Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6: 21) Your treasure tells the story of your heart. What you value most, it is the basis of your passion, energy and thinking.
Now Jesus urged us to value heaven most; the kingdom of heaven, the rule and way of God shown in Jesus. This is a noble and unfailing focus for our priorities and values. Our treasure being in Jesus and in God’s rule describes the orientation and values of a follower of Jesus.
That is the big question Jesus poses. But other more nuanced questions follow: If your treasure is in Jesus what other treasures is it displacing or what else is fighting for treasure status for us?
I have to say I am never 100% going for it with Jesus, as much as I wish I was. If I recognize this I can become aware of competing priorities. Then I can face and address them. If we don’t see or acknowledge competing motivations then they will run wild.
I know that Jesus is primarily addressing the motivation of money and possessions. But his words can also apply to status and power. It could be that my treasure is my position, my role – that is what my heart is set on. That is challenging; have I ever realized that I am wedded to the role I play and can’t let go or struggle to see others take a key role? If so then position and power have become my treasure – even for a good cause.
Jesus goes a little further saying; “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…” Matthew 6: 19
Storing up treasure, draws our attention to the process I go about accumulating treasure. I can also be aware to processes I am going about to generate treasure. Storing up is about the ways we go about reaching our goals. So, we may ask – how am I going about storing up treasure? What is my method of investment? Supporting others, praying, giving or simply watching from the sidelines? Am I seeking a noble aim in an unhealthy way?
My last question is about the relationship between heart, treasure and storing up.
In recent weeks I have had many conversations with people looking at their priorities, passions and balance of life. Your treasure tells the story of your heart, your heart needs to be expressed in living. In this, I am aware that we all hold priorities that we care about and that we have a deep need and potential to play a specific part in reaching that priority. If heart, treasure and storing up are not in harmony we experience disheartening imbalance.
For some this is a question of admitting what these things are? For some it is creating space in the midst of work and family pressures to allow heart, treasure and storing up to grow. Maybe we need to order life and work, maybe we need to do something differently?
So we can ask: What is my treasure – what matters to me most?
How am I storing up – what am I doing to contribute to what matters to me?
In what I am doing am I doing things a bad way, a good way and could there be a better way?
So, without a doubt, Jesus is talking about our ultimate treasure in him and the priority of the Kingdom. Clearly we cannot adjust to this and turn from misplaced ways without Jesus’ help and our intent.
It is worth taking a deeper look at our treasure, heart and storing up and in the process to remember that a person is worth what the object of their heart is worth. From Jesus this is both a gift and a challenge.
Graham Brownlee, October 2019