For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Luke 12:34
When Matthew quotes Jesus saying this it’s in reference to the direction our lives are headed. Specifically, Jesus is saying that our lives follow after the things we love the most and that all we have to do is look at what we’re following to see the condition of one’s heart. Luke has a different take on this quote. Instead of being part of the Sermon on the Mount, like in Matthew, Luke quotes Jesus saying this as part of a series of teachings in the region of Judea. There, in Luke 12, the quote takes on a decidedly more financial feel.
So let’s think for a moment about what we treasure. When I spend time with couples preparing for marriage we always take the time to discuss finances and more importantly what money means to each in the couple. I actually have a little quiz that asks the couple to agree or disagree to statements like:
- I look up to people who have been very financially successful.
- Having some money in savings is very important to me.
- People who have more money have more fun.
- I think we each should control the money we earn.
There’s 16 statements and when you’re done scoring the couple is given four categories in which to understand what money means to them. Money as status, money as security, money as enjoyment, and money as control. The point is that we all have certain feelings about money and while we can categorize them Jesus tells us one thing about money, “Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.”
This is where we run into difficulty because we live in a culture that values or treasures money because it gives us a certain status, helps us feel secure, provides us the means for pleasure, or allows us to control our world. But Jesus simply says you can’t serve both God and money (that’s another quote from Jesus in Luke 16:13) because if our hearts are set on status, security, enjoyment or control we’ll never find the time or energy to serve God. All our efforts will be given to maintaining our status (aka the next iPhone comes out soon), our security (you know because just in case that thing happens), our enjoyment (because we deserve it), or control (because we can’t trust others to do things right).
Now please understand that there’s a ton of scripture, including quotes from Jesus, that talks about how to manage money wisely. The problem isn’t that we have money (whether a lot or a little) it’s that our hearts tend to fall in love with the idea of money (or status, security, enjoyment, control). And when our hearts fall for something, anything that’s the direction our lives go.
At Dayspring we’re nearing the end of a short series about What Love Does in our lives. This weekend we’re talking money because Jesus talks about money. But it starts with this simple understanding that what our hearts fall in love with often sets the direction for our lives. So the question you’ll want to ponder is this: What do I treasure in life? And if you can’t come up with an answer, look around at your life. Do you enjoy going out? Do your bank statements cause you anxiety or comfort? Are you always making sure you have the latest watch or phone or are your kids always dressed in the latest styles? Or maybe you’re one of those who likes to keep a tight reign on all the numbers?
The point isn’t to feel bad about how you think about money – everyone finds themselves leaning towards one of these categories. The question is do you see your life heading closer to Christ or closer to money? You can only serve one.