Where’s Your Treasure?

By Greg Quinn

March 10th, 2012

When studying the Bible recently, I once again became profoundly aware of the importance we place in our lives regarding our possessions, and the priority we place upon the obtaining and maintaining of the things we own.  Convicted is a better word.  Every time I watch TV, I see something that I think I’d like to have.   Being a gun guy like most of you, I look at my gun magazines or go to the Internet or go to gun shows and become surrounded with other guns that I’d like to own.  Being a car guy, I let my mind go back or forward in time to this car and that car that I one day would love to possess.  I love homes and architecture and land, and pass by properties and think that it would be nice to own one like such and such.  If I am not careful, I can let my mind take me beyond where it should go in relation to the things that I own or would like to own.

I figure most of you are not that different than I am.  You own things and would like to own additional things.  But we must remember that there is a proper priority to be placed upon the items we claim to own, our “stuff”.  Do we own them, or do they own us?  Does the possession of certain items make us better people, or worse people?  Do we sacrifice the things that are really important for the things that are really not that important? 

We live in a world of “stuff”.  We are a very materialistic people.  We as Americans, and even in cultures around the world, place a lot of importance on the items that we possess.  If you don’t believe me, open your eyes.  Our TV ads are all about stuff.  Our homes are so full of stuff that we must rent storage units to contain it all.  We steal for stuff, we kill for stuff, we lie for stuff, and we cheat for stuff.  We often place the importance of “stuff” over that of relationships.  This is not the way God meant for it to be, nor the way to happiness in our lives.  True happiness is not found in stuff, but in relationships with people and most importantly with God.  While owning lots of stuff is not bad in itself, it is our attitudes toward our possessions that are most important.

Jesus put it another way.  He called our “stuff” our “treasure”.  That’s a much better way of putting it.  We call it “stuff” because to us that’s all it is; things that we own or possess.  Or is it?  Jesus calls it “treasure” because that’s a much truer picture, as the value is placed upon it according to our actions and the way we live our lives.  If it is merely “stuff”, it has little value to us.  But that’s not the case, is it?  It’s “treasure” because of the undue importance we place upon our possessions.

Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 says the following:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Jesus is placing an importance on what we possess.  He is telling us to not sacrifice for treasures here on Earth in terms of money and things and “stuff”; things that can be here one moment but lost another.  Jesus is telling us to put our energies into obtaining treasures in heaven; things that cannot be lost.  And, he’s reminding us of where our priorities should lie. 

First, realize that you don’t own it anyway.  All your “treasure” that you consider so valuable is not yours, but God’s.  God owns everything.  As the Creator of the universe, and as your creator, he owns it all.  What we think that we possess is actually on loan to us by God.  If He didn’t mean for us to have it, we would not have it.  We are only stewards of what God has allowed us to possess while here on this Earth.  If only stewards, watching out for what God has given us in our lives, then why does the importance of these material things take precedent over God and the relationships with people that Jesus died to save?

Look at what you possess.  What sacrifices did it take for you to obtain it?  What was the cost, not only in terms of money, but in what it took for you to earn to money to obtain the “treasure”?  What priorities were placed upon the obtaining of this treasure?  How much time did it take for you to obtain the treasure?  What relationships did you avoid or damage to obtain the treasure?  So looking at your stuff as actually treasure, because that’s where you place your time, energies, talents, priorities, then we should all ask ourselves these questions.  Where is our Treasure?  What’s the price we paid for this treasure?

Again, there is nothing wrong with the possessions in themselves.  God tells us throughout the Bible that to ask of Him and He will grant our prayers.  God promised mankind ages ago the ownership of the Earth and all that is within it.  God has promises not yet fulfilled in our lives related to our rewards in Heaven for our attitudes, priorities, and actions here on Earth.  God wants to grant us our prayers.  But these promises are conditional.  How can we expect God to bless our lives if we do not put him first in our lives?  How can we expect God to truly bless us if we place a greater priority on what was created instead of the Creator himself?  How can we expect blessings when we curse our neighbor?  How can we expect to obtain worthwhile treasure when we place so much importance on what we claim to own, rather than a Godly attitude toward other people that Jesus came to save? 

The word “treasure” evokes a much greater value to the subject than does “stuff” or “possessions”.  Rightfully so.  First, Jesus put it this way and did so for a purpose.  If we place a greater value, for example, on the car we drive than the people in our lives, doesn’t this car then become a treasure to us?  If we place a greater value on our time for ourselves instead of our willingness to share our time with God and other people, doesn’t our time become our treasure?  If we put so much emphasis on what abilities God has given us that we build upon these abilities to such an extent that we sacrifice everything else in our lives, isn’t that making our abilities our treasure?  If we place so much worth upon the house we live in that it takes every hour we have to pay for it and keep it up, doesn’t that house become our treasure?  And even in relationships with people, cannot we put them in undue position?  If we place such a high value on a spouse or child or grandchild that we forsake God, doesn’t that disparity of priorities make this earthly relationship our treasure?

Jesus didn’t say, “where your heart is, there will your treasure be also”.  He said, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  Jesus knew that if we placed undue value upon the things of this world, our treasures, that our heart or passions would follow.  Our passions do not lead our possessions, but our possessions lead our passions. 

People are passionate about their treasures.  If you go to Gunblast.com on a regular basis, there is a good chance that you are passionate about guns.  If you go fishing every weekend, it is pretty obvious that you are passionate about fishing.  If you plan your life around various hunting seasons, then it goes without saying that you are passionate about hunting.  If you can’t wait for gardening season, and think about it often, then you are passionate about gardening.  Now, there is nothing wrong with guns, or fishing, or hunting, or gardening.  There is nothing wrong with appreciating a fine car, or fine gun, or fishing tackle, or power tiller.  It is very appropriate to be grateful to God who allows you to possess these things.  But if your passion for these items or activities, or others like them, takes greater importance in your life than does your relationship with God, then isn’t there a problem?

Passion is something we control.  It is not a fickle emotion.  It is something we build upon, based upon our interests and energies.  If we develop such an intent interest in a certain activity or item or subject that we find ourselves overwhelmed and placing great value upon this activity or item or subject, then it’s a good chance we can call this something we are quite passionate about.  Where we are passionate, that’s where we give our best.  What we consider our true treasures, this is where we are passionate.

If you are like me and married, you can probably reflect back to a time when you were very passionate about the relationship you had with your girlfriend.  For some of us, unfortunately, that seems very long ago.  I remember when I was dating my wife Vicki, I would spend every moment I could with her.  I enjoyed being with her.  I did things for her.  I would take her out on a date, then park in front of her house until her mother kept switching the lights on and off as a signal for her to come in, and then I’d often go home and call her and we’d talk on the phone for a long period of time.  “I just wanted to hear you breathe” is a funny saying but one likely true for many of us.  I was absorbed with her, consumed with the thoughts of her.  Needless to say I was passionate about Vicki.  And it showed in the way I treated her and in the relationship we developed.

As time went by, however, my “treasures” were placed elsewhere.  I put more time into my job and less time at home.  I put more interests into hunting than I did in spending time with my wife.  As I strived to work hard to climb the corporate ladder, these interests took priority over Vicki.  As our son came along, then what little time I allowed myself to spend at home was spent with my son, and therefore less time with the one God gave me to spend the rest of my life with.  I worked hard to have more possessions, and therefore these became treasures in my life.  I built nice homes that took a lot of money, and therefore a lot of my time, and maintenance to keep up, which took even more time away from my wife.  Add on top of work that I liked to fool with guns, and liked to fish, and liked to hunt, and liked to mess with old cars and go to car shows.  I liked going to ballgames and movies and entertainment.  I liked spending time with myself and therefore had less time to spend with my mate.  And even when God called me into the Ministry, first as a youth minister and later as a pastor and evangelist, I found my time constraints even greater.  I put time into God and into the ministry, which was appropriate, and this time took time away from other things in my life.   But how much of that time expended was actually in the service of God rather than in making people happy at church?  I found that I actually sacrificed my own family, especially my wife, for the sake of the local church, and that’s not a scripturally sound plan of action.  So, what was once the treasure of my life, my girlfriend and then my wife Vicki, had actually moved down the ladder.  My time was elsewhere.  My priorities were elsewhere.  My treasure was elsewhere.  And our relationship suffered accordingly.  The passion was gone, because my passion followed my treasure.  “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.

Thank God I made a change.  God slapped me around enough that I started to listen.  I placed the proper value upon the treasures of my life, with Vicki close to the top of the list, only superseded by God Himself.  When I started to place her as a treasure in my life, then my heart followed.  Passion returned.  And our relationship was restored.  Do I still mess up?  Of course.  But I repent and come back to the proper relationship that God wants me to have with my mate.

Now, chances are many reading this are in the same boat.  The “treasure” that was once your spouse has been replaced by something else.  Isn’t it time you put proper emphasis on this treasure again where the heart and passion will follow and you can regain what was considered lost?

I used my relationship with my wife as an example, as this is one that is probably very common.  In fact, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce, it is common sense that this is a very large problem.  You didn’t marry thinking one day you would divorce.  But the treasure was placed elsewhere, and the passion followed.

The most important relationship in our lives is our relationship with God.  You first must be saved, born again as we Christians like to call it, which simply means you recognize that you have done wrong, that your “sins” have put you far from God, and that you need to come back to Him.  The only way to do so is to accept that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came to earth to pay the penalty for your wrongdoing, He took the brunt of the penalty of our sin for us, He arose from death to provide eternal life for us, and all you must do is to accept Him as your Savior, ask that He come and live in your heart, and you commit to follow Him and His teachings, and in doing so the Bible promises that you will be saved (inherit eternal life, have God with you here on earth, enjoy the blessings that Christ died to give you).  God must be your first “treasure”.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  If you put God first, then your actions will line up with that.  You will be passionate for God, for doing what is right, for loving God first and loving others next.  Your relationships with others will be better.  You will be a better person.  You will begin to accomplish the mission for which God created you.  But first, God must come first.

Our second “treasure” should be our family and other people that Jesus died to save.  Don’t get so busy with your life that those you truly work to help are left aside.  Keep proper treasure upon your family.  Treasure that spouse that God gave you.  Treasure your children and grandchildren.  Treasure other people, and try to love people the way that Jesus loves people.  In doing so, your treasure will be to others, and your heart and passion for helping others will follow.

Beyond that, it’s OK to enjoy your guns, your cars, your homes, your time hunting and fishing and doing things that you enjoy doing.  It’s OK to work hard for the benefit of your family and to provide for your family and give them the things that you would like for them to have.  But your possessions are not your treasures; they are simply things that God has entrusted to you.  Keep them in proper perspective and you will find that God will bless these things of interest to you.

Later in this same passage of Scripture, in Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus said the following:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Jesus is telling us to not worry about the things we tend to worry about, but to place our faith in God first, and then all these things will be provided for us.   In other words, Jesus makes us a great promise.  If we but put our “treasure” where it should be, and that being the “kingdom of God and his righteousness”, then all of these things that tend to consume our lives will be given to us anyway.  God doesn’t promise to give us everything we want.  God does promise to give us everything we need.  But first we must place the proper priority on God, make God and serving Jesus and living by his teachings the priority, the “treasure”, of our lives, and then God will take care of the rest.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  It is my prayer today that you do a self-examination of your life.  Where do you put your importance?  What is of most value to you?  If it is of things, our “stuff”, then these things will fall apart or rust or decay or burn and you will have nothing.  If it is of God, then God promises to give you what you need anyway, and your other treasures through proper relationships with others can also flourish. 

May God bless you as you place proper perspective on God, your family and other relationships, and the things with which God has allowed you to possess.  Keep your eye toward proper treasures, and then your heart and passions will follow.

Greg Quinn