What’s in Your Treasure Chest?
- Written by Jody Vickery Jody Vickery
- Published: 14 July 2017 14 July 2017
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also,” (Mt. 6:21). In the Bible, the heart is the control center for the emotions, the will, the intellect of a human being. Your heart is the place where you feel joy, sorrow, fear, courage and every other emotion. It is the place where we decide, where our choices are made.
The Bible talks about laying things to heart – that is, considering them carefully. The heart can devise plans and carry them out. Heart is the Bible word for your interior life – thoughts, emotions, intellect and will.
Jesus said that whatever you treasure has your heart. Kind of adds new meaning to the image of a treasure chest. So how do you know whether what you treasure is earthly – and therefore temporary, illusory and unstable – or heavenly? Here are seven uncomfortable questions to find out.
Are you a praying person?
Prayer is the check engine light on the dashboard. It’s the canary in the coal mine. The early warning system. If you are not praying regularly, something is wrong. It could be that you are not praying because you don’t think you need God. All your needs are being met – or you think they can be met – by something in creation. So you don’t feel a real need to turn to the creator. If you aren’t praying, your treasures may be earthbound.
Do you have a “boat?”
I’m speaking metaphorically. Every time I drive by a boat with a for sale sign slapped on its elegant, sloping windshield, I turn into Tolkien’s Gollum: “We wants it! We needs it! Must have the precious!” Imagine the evangelism I could do in a boat! “See, here is water – what doth hinder thou to be baptized?”
Is there something – some thing – that you think will complete you, make you happy, fulfill your dreams? My “boat” is a boat. Maybe yours is a car. Or a house. Or another person. If you have a “boat” – some thing you think you must have to be complete – you are treasuring the wrong things.
Is your phone a scoreboard?
Your phone, your tablet or laptop is a marvelous device. We can keep up with each other more effectively. We can text important information, send encouraging words. If we get in trouble we can call for help. Grandparents love getting pictures of their grandchildren. You can call your mom any time. (You should call your mom.) But we can also use these devices as nothing more than a scoreboard. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and all the others can become just one more way to compare ourselves to others. I follow a guy on one of my social accounts who is constantly posting pictures of these sumptuous meals he’s eating, of exotic places he’s visiting, important things he’s thinking and interesting people he’s meeting. If I’m not careful, I can feel the envy rising up within me. And when I feel envy, I know I’m treasuring the wrong things.
Is your spending driven more by your diversions or by your devotion to God?
Forget about shelter, transportation, food and medical care. I’m not talking about the necessities. Think about what you spend on entertainment, vacations, golf, concerts, the theater, SEC football weekends – your diversions. There is nothing wrong with getting away from it all and enjoying life. But if I am spending more on my amusement than I am on the things that awaken God’s concern, it’s kind of hard to say that I’m laying up treasures in heaven.
Do your kids spend more time pursuing athletic, artistic or academic trophies than they do pursuing spiritual priorities?
I know that it’s not necessarily one or the other. Oakland Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr recently signed a 125 million dollar five year contract. When reporters asked him what he was going to do with the money, the first thing he said he was going to do was tithe to his church. Then he said this about the money: “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands, because it’s going to help people, not only in this country, but a lot of countries around the world.” Being active in sports, the arts and academia is exactly where Christians need to be. But often, we parents get starry-eyed and entertain thoughts of raising up the next great American athlete, actor, novelist or musician. And we schedule God right out of our kids’ lives.
Is generosity a part of your budget or do you only give on impulse?
This one’s important for two reasons – if generosity is a part of my budget, that means I have made it a priority. I have decided in advance that I am going to intentionally devote a part of my earthly treasure to a heavenly purpose. Second, making generosity a part of my plan protects me from guilt-driven, impulse giving. When guilt is why we give, it is not coming from a godly place.
Are you giving your life for your treasures or did your treasure give his life for you?
I’m indebted to Tim Keller for this one. He said that every other treasure in the world says, “give your life to purchase me.” Jesus said, “I’m the one treasure that died to purchase you.”
And that is the very heart of the good news.