Pastor Tom’s Note
Treasures in Heaven
You know the phrase, ‘miss by an inch, miss by a mile.’ This is in essence what happens to the rich man in Mark 10:17-22. He did everything right from a young age and Jesus “loved him” for that. He respected his parents, never stole or lied and he never “defrauded” anyone. He earned his money the old-fashioned way, the honest way. But he did “lack” one thing: he couldn’t part with it. So when Jesus famously said, “sell all and give it to the poor,” the man couldn’t do it. He was “disheartened” and “sorrowful” and walked away. Jesus loved the man enough to gaze upon him and squeeze his one pressure point. Had the man stayed and listened in to the lively conversation that ensued (Mark 10: 23-31), he would have heard that to give it all up would have meant to receive far more than he could have ever imagined: “treasures in Heaven.” Of course, it would be no ‘bed of roses’ (“persecutions”). However, the rich man, as a savvy handler of finances, would have appreciated the “hundredfold” return Jesus talks about: in the end to give it all up would have been ‘no sacrifice at all.’
Zaccheus in Luke 19:1-10 is also very rich. He is also seeking Jesus but instead of being sorrowful, he is joyfully giving up 50% of his wealth to the poor and give back fourfold to those he defrauded. The point of these two stories is that it’s not really about any specific amount one has to give up (see the story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44), but more about the pressure point, the ‘squeeze’ of the one thing we know we need to let go.
Reflections during Stewardship Season:
During this stewardship season at TCC, members and attendants make pledge commitments for 2018.* We encourage all of you to consider how much the Lord is asking you to contribute for next year. As we seek to meet the needs of the congregation, support the staff, engage in local and world outreach, and care for our wonderful facilities, what is the Lord asking you to give up? But, this “giving up” is more like the smartest investment we will ever make: treasures in Heaven. Zacchaeus ‘got it,’ hence the tremendous joy he found in giving money away.
*The Finance Committee encourages all to return Faith Promise cards by December 1st in order to create the budget that will be approved at our annual meeting in January. These wonderful men and women serve our church faithfully and we are so grateful for their work!