Jesus said to his disciples, "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."
Jesus said, “Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, and unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
How many of you have purses? How many of you have wallets? Now think about how many purses or wallets you have had in your lifetime. For me at least it seems that every few years I need a new wallet. It begins to look tattered and I decide to get a new one.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had a wallet or purse and every year we had it, it got better and better looking and even shinier and newer? That is what Jesus is telling us will happen. Of course Jesus in not talking about purses at all. He is using a metaphor. Purses are used to hold things that have value.
I could pick this reading apart and explain it to death but I really feel you understand his message and no more need be said. And yet, let me briefly expound on his message.
Jesus is giving us a value check. He is asking us what we treasure? Do we treasure things like cars, houses, money, and status. Or, do we value friendship, love, and giving?
Jesus also tells us to be watchful because we do not know when the Son of Man is coming. That does not mean we are to be generous to the poor because it will be a good deal for us when our time comes. Jesus statement, “for where the treasure is there your heart will be.” I firmly believe that when we do things like feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and clothing the naked, in other words showing outward signs of love for our neighbor, we undergo a change. Our hearts change.
Remember the story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Ebeneezer Scrooge got it all mapped out for him, He saw how he had been. He saw how he was in the present and he got a glimpse of his future. Of course at the end of the story Ebeneezer is a changed man. He became generous, thoughtful, and sensitive to the hardships around him. He stopped worrying about the coins he had stored in his purse and the irony was that the more generosity he showed the richer he became. His wealth was now measured in the love he gave and the love he received.
A Christmas Carol is a classic piece of literature and it is a reminder to all of us that life's treasures are truly stored in the purse that is our heart.