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Matthew 6:19-21 and Luke 19:1-9
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth ... but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
We tend to grow uncomfortable when the church talks about money. Why? Are decisions about how we live and how we use those resources unimportant? Is our faith supposed to be separate from our finances? Are not believing, and praying, and loving more important to our faith?
Look at a revealing count of New Testament words:
- Believe, Believing - 275 times
- Pray, Praying - 371 times
- Love, loves, loving - 714 times
- Giving or give - 2,162 times
Jesus knew that our treasures and our hearts are inseparably linked. For Him, talking about treasure was to reach more completely for the full allegiance of people's hearts. Jesus knew that dealing with our treasures is one of those critical places where the rubber meets the road ... where the practicality of our faith is tested ... where what we believe becomes tangible and real.
Remember the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19? We have no idea what happened between Jesus and Zacchaeus other than they had dinner together. But we do know that Jesus reached and dramatically changed that person's heart. How do we know that? Follow the money! Look at what happened with Zacchaeus' treasure. Half of what he possessed he gave immediately. Every wrong he set himself to make right. Seeing where the treasure went, Jesus exclaims, "Today salvation has come to this house!"
Maybe we are uncomfortable with talk about money because that conversation is getting awfully close to the heart of our faith. Maybe we are uncomfortable with talk about our treasures because we are afraid for something as powerful as salvation to come very near our house today.
Action Item: Sketch out a simple budget of where your treasures are (of where your financial resources go). Now write down your current giving to the ministries of the church. How does your giving to God's work through the church compare to your investment in your other treasures? Does that level of giving represent what you believe in? What does that level of giving say about where your heart is? Where would you rather your heart be?