When I was a college student at the University of Texas I heard many a sermon during Sunday morning worship, Sunday night worship, and through Wednesday lunch at the Baptist Student Ministries. Some focused on discipleship, others on spiritual gifts, and still others on the Great Commission. However, one of the sermons I heard about missions was seared not only into my memory, but also onto my heart.
One night the brother-in-law of my college minister spoke about missions. I remember he was preaching to us from the Bible and was speaking of giving. He was encouraging us as college students to keep our financial priorities in order when we graduated. He noted how easily it is to get lured in by what the world finds alluring and a necessity. However, he challenged us, “When you grow up and you have your job, you live in a medium-sized house and drive a medium-sized car and give the rest of your money to missions.”
It has been over a decade since I heard that sermon, and while memory doesn’t bring to mind the text he preached from that night, I have never forgotten that sentence. All too often our “needs” drive our financial priorities. We “need” a bigger television. We “need” a bigger, more-fully loaded vehicle. We “need” a bigger house to store all the stuff that we don’t use but that we “needed” at the time it was purchased. We spend a lot of money on needs that aren’t really needs.
People all around the world need Jesus Christ. This need is so much deeper than the need I have when I go shopping for clothes or peruse the list of book recommendations at my favorite bookstore. However, how do I prioritize the need of those around the world when it comes to my financial priorities? Do I put my need for more stuff ahead of giving to missions so that another might come to know Christ? In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus Himself said, “…for where your treasure is, there your heart will also be” (Matt. 6:21).
Ever since hearing that sermon as a college student a question runs through my mind before I purchase a “need”: Am I taking away from what I would give to missions to buy this?
The answer to that question is evidence of my heart.
Where is my treasure?
Where is yours?