Ash Wednesday (Series B)icon-download-pdf-wp
February 14, 2018

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-21
Epistle: 2 Cor. 5:20-6:10
Lesson: Joel 2:12-19
Psalm: Psalm 119:33-40

CLB Commentary – Rev. Gary Witkop

Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be. Prayer, fasting, giving, doing good works… Is the core of your heart in the things of the Lord? If so, you will find yourself praying, fasting, giving, doing good works and all because the Lord is the center of your heart, not from force, guilt or to earn anything.

Some would divide this text into two or three messages leaving the part of the Lord’s Prayer as a separate message, maybe even several stand-alone messages. We’ve all preached a message or two just on the Lord’s Prayer. However if you take this text as a whole I find that verse 21 becomes the focus. If doing it that way here is a possible outline.

  1. Where is your treasure in giving?Me? Things? Do I give in order to get? Do I give out of guilt? If my treasure is in me or things, my giving is for all the wrong reasons.God? If my treasure is the Lord then my giving is a result of what He has done for me and out of the abundance of what He has given me. A “cheerful giver.”
  2. Where is your treasure in prayer?Me? My things? If my treasure is in me or my earthly treasures, my prayers will tend to be all about what I need or want, or the health and welfare of those I love. This isn’t bad. We need to pray about all things and every issue of our life. But if my treasure is me it will show in that my prayers will tend to be self-centered, or focused only on my issues or those of people close to me.God? If my treasure is the Lord then my prayers will reflect more of the things of the Lord. The Lord’s Prayer in that case becomes a showcase or example to me of what a prayer looks like when it is God focused. “Hallowed be THY name. YOUR Kingdome come, YOUR will be done…”
  3. Where is your treasure in Fasting?
    Me? First if my treasure is me I likely won’t fast, but if I did, it would to be seen as holy or godly by others. It would be fasting for show. I would also likely tell others so that they could see I was suffering for the Lord. It would be about me not God.
    God? If my treasure is God I would not put on a public show of my fasting, I would not want others to know. I would fast in order to focus on the Lord and to find a way to quiet the world and myself for a time.

God, me, things? Where is my treasure? In truth my treasure is almost always about me and or my things. I need forgiveness for that and a savior to help me grow beyond my sinful, selfish self. Romans 7:24 – 25a, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

The Law is that I am selfish in every way. The Gospel is that Jesus sets me free even from that sin and can help me be what I cannot, a person whose real treasure is the Lord.

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