Where Is Your Treasure?
“Do not be afraid little flock…” I love the beginning of this gospel reading from Luke 12:32-40, it is comforting to know that Jesus was addressing a small group: “Do not be afraid little flock…”
But Luke 12:32-40 can be fairly said to contain mixed metaphors, in fact, you might even say that it is a symbolic salad rich with borrowed imagery: a chef’s salad of mixed metaphors:
Flock, kingdom, Father, purse, thief, moth, lamps, wedding banquet, door, knocking, belt, master, slaves, sitting, eating, house, kingdom.
Yes, this passage employs a great amount of symbolic language in a few sentences.
‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
‘Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes;
truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
‘But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’ Luke 12:32-40
If we wanted to express the meaning today of what is written in this passage, but do so without the use of symbolic language it might sound something like this:
Do not be afraid, God desires to bless you in the divine reign. Sell your possessions and give offerings. Hold onto the spiritual for that is what matters and does not fade away. For whatever you value, draws your devotion to it. You will be blessed by your holy attention.
Be ready for those moments of spiritual awareness. Those who are spiritually alert will be blessed. Truly, I tell you, God desires to be present in your life and give you spiritual blessings. Blessings can come at any time, so be spiritually aware at all times. Christ’s promised return, (however it is experienced), can transpire at any time. You also must be ready, for Christ is coming at an unexpected hour.
I am able to read this passage therefore, as an invitation to spiritual formation and a call for holy attention. While this passage often leads to a discussion of stewardship and giving by preachers like me, at its heart it draws attention to the holy. What really matters in life is not possessions and things of monetary value but rather the spiritual reality and mission of the divine realm that Jesus draws attention to in this passage of scripture from Luke. For me and for those I journey with in Community of Christ, what matters most is the mission of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Practices for Today
What metaphors speak to you as an invitation to spiritual formation? Make a list of words and images that are helpful in drawing you closer to God. Spend time meditating upon these words and phrases. Allow the Spirit to dwell in you and draw you closer to God as you open your heart and mind to God’s presence.
Prayer of Invitation
Pray: God of Language and Author of Peace, may you dwell within our hearts and minds and align us with your will. Fill us with your peace. Amen.
What word or phrase do you find yourself wanting to contemplate and explore in this passage?
How is this passage speaking to you today?
Daily Bread and Daily Prayer for Peace
Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:
What is the main point made by the author?
How can this reflection help guide you in spiritual formation today?
Pray the Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
2021 Guiding Question: Are we moving towards Jesus, the peaceful One?