“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.”
Few, if any of us, will admit to being materialistic.
The very word seems like profanity in Christian circles.But let me pose to you a very simple question. How much did you worry about anything that had to do with the Kingdom of God? Compared to how much you worried about your finances, your work, your kid’s college, or your car?
Christ’s use of the word “treasure” in these verses really captures the essence of our human condition.
Nowadays we can justify these treasures as necessities.
Not one of you would want to be compared to Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. So totally obsessed with the ring in his refrain of “precious, precious.” That’s what Gollum’s value of the ring was—precious.
We are guilty of assigning value to our own treasures. In fact, countries all over the world assign value to pieces of paper. We call these pieces of paper, some very elaborate indeed, money.
These pieces of paper have no real tangible worth. It is not the paper, ink, or design that is worth the value assigned to it.
In the same way, in our own lives, we must be careful not to assign too much value to our treasures, lest they start to control our hearts.
What controls our hearts will control our behavior.
When we become dependent on something, the fear of losing that specific something creates worry. And worry produces anxiety, and not far behind comes stress.
Time and time again in my Christian-coach practice, the continual cause of strife in people’s lives boils down to two things—finance and romance.
And most marriages seem to improve in direct correlation with their financial well-being.
We have been trained from a very early age to assign great importance to little pieces of paper. They have been used to motivate us, to punish us, and to bring us joy. How then can we retrain our thoughts to relieve ourselves from the dependence on the physical? We have to become better soldiers in this war for our hearts, fighting off the temptation to get too attached to physical things. The answer is always found in Jesus’ words, for “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Where is your treasure and where is your heart?
When you take the time each day cognitively to grow in your relationship with Christ, you gain a deeper understanding of your role for which you were created.
You start rehearsing that role until you become that part in the play that is playing out right now.
Now, God is waiting for you to step into the spotlight in faith and make that role your very own.
It is at this jumping-off point that our lives will not become like so many movie stars becoming self-centered and constantly wanting their ever-increasing needs met.
In fact, the exact opposite happens. When you star in God’s movie, you realize it is about something bigger than your needs. It is about eternity and all the promises and provisions God has promised you.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). All of this flies in the face of what the world tells us we need. If the teachings of the world are true, then why is there so much bitterness and discontent as a result of this mindset?
Take a deep breath. It is going to be okay. If you are feeling overwhelmed, a good place to start is with the Serenity Prayer.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Now that you have done that, start to make a plan of how you are going to make time to spend with God.
As Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Remember when making your plan, you have to be specific. So make a time and stick to it.
Soon it will become a habit. But it is going to take some effort. However, you will reap a bountiful harvest if you persevere. If you need help with this plan, you can always contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.