Where is Your Treasure?
Updated: Sep 6
Do not be afraid. Don’t we all wish that Jesus would appear before us at times and say those words? It’s hard for us, at times, to not be anxious. Life is busy and not always easy to navigate. Our bills come due; our work deadlines come faster than we hoped they would. Jesus, tell me it is going to be alright. What if Jesus did appear and said do not be afraid. But before we could even take a deep breath of relief, what if Jesus continued, asking us to sell our possessions and give alms. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, right? Last week we were told to just have enough. We shouldn’t store up for tomorrow when tomorrow may never come. Now, this week we’re told to sell everything and give alms. How, God? That would be really difficult. Maybe our focus should be on what Jesus goes on to say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Maybe think about what treasures you are holding onto that take your heart away from God? It’s what we do in Lent. We don’t give up something in Lent just because. We give up something to move our focus away from possessions/habits and onto God. What if we sold all our possessions that kept us from being with God? The stuff that we don’t need. The extra hours of screen time that separate us from the love of God. What if we instead gave more to the poor, had time in our day for an evening prayer, loved our neighbors as ourselves? Do not be afraid. Maybe Jesus is already there speaking this message to us? Is what we are afraid of really the truth that we know that anything that takes our attention away from God’s love is something that pulls us away from God. Now is the time to set our stuff down, move away from our treasures, set aside our distractions, and listen to what God is already saying to us.
Jesus said, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Like our message from last week, our lives may be demanded of us at any time. Tomorrow is an unknown time. Today is where we find the love of God. Live for the moment. We don’t have to wait until Jesus returns for us to experience that love. It is there for us now. Do today what we might not be able to do tomorrow. My parents were always traveling with us during the summer. I have fond memories of beach trips and big city trips. I can vividly remember walking down the streets of New York as a child and looking up to the Empire State Building. It is so tall! There are so many people on the sidewalk! It was a lot to take in for this small town kid. My parents loved experiencing the world around them and passed that love on to me. They encouraged me to travel while I was young and in good health. You never know what tomorrow will bring. I’ve been fortunate to travel and experience the beauty and diversity of the world. I think it helped me see my neighbors for who they are, in all our glorious differences in language, culture, dress, and our outlook on life. I’ve experienced incredible kindness from total strangers. I’ve heard incredible stories of hope. Jesus said, “You must be ready.” What does that mean in our lives right now? Are we ready for Jesus’ return? If our focus and attention is on God, then we are ready. God, I am at peace with my life. My focus is on you. Those things I value will be given away. There is nothing for me to hold onto other than the hem of your garment. I am ready. This is a lesson we can share with others. We can all make peace with the world we live in and let go along with all the other stresses that can easily overtake us.
What is it really to be afraid? Is it our fear of losing our stuff? Is it a fear of losing control? Is there a fear of being left alone, being separated from God? God breaks it down for us. There is no reason to be afraid. The kingdom will be given to you. There is no need for treasures in this life. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. In one of my travels, visiting orphaned children in Bolivia, I met the most beautiful children I’ve ever known. They had been abandoned by their family, dropped on the street or delivered to state run orphanages. The children likely had nothing more than the clothes they were wearing. But now, thanks to various churches providing financial and emotional support, these kids are now living in loving, family homes. Not much in the way of material possessions, but they have enough and they give from what they have. They shared with our group that they were praying for us. They had heard that life wasn’t always easy back in the U.S. All I kept thinking was that I was so envious of them, in many ways. Granted, they had struggled in mighty ways, but I was envious of how much they loved each other and opened their hearts continually to new people who visited them. Maybe they were more fortunate in that they didn’t have the distraction of stuff in their lives to complicate their existence. They didn’t have to let go of worldly treasures to find God. Maybe that was their prayer for us. That we could let go of those things distracting us. I have to admit, being in that place for a week changed me and reminded me that God is already there with us. It is our focus that has to be adjusted. God, may we lift our prayers to you with our whole hearts. May we be mindful of the distractions caused by the possessions we struggle to hold on to. Free us from the burden we carry around. Maybe this is emotional baggage. It’s heavy and it steals our attention. We may not feel we even know what to do with it. Make yourself known to us God and help us with our burdens. May our treasures be found in you and in the work you would have us do.