“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Follow your heart, they say. It starts early with many a Disney anthem and trails along as we grow up. It’s a notion that has permeated the Church, where some pretty warped gymnastics take place in an effort to define the will of God for the investment of our time, talents, and resources. But while I have heard at least 45 different sermons on this passage, and can find an equal number of different decorative prints that feature it at Hobby Lobby, I recently started looking at it in a new (to me) light.
Passion is something that a lot of people are, well, passionate about these days. Feelings, emotions – they dictate a lot of important decisions. Do what you love, love what you do; pursue the things that makes you come alive; find “the one” you love. Sounds familiar, right? In the context of the body of Christ, these ideas are spiritualized: as long as you’re following the Lord and putting first the things of God, you can be confident in choosing a school/job/career/spouse that you know will make you happy because that’s where your heart will lead you. (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been given that piece of advice…) On the flip side, how many times do people de-commit from something because they’re just not feeling it anymore, or their interest has veered in another direction?
In the verse, notice that the investment of the treasure, not the heart, comes first. I don’t know about you, but I’m not much in the habit of investing my time, hard-earned money, or myself in things that I’m not sure I will use or enjoy. But in one sense, what if that’s exactly what Jesus is asking for? Maybe I’m afraid to commit my “treasure” without a certain measure of enthusiasm or other emotion. But what if the return on faith and obedience is a promise that transformation will take place and our “heart” will follow?
We do not have to wonder where our treasure should be invested; Jesus tells us exactly what He values. Sometimes He may call us to commitments that are scary up front or lose their appeal over time. Duty and devotion are not the most thrilling words in the English language, and don’t get me wrong – I do not personally hold some dry, puritanical viewpoint on this subject. But I am asking myself this: what am I not risking because I don’t see the reward? What would Jesus choose for me that I might not choose for myself? What stretching, what heart-change, what transformation of passion am I missing out on because I have not first believingly entrusted my treasure to Him?
“Could it be that He is only waiting there to see/if I will learn to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me?” – Twila Paris
“Let not love appear to thee as a stern duty, or an arduous effort; rather look to Jesus, yield thyself up to His gracious charms till thou art ravished with His beauty and preciousness.” – C.H. Spurgeon