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Lesson for Chapel Services on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Ash Wednesday

A READING FROM THE BOOK OF MATTHEW

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your father who sees in secret will reward you.

 And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

THE WORD OF THE LORD

                                                            and the People respond, “Thanks be to God.”

 

My mother opened a checking account for me when I turned 14 in August of 1968. I was given a monthly allowance and at the end of the month, I had to give Mom an accounting of how I had spent my money. At first, I was spending about 95% of my income on purchases for me, mostly clothes and beauty products. One day, Mom wrote on my checkbook cover,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Matthew 6: 21 (King James Version)

It made me mad for a few months, but Mom didn’t criticize my spending. Then the quotation had me feeling a bit of shame. I bought my brother Jeff the relatively expensive model monster he wanted for his birthday. Do you remember those? This one was Godzilla. You put together the plastic model with glue and then painted it.

Months passed until one day, I asked Mom how I could make a pledge from my allowance to Trinity Church. Over a year, I worked up my pledge from 5% to 10%. I quickly learned that if I wrote the check to the church first thing every month, I felt good all month about meeting what I came to see as an obligation to help the Church help others.

Now it is a debit card history I review every month and I look at my credit card use as well. Join me this season of Lent to look at the relationship between our treasure and our heart.