Seek Ye First

What About …

What about my happiness? What about my needs? Leave everything? This radical life of following Jesus, focusing on the vertical and not the horizontal, would raise a lot of questions. I’d suggest to you that this is another of those most difficult sections of Jesus’ teachings.

Don’t store up treasures for yourself on earth … but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. He’s still contrasting the horizontal and vertical. He’s also contrasting temporal with eternal. This is more than some cheesy tent revival preacher proclaiming, “You can’t take it with you when you die! You’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul!” This is Jesus—the one by whom and for whom all things were made—calling human kind to consider how fleeting the things we desire really are. Moths, rust, disease, greedy corporate executives and politicians—they are realities in this world we live in. And they’re coming to get you. Or at least, they’re coming to get your stuff.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I beg your permission to jump up on another soapbox for a moment. I’ve often heard preachers quote that verse in admonishing people to give money to the church. It’s usually accompanied by a claim, “We could look at your checkbook and see where your heart really is!” If they looked at my checkbook they wouldn’t see where my heart is, they’d see where my lungs are—good Lord, asthma meds are expensive. Tell all your friends to buy copies of this book and I might just breathe another couple of days!

Spying your heart through your wallet, that’s not what the verse says. It’s not ‘where your heart is, your money will follow.’ It reads ‘where your treasure is, your heart will follow.’ There is a very distinct difference. Jesus is contrasting the things of this world with the things of God. Things here are passing—and if you treasure them you’ll run after them, and wind up greatly disappointed. But if you treasure things eternal, your heart will become passionate in pursuit of things that are lasting—things that really matter; things that make a difference. There is a soul-satisfaction in that which cannot be underestimated.

Elsewhere, Jesus used a parable, and another big but, to illustrate this very point. In Luke 12 he spoke of a rich man whose fields produced a huge harvest. Recognizing that he had more grain than he knew what to do with, he built bigger barns to store his wealth and said to himself, “Look! I have plenty for years to come! I will eat, drink and be merry!” Jesus concluded the story, But God said to him, ‘You fool!’ This very night your life will be demanded from you.” What has eternal significance?

It’s about perspective. The next but demonstrates: If your eyes are good your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If you’re seeing this from a strictly terrestrial perspective, it’s a teaching in the dark. Jesus concluded: You cannot serve two masters.