Thursday, February 07, 2013

Treasure and Heart

In a previous blog, on the topic of "home," I mentioned a shift in my thinking ... that "home" should not be viewed as a point of origination, but rather, a destination. I also said that "home" is the convergence of treasure and heart.

And I think this last statement, in particular, needs a little more unpacking. As I have grown in my Christian walk, in recent years, a Jesus teaching that has become very meaningful to me is Matthew 6:21 (repeated in Luke 12:34):
"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
At first I think this verse appeared (to me) deceptively simple. I think I read it almost in reverse: "where your heart is, there will your treasure be." It took awhile for the context, the meaning, and the implications of this teaching to sink in.

The context is investment ... where we invest the resources God has entrusted to us. In verse 19, Jesus says: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ..." and in verse 20, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven." We are all given different measures of resources, according to the grace and will of God. (This is one teaching of the parable of the talents.) Those resources will come in the form of time, energy, creativity, talent, skills, money and possessions, people we influence, etc. In the parable of the talents Christ laid out the how ... the expectation of God that we will invest those resources boldy ... not simply "hide them in the sand" out of fear.

And now, Christ lays out the where we should invest them. Here there are two choices only: earth ... or heaven. And the clear implication is that any investment in the things of earth is transitory; it will be consumed, corrupted, rust, or even be stolen away. Conversely, any investment in heaven and the things of heaven is eternal; none of this decay will eat away at the value of our investment.

Then verse 21 is the clincher, and establishes such an important spiritual principle: Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What does Scripture mean by its use of the word "heart?" I think we understand this best when we tell a lover, "You have captured my heart!" Our heart is our soul ... our mind, will, and emotions. It is that place where the deepest motivations of the human experience are felt and acted upon.

Any serious reading of Scripture reveals God's expectation that we be in Him with our whole hearts, that we be passionate for His Kingdom; panting after Him as the deer pants for the water; "delighting ourselves" in the Lord! Such a state cannot be without a fully devoted heart.

If our heart is not fully enraptured with ("invested in") Heaven, therefore, the answer is that our treasure must be somewhere else. For, if we invest our treasure in the things of Heaven, our hearts will follow.

Many Christians complain about (or possibly struggle silently with) a perfunctory, dutiful spiritual life. They may read Scripture, but it feels dull and meaningless. They may pray, but they fall asleep in boredom. Where is the passion?

This state of affairs leaves them a far cry from the man depicted in Christ's parable in Matthew 13:44 ...
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
"In his joy" he went and "sold all he had and bought that field." He went all in ... consolidated his resources and invested them all in the treasure ... not a penny withheld! And he did so with an abundance of joy and excitement, knowing that his investment would surely pay huge dividends. For he had found the secret pearl of great price, and his reward would be as far beyond the value of his previous holdings as the heavens are higher than the earth!

Shortly before Jesus departed this earth, He said, "My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." Our ultimate home is that place where we are to lay up treasure, that place where our heart will also be found as a result: Heaven! Home is the convergence of treasure and heart.

Do you find today that your heart is weary, tired of the decay? Earth is governed by the law of entropy. The second law of thermodynamics says that all things wind down, that energy leaks out of the system and dissipates. All we invest in here will ultimately decay, rust, or be stolen from us. None of it will last.

Ask the Lord, "What have You given me that I can invest in heaven, offering it back to You?" Identify the treasure God has entrusted to you, and understand how you can invest that treasure in heaven rather than in earth. Your heart will follow along behind your investment as surely as a faithful dog follows its master.

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