What captivates you? What do you think about? What do you treasure? What do you spend doing longer than you perhaps ought to? What do you spend your money on?
Shopping has become a national obsession – the traffic queue outside our church heading for the shopping centre at one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon suggests that the traditional family Sunday meal together is not the national pursuit it used to be.
How many hours do you spend each week looking at a screen, whether on a TV or a computer or on social media? Whatever the heart pursues will take charge in our lives. If we pursue fleshly pursuits we will care less for the things of the Spirit but if we pursue the things of the Spirit we will concern ourselves less with the flesh. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden there has been an ongoing battle between flesh and Spirit. Where the pursuit of riches holds dominion in the heart, God has lost His authority within.
Where is your heart?
Matthew tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (6:21, NKJV). Here Jesus is telling us that our heart (our desires, hopes, wants) is closely tied to our treasure. In fact, your heart follows your treasure. If Jesus alerts us to this powerful tug of our heart it must be something we should pay close attention to. If you want to find out where your treasure is then examine your bank and credit card statements –and you will see which side of this tug-of-war is winning. What are you spending your money on after the basic bills are taken care of? Your priorities will be evident from these statements. The spending of your treasure indicates where your heart is.
What’s your attitude?
C. S Lewis said:
“He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God.”
The word ‘everything’ is a big word when it applies to mankind, but it diminishes greatly when mankind applies it to God.
There is a powerful correlation between a person’s true spiritual condition and his or her attitude and actions concerning money and possessions. Jesus linked money and salvation together in Luke 19:9 when Zaccheus said he would give money back to the poor and pay back four times over to anyone he had cheated. Contrast that with the rich young ruler who had kept God’s commandments but when he asked Jesus how he might inherit eternal life. Jesus replied, “Go sell your possessions and give to the poor, then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Jesus knew that wealth owned this man rather than the other way round. He said it was easier for a camel to get down on its belly and try to crawl through a very small opening than it was for a rich man to give up all his riches and enter the kingdom of God. That same challenge is just as impossible today as it was when Jesus spoke these words.
It has been said that our perspective on handling money is a litmus test of our true character. It is also an index of our true spirituality.
If you are on the path to heaven you should not be conformed to the ways of this world – no matter how hard the path. The reality is that conformity is as natural as swimming downstream. Have you ever tried to swim against the current? It is hard and sometimes you even lose ground. Where does a person go to get proper instruction? Books, magazines and the internet are filled with advice and various plans on how to make, spend, save and invest money. How blessed we are to have the Bible from where we get the perfect plan from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord; “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust does not corrupt and thieves do not steal” (Matthew 6:20).
Martin Luther stated, “each of us must have the conversion of the heart and mind and purse.”
Let us assume that you have had the conversion of the heart. Now we must take on a new attitude by changing our minds to accord with that of Christ. If our mind is changed, God will again own all that is in the world - and He will also have your purse. He already owns it but does it own us? We must allow Him to be Lord of both our life and our treasures.
Based on the above, what is your treasure?
Words of Wisdom
Christians cannot experience peace in the area of their finances until they have surrendered total control of this area to God and accepted their position as stewards. Larry Burkett
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 NKJ
Thank you Lord that the words you spoke to Jeremiah those generations ago are still true today for me – ‘You know the plans you have for me – plans to prosper me, not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future’. Thank you for your plans even in the very nitty gritty of my life – I want to change my mind so that I change my actions - search my heart and attitudes, especially in these areas of money and possessions. Show me where my ‘treasure’ is. Show me where I have secret idols and the not so secret ones –- strengthen my resolve to eradicate these from my life and worship you alone. Amen.