“Where is Your Treasure?”

a sermon based upon Luke 12:29-34

In our Lord’s Prayer, we say: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Isn’t it good to know that when you read the words on the good old American greenback dollar, not only does it say in BIG letters “In God We Trust”, but in the fine print we are assured this bill is “legal tender for all debts public and private”!

So, not only are our “debts” covered by the love of God and the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who forgives our debts -- Hallelujah, praise God! -- but (apparently, if they are to be trusted) by the full authority of the United States federal Treasury! All debts, public and private, can be alleviated if we just get our hands on enough cash!

Have you ever asked yourself: What is money? How’s it work?

I see it as “compressed time” -- or “solidified energy.” Let me explain: We are paid for our hours of labor, for the diligent application of our skills learned over time, and as compensation for the fact that we could have spent those hours elsewhere doing other things for other people. (!) The money I make is in exchange for the hours I gave up to serve the people and programs of Alpena’s First Church. For you, it’s the same principle… whether it is at Besser or at LaFarge, as a teller at the bank or a check-out clerk at Neiman’s, whether you are working for the sheriff or for the school system… or for whomever you make your hours and your skills available for “hire”. You are “exchanging” your hours and your skills for some agreed-to amount of money.

Because you pay my salary, I see my hours being compressed into cash-value; my energies are being solidified into an amount of currency, as a “medium of exchange”… which will be acceptable to others in society -- others, who do not come to this church, nor who expect me to perform any services for them directly. If they get some of my cash, that is enough for them. I don’t need to preach at them, or to counsel them, teach them or heal them. They accept the “compressed cash value” -- the “solidified energy” -- the money.

Using money as a “medium of exchange” frees us up to do things at a distance, to engage in commerce with vendors who would not otherwise barter with me. The notion of “singing for your supper” is a thing of the past. In today’s economy, we simply pay the singer in cash so that they can then go to the restaurant (or grocery store) of their choice to get their own supper for themselves.

Money is our “medium of exchange” -- the basis of our “trade-agreements” (in the original meaning of that word). We “trade”… That is, we exchange our products or services into money/currency, so that we can then “exchange” that cash/currency back into whatever goods and services that we want. Or we can save it.

Now, I know you knew all this. But perhaps you never really thought about it. Perhaps you never realized that your money represents your life -- accumulated by the sweat & toil of your brow, and all the hours you had to spend to earn it.