The Trouble with Treasures

“To obey is better than sacrifice,

I don’t need your money, I want your life.” – Keith Green, To Obey is Better than Sacrifice

Living in the outer suburbs of Sydney, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the preoccupation with money. I’ve never thought of myself as being particularly materialistic, but I do get ideas about what I would like to own.

Usually I buy things that have a distinct function and purpose. Sometimes I get random thoughts about suburban living: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have new flooring?” and “Oh, I do like what they’ve done with their entertainment unit!”

These thoughts seem harmless, right? But that’s just what bothers me. These harmless little thoughts have nothing to do with needs; they are just minute adjustments to my current comfortable lifestyle. They seem so small, so insignificant. And that’s just the type of thing to lead our hearts astray.

The niceties of life do nothing to further God’s Kingdom. They do not help us serve Him better and they do not meet anyone else’s needs. We cannot justify them based on meeting a minimum standard of living; we’ve met that minimum standard a hundred times over.

We get preoccupied with first-world problems. “Oh, I’m sick of our slow internet connection,” “Oh, I don’t want to drive all the way to the next suburb for church,” “Oh, can’t we renovate our house any faster?” We’ve become too comfortable for our own good!

I’m the first to admit that it’s nice to have money to spend. I grew up with few niceties and living as a single person in Sydney meant I had literally no disposable income. I would have to check my bank balance everyday just to make sure I could afford to eat lunch.

These days, I am financially better off and it’s such a relief not to have to count every dollar I spend. I am thankful that when I am hungry, I can just eat. However, this is a position of luxury. There’s a chance I can swing the other way and forget where I came from. There’s a chance of taking my money – God’s gift – for granted.

This is the trouble with storing up treasures on earth. Our focus can shift – innocently, gradually – onto our own comfort and pleasure. We can forget that God gives us everything we currently have. We’d better make sure we care for it wisely.

God may not do many miracles in your life if you don’t need them. Being in a place of suffering and need drives our faith deeper in Him; without that need, our faith is not required to grow. When was the last time you really needed something from God? (Not a rhetorical question.)

Jesus said, “Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be” (Matt 6:20-21, MSG). Whatever things we work to accumulate will be the things that turn our hearts.

So let’s ask the hard question: Where is your heart at the moment? Is it really on your heavenly treasure? Or is it on your job, or savings, or travel, or romance, or some other distraction? As Keith Green pointed out, God is not interested in what our money and possessions can do “for Him.” He wants our hearts; all of it.

Sometimes I think we forget this world is only temporary. We will spend eternity in heaven; let’s live like it.

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