CCW Sermon: 21st February 2021 by Malcolm Evans (Parish Reader)
‘A Heart for Home’ - Treasure in Heaven
When David broke up the Sermon on the Mount into sections so that we could focus our sermons over the months, he titled this Sermon: ‘A Heart for Home’.
It is a very good title – although this passage does not mention ‘home’ once. I think the title challenges us to ask “where is our ‘home’ “? Over the last many months, we have probably become all too familiar with ‘home’. And, if the building lorries and vans are anything to go by; there seems to be quite a lot of evidence of people investing in their homes. But, is the bricks and mortar of ‘home’ really where our treasure is?
When we look at the lives of Jesus and his disciples, we see a group of faith leaders separated from their homes. Jesus’ ministry involved constant travel. He encouraged Peter and James & John to give up their fishing trade and follow him away from their homes. St Paul was a tent maker and moved around the Mediterranean world almost constantly. For Jesus and all his Disciples had a more important ‘home’ and it was not in this world.
Jesus told the crowd: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our homes are normally where we keep our ‘treasures’. But you know and I know that the stuff we value is just stuff. I went to put on my best suit to go to a funeral a few weeks ago. The moths had eaten it – it was unwearable. I remember a vanload of family treasures arriving after my Mother died and the look of pure despondency on Mandy’s face. All this stuff… You will have had similar experiences. So where is our ‘home’ and where is our ‘treasure’?
And why is it so important to know where our heart is?
I think I can perhaps answer that, based on many years of training leaders about motivation. We need to understand what moves us to do the things we do – and - if we are to treat our neighbour as ourselves – we need to understand what motivates and moves other people to do the things that they do.
This is where the Sermon on the Mount is so practical and wise in understanding how we as humans really live and move and have our being. We would like to think that our heads govern what we do. But, if we are really honest – it is much more often our heart leading the way and our heads simply following along behind and making up a justification for what our hearts have moved us to do. So, it is really important that we know and understand where our heart is and what is moving us.
We need to have a sound eye to see clearly what is motivating us. And we need a clear will to keep us thinking in the right way. If we have the inner eye of our conscience then we will be able to discern light from dark and right from wrong. And if our heart is in the right place, then our head has a much better chance of helping us to do what is right. So where is our heart and where is our ‘home’?
Jesus told the crowd that you can’t serve two masters. You have to be consistent. If you worry about wealth, it is going to be much more difficult to focus on what really matters in God’s Kingdom. When I was growing up the political theories of Karl Marx had a great potency. His views on religion as ‘the opium of the people’ caused many people to wonder whether the Sermon on the Mount was really a way of limiting human expectations and aspirations – for the advantage of the Capitalist Bosses. But the Sermon on the Mount is not just about our material wellbeing – it is about our life in its entirety.
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