Where Your Treasure Is...
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)
We are used to thinking about life and passion and investment the opposite way Jesus notes in Matthew 6:22. He says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." We assume where our heart is, there our treasure will be also. If I have a passion for chocolate chip cookies, it stands to reason I will spend some money to buy chocolate chip cookies once in a while. If my hobby and passion is running (it ISN'T!), I will very likely spend money on running shoes and clothing and paraphernalia and even an entry fee into a 5K, marathon or iron man competition (Lord help me! I'm speaking like a crazy man!).
We tend to believe our giving follows our passion. And Jesus says just the opposite. Our giving directs our passion. We love what we invest in. Buy a new car, and at least for a time, one will likely pay a lot of attention to keeping it clean. Support a student in Guatemala through a ministry like Impact Ministries, and the heart is drawn to pray for the child and for Impact Ministries, and to notice what goes on in Guatemala.
We know the drill when it comes to laying up treasures on earth. Spend less than you make and save/invest the difference. Lay aside savings first, then live on what is left. Make saving a priority and rearrange spending to fit with the priority. The same principle applies to tithing as a follower of Jesus. Write the tithe check first and the priority is cemented in practice.
So how does one lay up treasure in heaven? One can hardly write a check to the First National Bank of Glory and send money on ahead. Jesus is using the example of money to point to things that are more important than money! (And it's just like Him to do so!)
In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus says another striking thing: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Every act of service and kindness and love for "the least of these" is a deposit in the First National Bank of Glory! Every act of sacrificial giving for the Kingdom of God through the ministries of my church is a direct deposit in that heavenly bank account.
Laying up treasure in heaven has a lot to do with breaking the preoccupation, even idolatry, of money and living for something higher than myself. And where I invest myself, my passion will follow. Invest my time, my sacrifice, my service and my giving in the things of the Kingdom of God, and my heart will grow to love Jesus, the King of that Kingdom, more and more fully. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Shirley and I tithe. We give ten percent of our gross earnings to the church where we worship and serve. We do so gladly. We love our church and want to see her thrive and grow. We go beyond the tithe in giving to the mission work of our church. And then we give on top of that by sponsoring a child with Impact Ministries and by giving to other needs and ministries as God prompts us.
Why do we give so much? In gratitude. We could never repay Jesus for dying for us on the Cross, and we can never outgive God. We give because He first gave Himself to us. We give for the joy of seeing what God does through our church. We give because Jesus has changed our hearts, and in giving, He continues to change our hearts more and more.
Jesus knew what He was talking about. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And I want my heart to be passionate for the things Jesus has passion for. How about you?