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Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. - Matthew 6:21 (NLT)
One day, as a kid, I took a walk from my house to the bank just down the street. I triumphantly carried a genuine John F. Kennedy Bicentennial Half-Dollar coin into the bank. I was there to discover how much it was worth. I was prepared for the bank-teller to call their co-workers to come have a look. I imagined the other patrons looking over, envying the riches about to pour into my hands. I slapped the coin on the counter, nudged it across, and said, “What do you think this is worth?” To my chagrin, she didn’t skip a beat before saying, “Fifty cents.”
What?! I was so disappointed.
Even today, while there are some Kennedy Half-Dollars that are worth up to 25 times the face value, that Bicentennial coin is still just worth… face value. I had been so enamored with it that I think I held onto it for a few more weeks but finally spent it on something I felt was more valuable than a dumb coin that was just gathering pocket lint. It just wasn’t something worth treasuring.
What does the word “treasure” bring to your mind? Wooden chests in sunken ships, piles of gold coins in a dragon’s lair? Money, possessions, stuff? That’s “treasure”, the noun; the person, place, or thing that holds our attention and affection. The stuff that holds our hearts and thoughts.
But there’s another meaning the word “treasure” can convey. One that speaks to how you yearn for something, think about it, dwell on it. That’s “treasure”, the verb. The action word. This “treasure” is our attention and affection. We can aim this at the “stuff”, all the Treasure Nouns out there. But we can also focus it on something way more valuable. Something eternal. And Someone greater than anything this little planet has to offer. Jesus. The only Treasure worth treasuring.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. - Matthew 6:20 (NLT)
We took my 6-year-old to his first UK game at Rupp Arena a few weeks ago. Welcome to the tribe, son... this is The Big Blue Nation. Can you imagine being that small in such a big place? It’s awe-inspiring. And he talked about it for days afterward.
When you look around in Rupp Arena, you will see and hear lots of things. The colors declaring the allegiance of fans. The sounds of cheering and the band. It’s tons of fun. But you’ll also see people whose lives are completely immersed in a game. Some even to the point of worship.
But with all the sights, sounds, and dizzying spectacle, if you’d looked our direction that night, you’d have seen a little boy whose priority and focus, whose attention and affection, was boiled down to one thing: The Concession Stand. He ate pizza, barbeque, popcorn. And he was all about sharing the goodies with his mom and dad. He’d have even shared with the Texas A&M fans in front of us if they’d asked!
Bottom line: you could tell what he treasured. He didn’t get tense when the Wildcats fell behind the Aggies. He didn’t blink when the roar of the crowd crescendoed as the Big Blue tied the game. He didn’t care who won or lost. He doesn’t even fully comprehend the game. Of course, he knows the right answer to the question, “What’s your favorite color, baby?” But he also inspires me to treasure things that won’t get moth-eaten or rust away: being grateful, living in the moment, and enjoying the people who matter. I hope to be more like him when I grow up.
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. - Matthew 6:19 (NLT)
Can I take us on a tangent about automated conveniences in public restrooms? This won’t be one of those back-in-my-day stories. I just want to take a moment to think about commitment. In a sense, the way a company outfits the restroom they offer their patrons demonstrates the level of thoughtfulness in their organization. Stick with me now...
Have you been there? The public restroom where you’ve got the usual accoutrements: a toilet, a soap dispenser, a sink, a trash-can and a hand drying option. And a few are electronic while the others are still old-school. In my mind, you have got to be all in or all out. If I wave my hand for the soap, I expect to wave my hand for water from the sink. If I wave to a sensor at the sink, I’m ready for another hand-wave at the nuclear-powered hand dryer. And if you’ve gone this far, throw in an automatic door, so I don’t miss the paper towel from the all-analog restroom that I use to open the door without getting infected with everyone’s germs.
I know, I know. All this moaning about a totally first-world problem. Aren’t we supposed to be talking about treasure? Right. Well, let’s look back to the word Commitment. All in or all out. Jesus said it this way in Revelation 3: Be hot or cold, people; if you’re lukewarm, I’ll spit you out. There’s no middle ground with our priorities. It’s not just about the offering you put in the bucket on Sunday, but every aspect of the life you offer to God. We can’t keep God in one corner of our lives and not let Him invade another.
God wants our entire life. So commit already and let Him in. You don’t have to be weird about it… here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (Romans 12:1, MSG) It’s what God wants. It’s what we need.Share Tweet
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. - Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT)
I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. But I’m legally blind. Super-ultra-nearsighted. I can only see clearly for about six inches. If I didn’t have glasses to correct my vision, I’d be completely lost. So outer space is out of the question. I’m stuck on the planet.
But not completely. Because we can still escape Earth’s atmosphere any time by moving from outer space to inner space. Us dreamers can still get into the heavens in our minds. The brain’s volume is merely 70 cubic inches, but our inner space is infinitely vast. In our minds we can imagine, dream, discover, learn.
Whether you’re an astronaut or just a dreamer like me, what our eyes allow into our inner space is critical. Jesus describes our eyes as being like a lamp for our entire body. Now, Jesus isn’t just talking about our eyesight, but about everything we long for, value, and desire. If our eyes view and value the world in a healthy way, our whole life will be well. But if our eyes stray toward and long for lesser things, our life will suffer as a result.
But hasn’t Jesus been talking about treasure in this passage? What’s with this eye-stuff tucked away in the middle of His money-talk? It’s because Jesus is more concerned with the way we think… which leads to what we value. And then to what we do. What we believe leads us to actions and reactions. For good or ill. Ultimately, what we do reflects our inner space, our hearts, and minds. And what’s happening in that inner space is either filled with light. Or consumed with darkness.
No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. - Matthew 6:24 (NLT)
My favorite scene from the TV show The Office is when the boss, Michael Scott, is in the break room with the contents of a trash can emptied on the floor. He’s busily sorting it when he’s informed that they don’t recycle. In response, he asks why he’s been separating the trash into whites and colors... for eight years? Applying a laundry strategy to the recycling is a great example of completely missing the point. His silly mixup is similar to what we do when we get our priorities out of whack with our treasure. You just can’t take it with you when you die.
When our saving, gathering, collecting, or hoarding shrinks our willingness to give, when we’re enslaved to our earthly treasures, something is broken and we’re completely missing the point. Jesus reminds us to pay attention to eternity, not just the few short years we spend on this planet. He says, don’t you think [God will] attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. (Matthew 6:30-33, MSG)
At the end of the week, can you truly say: “I love what I do, who I have, what I’ve got… but I will give it to God. All of it.” It’s His anyway. He’s letting you use it. Do you have plenty? God wants you to share it. Are you in need? God wants to provide for you. Trust your Good Father. And open your hands to give and receive from His stores of real treasure. Treasure that lasts. Treasure you can take with you. Love. Joy. And more. What more could you want?