“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” - Matthew 6:19-24 NLT
I love the ‘National Treasure’ movies.
Yes, the ones with Nicolas Cage.
I’m drawn in and intrigued by the clever solving of mysteries, by the fun clues that spring up along the way, and of course, my man Nicolas Cage (I understand that one could go either way with ole Nic Cage, but I happen to love him).
What I love about Nic Cage’s character is that he and his team organize everything that they are and do around what they treasure — in the case of these films, that would be ancient, hidden treasure that is worth a fortune.
Jesus knows that we have a tendency to treasure things — even if we don't really know it, or explicitly call it “treasuring.”
WHAT DO WE TREASURE?
A simple self-examination of where our money goes most
or what we do most with our spare time
or what we worry about the most
or what rules our thought energy most
can quickly give us some insight into what our true masters are — or what we treasure most.
In the passage above, Jesus doesn't just say to not have two masters; He says, simply put, that you can't — like, it’s not possible.
You will love one, and then hate one.
One has your attention, one doesn’t.
You treasure one, but forsake the other.
We can't treasure God, and at the same time be treasuring other things.
WHAT IF WE JUST AIMED TO TREASURE GOD MORE?
Why do we give in to the cultural lie that more is better? That bigger is better? That wealth equals success? Or that popularity, status, and wide-spread influence means we’ve finally made it? And that if you’re really a good citizen, or if you’re really good at whatever you do, you will then try and strive for these things at all costs?
Have we forgotten something?
Have we forgotten that in God’s upside-down, counter-cultural Kingdom — of which we’re invited to participate in — that “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16)?
Have we forgotten that the Son of Man had “nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20) ?
Don’t we know that material, wealth, “more and more”, and “bigger and better” will all fade away — will all be destroyed by “moths” and “rust” in the end?
If we’re honest with ourselves, conviction can rest upon us and reveal to us that it’s so easy to get caught up in the wrong things; in wanting the wrong things. Whether we know it or not, when we give into cultural lies such as these, our treasures are laying elsewhere — we’re serving other masters.
But what if we treasured God, and wanted nothing more than to be in His presence and to rest in His love for us? Wanted nothing more than simply Himself?
What if we organized our lives around this want?
Jesus says that when we do, nothing can destroy it, and nothing can take it away. It’s pure and complete satisfaction — the kind that promises that we “will never be hungry again…”; that we “will never be thirsty” again (John 6:35) — all the way into eternity.
So, then, how do we treasure God more? How do we act on our desire to want to want Him more — more than anything else?
It starts and ends with having an unflinching gaze on Him alone. Jesus says that our “eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body.” So, then, if our eye is fixed on Him and His Kingdom, it is healthy and full of light. When this is true of us, then, when “your eye is healthy”, as Jesus says, “your whole body is filled with light.”
Everything we are, filled with light — filled with Him.
Jesus says that whenever we treasure God and His Kingdom, then “there the desires of your heart will be also.”
The desires of our heart will naturally begin to align with Him, and His Kingdom — everything else will then fade away. We’ll count it all as loss if it’s not helping us to achieve our ultimate want, which is wanting Him — treasuring Him.
Which is why, then, we must organize our lives around this central want, or treasure: God.
We must ask ourselves daily if our actions — our purchases, our thoughts, our (fill in the blank) — is getting us more in tune with treasuring Him, or if it is taking us further away from that soul desire.
Everything we do or don't do is either making more room for God in every part of our life, or choking Him out. The more and more that we learn to treasure Him, the more and more that we will see Him and respond to Him in every moment of every day. Even in the so-called “ordinary” or “mundane” moments — which, we’ll find, were never really ordinary or mundane at all, as the presence of God is always reaching out to us. When we fix our eyes on Him — when we treasure Him — our eyes are opened to this reality more and more.
Pray that the Father — in His loving mercy and grace — will help you learn to treasure Him more; will help you learn to want to want Him more, above anything else. Then, ask that He would show you how to organize your life around this — around Him.
Ask the Father where you should start.
The Spirit is in the business of inviting us into a new way of living; not condemning us into one. So, may joy, peace, and grace be yours on this life-long adventure of treasuring God more and more everyday.