Our scripture this morning is ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭19‬-‭24.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

Jesus spoke often about money and material possessions. His lessons focused on the fact that none of this will mean anything in eternity and we must not let wealth keep us from a relationship with God and each other. There are two striking examples of this in the Gospel of Luke which show both sides of the issue.

In Luke 18:18-23 we hear the story of the Rich Young Ruler who said he had kept the Law all his life, but was unable to let go of his money and follow Jesus. His love of money was greater than His love for God. Contrast this with the story of Zacchaeus, found in Luke 19:1-10. A hated tax collector confesses Jesus as Lord, makes restitution for his ill-gotten gains and also donates to the poor. Each of these men were in a similar situation but the one who had followed the Law was unwilling to follow Jesus, while the sinner repented. Each of us must make this choice for ourselves.

Money is merely one example of the things that can separate us from God. Anything that prevents us from having a full and loving relationship with God and each other is a stumbling block to our faith. We must look for the things in life that keep us from truly connecting with our Heavenly Father and our brothers and sisters, and work to remove those obstacles.

Loving Lord, we are sorry for the things we allow to interfere with our connection with You and one another. Help us to let go of earthly things and care for everyone as You care for us. Amen.

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