Treasure and Heart

I saw a commercial the other day that made the statement that science is the only thing that is reliable. I beg to differ. Please let me differ. Not surprisingly, this commercial was produced by a pharmaceutical company in the midst of a pandemic. Trust in science to get you through. Or, more likely, trust in our company to find you a cure and make a boat load of money in the process. I am not against science, but science can only help with this world issues. And quite honestly, I am thankful for the things that science helps with. I am not anti-medicine. We have an increasingly older population thanks to medical science. But what about all of the people who have lost their lives already; whether we are talking about the current pandemic or cancer or the flu or whatever? Science can do nothing for them. And, by the way, many a scientist is motivated by their own agenda. Science is not pure. Some scientists are motivated by greed; some are blinded by their hypothesis; some are unethical in their research. So, no thank you, I will not put my faith in science. I will appreciate it. I will make use of it. But trust in it? Nope.

              What is the opposite of the foolish rich land owner; the one who built bigger barns to store his bumper crop; the one who thought that he could kick back, eat, drink, and be merry? Glad you asked. Jesus gives us the answer in Luke 12:33-34. Instead of hoarding your possessions, sell them and give to the poor. As you can imagine, this has stimulated a lot of discussion. Should we take this literally? Is Jesus anti-possessions? A couple of sources said that the example in Acts 2:45 is an example of the early church taking Jesus’ words too literally and therefore later they became a burden on other churches. Paul had to raise money to help those poor misguided brothers. I beg to differ. Please let me differ. The church in Jerusalem was in need of help because of a pretty serious famine that hit that area. All of Israel was in need of help. Not to mention that in the book of Acts (5:3-4), Peter makes it pretty clear that it is okay to have possessions. Jesus does not say, “Sell all of everything you have.” Nowhere in the book of Acts are we told that they sold everything they possessed.

              Let me take a step back and ask an important question: Am I attempting to dance around the words of Jesus so that I can justify my ownership of stuff? I think we need to wrestle here. If I sell everything I own, I will be able to help several poor; maybe even give to several good charitable organizations, but then I would most likely find myself in need of help. What if I use my possessions to help the poor? What if I understood that everything I have actually belongs to God and I am intended to be a steward? If this be the case, then I will want to manage my possessions in a way that glorifies God; the Lord of me and my stuff. Jesus is telling us to not be like the rich land owner who talked to himself about all of HIS possessions, without a thought of God or the poor or anyone else other than himself. Be a giving person who is concerned about helping others. And for goodness sake, don’t allow your possessions to possess you. I think this becomes the real issue. Are you using your possession to glorify God, or are you being used by your possessions?

              The rest of verse 33 is about this otherworld focus. What is a money belt that never grows old and obsolete? It is a belt that holds something entirely different than monetary gain; a belt constructed of a Godly love filled with Godly things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These things are a veritable storehouse of wealth; a wealth that extends beyond this earth; a wealth that cannot be destroyed because of economic crisis; a wealth that cannot be stolen; a wealth that is heavenly. An ordinary wallet will grow old and deteriorate. The things in an ordinary wallet can be helpful in this life. But don’t put your trust here.

              Where your treasure house is, there your heart will be also. This was a pretty well-known saying. Jesus could be saying something like, “Follow the money and you’ll discover the heart,” or “Your heart will follow your investments.” The first one makes more sense in the context, I think. Is your heart all about owning cars; investing in their restoration? Well, that will be obvious when someone opens your garage. If owning things possesses your heart, you will have a treasure trove of possessions. But if you put your trust in God, you may own some things, but your treasure trove will be all about the things of God. I don’t mind possessions. I don’t mind science. But these things will not; cannot last. Trust in God my friends.