2015 Lent Theme
D. A. W. N.
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PONDERINGS OF PASTOR PAUL….
Matthew 6:21….. for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I have been pondering this short, but powerful, passage for approximately 6 months. Our Stewardship/Giving Team began discussing this theme as a possibility to explore, and it continued to grow on us … resulting in our 2015 Stewardship/Giving theme to be, “Sharing Your Heart’s Treasure”. Simultaneously, our Worship Planning Team has been planning and building services for our new worship theme around the characters of “Wizard of Oz” with the theme, “There’s No Place Like A Peace-Filled Home”. Together these the Stewardship/Giving Theme and the Worship Theme create a powerful backdrop for us to engage fully in our ministry. Through the many gifts of the heart that so many of you share through time – talent – treasure, we are able to continue growing a Peace-Filled Home for many. Thank you to all who are actively engaging in the worship services and considering your heart-felt gifts that will be shared to support our ministry.
As I continue to reflect upon this one, short passage, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”, I became more and more unsettled. God seemed to be working on me – I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when God pushes me to places I really don’t want to go! :-) As I share my challenges with this passage, I hope you too can engage in reflecting on this passage and how your gifts can be more fully utilized…. Not to “do more” but to engage more in who/what we are called to be/do.
Two things about this text have been working on me. One, is the order in which treasure and heart are presented. Maybe a matter of semantics or just too much time on my hands :-), but it has really caused me to reflect. It says, “for where your TREASURE is, there your HEART will be also”. I think like many of us, we want to switch that phrase around, “for where your HEART is, there your TREASURE will be also”. We, in our “have to earn it” culture, live where we want more and more, we like to think that if our heart is big enough; if I do more; if I am just more loving; if I am more compassionate; if I give more money …. I will receive a treasure, a reward, for these good and faithful actions… but that is not what the passage says…. It says that your treasure is first and your heart follows. When we really embody this simple text, we find that the Good News is that the treasure is already in place – the gift of grace and God’s love is present with us – the simple gift of God’s peace is within us. The treasure has been opened and given to us – And once we really engage with the treasure(s) God has given us – once we willingly receive and accept the wonderful treasure/gifts God has given us, our hearts will be overflowing! Our heart’s treasure is the result of simply receiving God’s amazing gift first, and then embodying this gift in our love actions. Once we first receive the treasure, our hearts will be busting out by sharing these gifts!!
The second focus for me, then, is how such a simple, non-invasive passage - which we can all embrace and willingly nod our heads to, and say like good Minnesotan’s, “Isn’t that sweet” - really began gnawing at my core… at my soul. It challenged me to more fully reflect upon and pray about my heart’s treasures and how I am (or more realistically – how I am NOT) using my treasures, my heart’s gifts to the fullest potential God has given me. It has pushed me to step back, think about my faith, my calling, my ministry, and what our calling as followers of Jesus is really all about as we “BE THE CHURCH”! How is our ministry at Peace United Church of Christ providing light and love to our members/friends, but also for those who are poor, homeless, outcast, hurting, alone, etc…??
I do hope and pray that during the next several weeks, as we journey down the road together towards creating a “Peace-Filled Home”, that we personally, and as a church, recognize the treasure’s God has given us and let our hearts explode by sharing these treasures with the world around us!
Blessings and Peace, my friends,