This last week has been a tough week. There were the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Cries are going up to bring an end to this senseless loss of life that is becoming too ordinary. The month of July was the warmest recorded. Some deny that our activity is having any affect on climate while scientists are warning that this is only the start with much worse to come in the future. The hate-filled words that divide this country will not grow silent. This last week has been rough.
The message from the Scripture reading is really filled with hope with Jesus saying, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” It is God’s good pleasure to give us his rule. Note that it is not God’s good pleasure to support our bias, our prejudice, our hate, our violence, our greed, our self-serving nature, etc. God’s good pleasure is to bring about his rule which will allow life and all of creation to flourish. It may be God’s good pleasure to bring his kingdom but Jesus on the cross is our opinion regarding God’s kingdom. However, Jesus’ resurrection is God’s relentless work to bring life instead. So the hope-filled message is to not be afraid. The invitation is to invest ourselves in the kingdom which does bring life.
Jesus gives this message of hope with a couple points. He does this with the statement to sell our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. The result is to have a treasure in heaven that won’t be taken away. He is inviting us to divest ourselves from the ways of the world that create poverty in the first place. We are to invest ourselves in the ways of God’s rule which bring life. This won’t be taken away from us.
The second point is one that we get backwards. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What we want to say is, “Where my heart is, there my treasure will go.” The problem is that our heart is not focused on God’s kingdom. Jesus was correct: the heart follows where the treasure is invested. If we invest what we treasure to alleviate poverty, that is where our heart will be. If we invest what we treasure in caring for creation, that is where our heart will be. If we invest what we treasure in reducing the hate, that is where our heart will be. If we invest what we treasure in these things of the kingdom, then our hearts will be focused on God’s kingdom of life which is God’s good pleasure to give.
The rest of the Scripture reading is about being watchful and ready for Christ’s return to bring the fullness of God’s kingdom. How will we be ready? Invest the things we treasure in the reign of God now and our hearts will be ready.
This has been a rough week. Remember Jesus words of hope, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”