For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (ESV)
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (NLT)
Greed in the Heart of Solomon
There are quite a few stories in the Bible that illustrate the correlation between our treasure and the state of our hearts, but perhaps there is none more striking than the life of Solomon. His story is certainly one of great beginnings, but we all have read enough stories to realize that great beginnings don't promise faithful endings.
Solomon was marked by wisdom, which God gave. He was also known for his abundant wealth, which God also blessed him with, and he used to steward over good things. It seems like all is well, and Solomon is crushing it, but there begins to be an undertone of a misaligned heart in this story. For instance, Solomon builds the temple of the Lord, but then he builds a bigger palace for himself. He spent seven years building the temple but took thirteen to build his own home!
Time went on, and that's right, you guessed it. Solomon became consumed with pursuing the things of the world. He stopped stewarding his wealth well. Instead of seeing his wealth as an opportunity to extend God’s kingdom, he was more interested in what his wealth could do for him. He eventually married 700 wives and had 300 concubines. Talk about too much, too fast. He was led deeper and deeper into selfishness and trying to find belonging and treasure in things other than the Lord. He was formed by the things he continually indulged in, and when he was old, the Scripture says, “His wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11:4).
How did Solomon end up where he did? I think what C.S. Lewis says might give us an explanation when he says, “Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions that you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.” Solomon’s treasure originally was knowing God and obeying him, but as he gave in to more and more selfishness, his heart drifted further and further away. Ultimately, the life of Solomon displays what I think Jesus is getting at in the memory verse for this week. For where his treasure was, there his heart was also.
Jesus’ Humbling Words
Jesus' words in Matthew 6:21 are in the greater context of the Sermon on the Mount. This is considered the manifesto of the Kingdom of God or, put differently, Jesus' vision for how His followers ought to live in the world. Specifically, in the verse we are memorizing this week, we are forced to face our selfishness and the greed that has plagued our hearts. Just like Solomon, we often build our palaces bigger than the treasures of heaven God calls us to seek. We often overindulge in material possessions while our neighbors struggle to get by. One researcher in the IVP New Testament Commentary suggests that out of professed Christians, only 3% of their money goes toward the church and an even smaller percentage toward world missions. Statements like these should sober us to the reality of the world around us and the selfishness of our hearts. We should consider what we value and where our hearts lie and seek the treasure that will last.
Where Is Your Treasure?
So where is your treasure? Take an honest look at the things you value, where your attention goes when you have free time, and what’s in your shopping carts. Then, ask the question, “Is that where my heart is?” Because Jesus challenges us that if we value worldly treasures above Him, then the answer is yes. But there is hope. There is hope when we redirect our hearts to the pearl of great price, the treasure in the field worth selling everything you have, Jesus. When He is our treasure, our hearts are with Him; that is truly good because He is the only thing worthy of our worship. Every other thing our hearts drift to find pleasure in won’t last, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). So, place your treasure and your heart into what lasts for eternity.
Written by Ben Hesch
Spend time journaling the ways earthly treasures have distracted your heart from Jesus and His kingdom. Reflect and reimagine ways you can build your life on the treasure and kingdom that lasts forever.