Jesus continues His teaching and we join Him as He addresses our “treasures.” If you are anything like me, your bank account laughs at this word if you try and apply it. But Jesus says not all that glitters is gold. What you truly value is your treasure.
Jesus says plainly here that we all have a choice in where we put our “retirement funds.” He says that we can gather up EVERYTHING we can while here on earth and trust it to get us through for all eternity, OR we can trust God to provide what we need to make it through this life while we work on His plans.
Let’s look at some examples so we can understand what He is actually calling us to do. Let’s start with my house. In my house we have a wide assortment of STUFF. This week alone, my washing machine has broken, my dryer has finally aggravated me enough to try and fix its issues, my celling fan is making a weird noise (maybe a bearing going out), and my husband’s computer had a fan going out. That is FOUR money sucking problems in one week! My husband is leaning VERY heavily towards replacing the washer and dryer because this is not the first time one of them has failed. Ok. If my heart were invested in my bottom line, this would be a BIG problem, especially if we do replace the appliances. This is a prime example of “moth eating” and “rust damage” taking my earthly treasure. Things wear out. Things break over time. Thieves would come into this picture if my repair man weren’t so nice and reasonable. Bottom line is, if my bottom line and the shine of my “toys” was where I placed my value in life, I would be forever disappointed. Nothing here on earth lasts forever!
On the other side of the coin, let’s look at what does last forever. I’ll be our example once again. As a child, I was part of a group of girls that gathered food from the neighborhood for an individual who said they were in desperate need. I didn’t meet the initial individual myself, but I trusted my friends when they asked me to help. After scouring our neighborhood, and receiving a LOT of positive responses from our neighbors, we went in search of the person who made the request to present him with our bounty. We couldn’t find him. After a thorough search we were faced with the problem of what to do next. I suggested we pray and ask God to show us who really needed all the food we had collected. We prayed as a group, and then went where we felt we were being led. We ended up at a railway boxcar with an old man sitting inside it. We asked him if he was hungry and if he could use the food we gathered. He said he HAD BEEN PRAYING for God to help him. He had left his family a long time ago. He said that he felt God telling him he needed to go home and he had been on the road (or train as a hobo) for several days already. He said he had had no food for some time and asked God for help. We were his answer to prayer. As a child, I saw tangible evidence that God loves us, no matter how bad we mess up and that He answers prayer, even ones offered by children! That treasure NOTHING can destroy!
Yes, we went into an unsavory area. Yes, we could have been hurt or worse. BUT we trusted in, and asked for in advance, God’s protection. We were part of showing God’s love to a hurting soul. When I think of this story today, I think of the story of the “prodigal son.” Being able to make a difference in someone’s life by following where I believe God is leading me is my treasure. Shiny cars and big houses can’t even come close.
In this section on treasure, Jesus talks about the eye being the lamp of the body. I had to look up that reference. My helps say that the eye or lamp referees to the spiritual health of the individual. While contemplating that, I was thinking about my own vision. My eyesight is FAR from perfect. My eyes are not even fully correctable with glasses. When I read or look at things, I often misinterpret what I see. In other words, I get it wrong. My brain receives false information, so when I act on it, I make mistakes.
If our spiritual eye needs glasses because it is not healthy, and we ignore that need, our spirit suffers. Jesus is our corrective lenses. He ensures that what passes through our eyes is healthy and good for the body or brain. When we receive information through His filters and act on it, we make a whole lot less mistakes. I’m not about to say we get everything right because, even with the BEST filter (Jesus) WE still have to act on, accept, or reject what is coming in to our spirits. And as humans; get ready because here it comes; WE MAKE MISTAKES.
Finally, Jesus gets right to the root of the matter at the end of this section. You cannot serve God and money. You are either hungry and thirsty for the things of God, or you are running after the almighty dollar. Two paths in the world. Which do you choose?
God, I want to always be hungry for Your word and thirsty for Your Spirit. I know I am guilty of wanting new toys or the next shiny thing. Please forgive me when I place them in a place of higher importance than You. Please keep me focused on You. I realize that doesn’t mean that I can’t or shouldn’t have material goods but those goods can NEVER occupy Your place of priority. If my toys keep me so busy I don’t have time for You, then they need to be thrown away. Show me clearly when I mix up the order of importance. Thank You that You love me enough to keep pointing out my areas for change. Thank You that You don’t give up on me in the process too. Keep me learning and willing to put into practice what You show me every day.