By: Ed Gardner
Pastor, Riverside Community Church
Eagle River, Alaska
Treasure isn’t always money (although often it is) but we all have something we treasure. It is something we value above all other things in our lives. We might say we treasure all-the-right-things (health, family, relationships, etc.) but we often fool ourselves. The problem is, you can’t fool others when it comes to what you really treasure- at least not for long. Jesus’ words in the Sermon On The Mount on treasure are pretty striking:
Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark. You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:19-24 (CEV)
What we treasure is whatever we give the best of our time, energy and resources to get. It is what we put above all other commodities. In Biblical times, this concept was called idolatry. We may not think we could have a problem with idolatry in 21st century America, but we do. When we think of idolatry, we picture savages dancing around a fire bowing to a carved head. And yes, that WAS what idolatry used to be but it’s not what idolatry looks like now.
Now idolatry looks like people streaming into temples made of steel and glass, sacrificing the best of themselves at the altar of “career”. Now there’s nothing wrong with career unless we become obsessed to the point where we sacrifice our health, our relationships and our lives to move-up-the-corporate- ladder. Idolatry also can look like people glued to stock market pages sacrificing everything they have on the chance of striking it big.
Some people worship at the altar of physical appearance and beauty. Their temples are health clubs (where the priests and priestesses wear spandex and muscle shirts), spas and department stores. Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best but if physical appearance and beauty are what you’ve put into the treasure box then your life will be defined by vanity. As time takes its toll you will be devastated and start to feel like your life isn’t worth much anymore.
The world is filled with the biographies of people who sacrificed everything while their kids were young thinking they’d make-it-up-to-them-later and lost their families in the process. They ended up with lots of money but no relationship with the people they told themselves it was all for.
So what is the foundation I should be building my life on? What should I put in my treasure chest? Maybe spend some time today asking Jesus to show you if you’ve got a problem with what you treasure. Ask Him if maybe you’ve put money in the box but now you can’t see it because your idol has blinded you.
Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Matthew 6:21 (CEV)
Note from Editor: When my husband and I were stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, we attended Riverside Community Church. Although Pastor Ed Gardner is not a local pastor, we continue to watch him online at https://www.eagleriverside.com/ when we can’t make it in person to local church.