problems within the church all the while supporting D.B.'s pathfinders and their outings youth and young adults pre-marriage counseling passing safety inspections making sure the doors are open at the right time having the that his will tank filled and warm being a visionary planning calendar events church socials birthday parties prayer meetings Vesper programs and always having just the right words and illustration to share making everything come together with a group of volunteers who may or may not be motivated or experienced and whenever they lack tact or shirt in their duty. The pastor is the first to hear about it. And to think I was treated this way by someone in the church. What are going to do about it. Pastor. Is in some of his former churches of course. And now it's Thursday night and your sermon is still looming over your shoulder yet your family is in need of your attention tonight because you are that to the model of what a perfect. Well balanced family should be the fishbowl. Yet all the while you are constantly asked what is a pastor really do. I mean. Really. You only work one day a week. There are times when your much needed vacation has arrived and you have planned a special get away the car is packed your hotel was booked far in advance all the arrangements have been made and just as you are pulling out of the driveway the phone rings and reluctantly you answer to find out there's been a death of a dear member in your church and the family is calling on you to be by their side and to the funeral. No there is no other job quite like pastoral ministry. But by God's grace. And only by God's grace. I believe you and share in it made it look easy. Your ministry has impacted this church in very real and practical ways in the past ten years and for that we say thank you Elizabeth. And I have been blessed tremendously in the short time we've been here how you both are so how you genuinely care for people and their families how you care for each other and your own family and your giftedness to make such a large church seem so personable on Saturday morning. How you stand for your convictions and for truth and a way that's not condescending or judgment on how you both approach to work with humility and dependence on Christ for every success. And for the way that a service like this makes you feel uncomfortable. Yes we are blessed because you chose to use your doctorate not to store up piles of earthly treasure so you could retire in style and no he's not retire. Irene for another ten years. Let's just squash that one right now. You know we are blessed because you have chosen to invest rather in a treasure that by God's grace will never spoil or fade a lasting treasure that will live on into eternity. Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where neither MOF nor rust destroys or thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also we'd like to think that ultimately you're all these wonderful things because of us. But we know that it's not. It's because your heart is so connected with Jesus Christ that you want to serve Him with everything you've got. And because of that heart connection. That's where you invest your treasure. And the same question should be asked for all of us. Where is your treasure. Where is your heart. Because Matthew six twenty one says they're both in the same place. So I want to challenge you and myself. Store your treasure in heaven. Things in this world will Ross will or Ross they'll rust. And they will rot away. Store your treasure in heaven if the Lord came today. Would your bank account matter would your car matter where your clothes matter would your G.P.A. matter. Or would people matter. Store your treasure in heaven. Jesus died on the cross. So that we could store treasure in heaven as a truth so we could have something better something we could depend on don't let that sacrifice be in vain for you or anyone. Else store your treasure in heaven when the curtain closes and all is said and done. Don't be like the Windles don't leave it all behind. But store your treasure in heaven because the day will come when we will see the fruit of our labors. When we'll see the final outcomes of our investments while here on Earth. And what will be our response. When we have any regrets. The world tells us we need all this stuff. But how insignificant all that will be. Compared to being approached in the kingdom and told. Thank you for giving to the Lord. I'm a life. That was changed. The reality is where our treasure is there our heart will be also where is your treasure where is your heart there in the same place. So if changes need to be made. And I encourage you to make them today. Don't let another day go by. Reorganize your life prioritize. See where some significant changes need to take place. And do them. Give your heart to Jesus today Him by His grace. Start investigating turning your Lord. Today we humbly come before you asking for your forgiveness. Forgiveness for having mixed up priorities. Forgiveness for forgetting the big picture. Forgiveness for thinking even for a moment that it was all about us. Lord this morning. We want to take your words to heart spoken two thousand years ago but so relevant. To us today where we want to make investments in eternity. And to do what we need to do to make the changes we need to make. And how we invest our time and our energy and our resources. And so this morning we give you our bills our work schedules our financial pressures or we give your heart. And ask that you will show us what adjustments need to be made. So when that day comes. We won't live with any regrets but will be so glad we gave. So glad we invested in people and spreading yours precious three angels message by your grace this media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first or you would like to listen to more service to visit W.W.W. audio first or.


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