“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
This is one of those passages where we have built-in dyslexia. When we read the text, we immediately flip it in our minds. We say to ourselves that this is what the text says: “Wherever your heart is, that’s where your money will be—your treasure.”
But that’s not what Jesus says. Jesus says, “Wherever your treasure is, that’s where your heart is.”
It’s a test. Do you want to know what you’re serving? Do you want to know what you’re investing in? Then look at where you put your time. Where do you put your money? That’s who your master is.
Let me give you an example that has nothing to do with money. Years ago in a place far away I helped convert a young man. He and his wife had not been married very long. They were having problems in their marriage and, of all things, he came to me for help in his marriage. That’s how desperate he was! I was the only real Christian he knew. So I hadn’t had time to disciple him. He was a very new Christian.
So I said to the guy, “Okay, do you want to save your marriage?”
“Absolutely,” he said.
“How much?” I asked.
“It’s the most important thing in the world to me.”
“Then we have a chance,” I said. “Tell me about your life.”
“Life is really good. Business is booming, and I’m moving up the ladder. I love sports and spend a lot of time playing sports with my friends,” he said.
Indeed, he was a superb intercollegiate athlete; he held several records that may still be in the books for all I know. So he liked to play sports with the guys and the plain fact of the matter is he was pretty invested in all parts of his life—but, he was giving very little to his marriage.
So, given my very direct approach to marriage counseling, I said, “Okay, I think I see the problem. Here’s the problem. Either you’re a liar or Jesus is because Jesus says wherever your treasure is—wherever your investment is—that’s where your heart is. So you tell me your heart is in saving your marriage, but all of your treasure’s going someplace else.”
The challenge was issued and the man had to decide for himself whether he was going to go back and invest in what he said was most important to him. He was investing in everything else except what he said was his treasure.
Well, we need to take the test. How much time do we spend thinking about stuff? How much investment do we have cleaning our stuff? Protecting our stuff? Upgrading our stuff? I often think that when Jesus calls those apostles and says come and follow me, I’d say, “Okay, I’d be happy to, but it’s going to take me a while, because I have to get everything in order since I’ve got so much stuff. There are a lot of things I need to take care of.”
Then Jesus says, “Where’s your investment? Where’s your time? Where’s your money?” That’s where you’ll find your heart.
God help us be willing to take this test seriously, to find out where our heart is.
Examine where our investment of time, energy, and money really is, if we’re lying to ourselves, others, and you about how much we care about someone, when we’re really not investing in that relationship. When we take this courageous step, Jesus says we’ll find the condition of our heart.
Randy Harris teaches theology, ethics, and preaching at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He has authored several books and co-authored books with Greg Taylor, including Living Jesus: Doing What Jesus Says in the Sermon on the Mount.