Purses that Do Not Wear Out
Purses that to not wear out, purses that do not wear out. What does this mean? It is talking about our existence, the existence that does not wear out. Everything wears out as time passes. Our body wears out and even our thinking wears out. It is not fun to experience that when things get older and things wear out, it’s not fun to see it, taste it and experience it. Ruth and Steve, welcome back from your honeymoon.
At their wedding, I notice the difference between thirties, forties, and fifties. Even a few years ago, they weren’t like that. But this year at Ruth’s wedding, they just like to stand around and talk. They didn’t dance and they didn’t do all of these wild things. But they just, I mean, age tells you, everything wears out. I’m wondering whether it is inevitable that our existence is like all other physical things that wear out and get thrown away. Even our existence will wear out and get thrown away. Saint Paul said with entity “No,” he said, “No.” This is what he said, “So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. Our existence does not necessarily wear out.” Do you believe that? I believe that it is important to believe this. It will change our attitude towards life. It will set a different tone for your daily life. I hope that we all also discover that truth or secret that Saint Paul discovered. He never got old. He never wore out. He always got renewed day by day until he died. That is a secret of life. I think all of you are to live like that.
Saint Paul taught us our existence. Our body may wear out, but our existence is not something that wears out and gets thrown away. Our existence can be renewed day by day. But the question for all of us is how we can make this kind of existence. How can we make this kind of life? One thing that I know is that we can never make this kind of life by trying to have more, wanting to live longer, and trying to have the maximum joy of this world. That I know. By trying to have more, you will not have more. By trying to be renewed by having more, you can never, it can never happen. Today Jesus told us, “Sell your possessions and give alms, make purses for yourselves that do not wear out.” Sell your possessions and give alms. It is a metaphor: purses that don’t wear out, the existence that doesn’t wear out.
To Give Away
It is possible by selling your possessions and give alms to those who need it. So not by trying to have more, but by trying to share more you’ll experience the renewed existence in your life. You know, it is strange logic. It is strange logic. The more you give away, the more abundance you experience. It’s a paradox. The more you give away, you experience more abundance, but that paradox is a truth that Jesus taught us. This is what Jesus said, “For those who want to save their life will lose it. And those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” This is a paradoxical truth, but that is really the truth. Greed kills humanity, sacrifice saves the humanity. That’s what Jesus showed through his life. Greed kills us, but sacrifice saves all of us. The secret of finding our life is not in trying to it for ourselves, but in giving away for a good cause. When we are able to give away our life for the noble cause of loving others, we don’t lose life. We find it. And that was the message Jesus showed through his teaching and also through his life.
Now when people see themselves wear out, as they get older, they experience this scarcity. They see everything run out. For example, money runs out, health runs out, time runs out and they get scared. Everything is running out. So out of their fear, what are they trying to do? They try to grab it, grab it as much as possible, but that’s a mistake. By grabbing it, you will not overcome your scarcity. At the wedding at Cana, when wine ran out, who filled it? It was Jesus who filled it. When things run out in your life by trying to grab it, you can not, you can never fill it. That’s when you turn to Jesus. Jesus fills our empty existence with his abundance, with his grace. By trying to have more, you can never have it. My friends, we need faith. When we live our lives with faith, we realize that giving away is not really a loss, but rather a gain. Giving away is a beautiful thing we discover when we have faith. People who try so hard not to give away, their existence will be robbed.
A Precious Heart
Last week, a few days ago, somebody called me and then she said, “I heard that the Korean nursing home project was not successful. It will not happen.” And she told me out of naivety, “I’m not sure whether it works or not,” but she wanted to give me two acres of the land and then asked me, “Can you build it?” I don’t know how to build it. I don’t know how much it will cost and whether that is really the best place. I don’t know whether it will work or not, but the heart of trying to give away two acres of land is a pretty big land.
That heart is what is precious. You know, the Eaton Center that you go to all the time, the whole Eaton Center land belongs to Knox Spadina Church, that is at Spadina and Harbord. There’s a Presbyterian church. The whole land belongs to that church and the Northern part from Queen and up, they sold it. But Queen and down is still theirs. Millions of dollars come in every year for renting, and they give away that money to those missionaries there. That’s why they can send so many missionary still. You know what happened? A few decades ago, about 30 to 40 years ago, one person donated the whole land to this church. And based on that land, they’re continuing that wonderful, amazing work of mission. Giving away is a beautiful thing. When you have it, you just have it. But when you give away, you don’t know what fruit you will bear, in life, in the world. Listen carefully, “Sell your possessions and give alms and make purses for yourselves that to not wear out on unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” That’s Jesus’ word.
Faith is Generosity
When you have faith, you appreciate the value of generosity. Money cannot save us. Power cannot save us. But when you use that money and power for the people who need it, they will help you make the purse that does not wear out. It is neither the money nor the power that saves you, but your generosity. To me, faith is generosity. Faith is not just feeling. Faith is not sentiment. Faith is not just a sending to the doctrine. To me, faith is generosity because Jesus gave away his life. Jesus gave away everything he had. Believing in Jesus means generosity.
But as you look at the world around us, the haves exploit the have nots. When the world becomes like that, the world will become corrupt and it will be destroyed. All the kingdoms in the past, that’s how they were destroyed. They became selfish and greedy, rather than sharing the power and money they had with others. People who have more should share with people who have less. That is the right thing to do. That is the human thing to do. And I’m very glad to see a lot of us, a lot of you are being very, very generous. I saw you being generous. I’m very thankful to God for that. That is what faith is. Our young people went on missions. Today, we heard from Monica in KSM. They learned the importance of sharing their time, their skills, and their energy with others who are in need. From when they’re young, we have to teach them how to give, how to share. When they play with toys, we need to tell them, “you share with your friend.” That’s what we should teach them. That’s the most valuable lesson that we should teach. Our kids are people. Sharing is a beautiful thing.
Dreaming the World Jesus Dreamt Of
When the world is not like that, when the leader of this world tells you otherwise, we should speak against that kind of selfish rhetoric. We should speak against that because we believe that sharing is the right thing to do and the human thing to do.
“But as you look at this world, socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Rich gets all the benefits, assistance,” this is what Martin Luther King Jr said, it’s not what I said. This is what Adam Sandler said, “I cannot get rid of this, man. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. The more money you make they give you more free stuff they give you. It makes no sense.” But that is so true. When you have lots of money, you get more things as a benefit. When you don’t have anything, you get nothing. That was not the world Jesus dreamt of. We should dream the world Jesus dreamt of. We may not be able to change the world just like that, but at least we should not lose that dream. We should continuously try to live out that dream. Be generous, give your heart for each other.
Treasure is Where Your Heart Is
Jesus said that treasure, that purse is a treasure in heaven. And he also said, “where your treasure is your heart is.” If your treasure is in heaven, then your heart is in heaven. How peaceful, how heavenly a life you will live. The real secret of living a life that is renewed day by day is by giving away, not having more. When you give away, when you learn, when you know how to give away, then you will have eternal life. You will have renewed existence. Every moment you will become big. Your heart becomes big and you will live on an abundant life. But when you’re selfish and greedy, your life will become smaller and smaller. Your existence will be robbed. The moth will destroy it. But when you’re generous, your heart is in heaven. You’ll be renewed. That’s how to gain eternal life, that’s how to gain the renewed existence in our lives. Be generous. Give away what you have as much as you can, your life, your time, your money, your possessions, everything. Don’t live just for yourself. That’s not what success is, that’s stupidity, that’s foolishness.