In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says “where your treasure is your heart is also.” the Greek word used for treasure is thēsauros. In most circumstances a treasure is something concealed or hidden away for another time, as it is inferred in this passage. But what if it meant something that is cherished or valued greatly, something that is not a tangible “thing” but a concept or a person and not hidden?
Often we misread this passage thinking that the treasure, or thing we value greatly, follows our heart- that if we want something badly enough the treasure will follow and manifest itself if our heart is in the right place. But actually what Jesus is saying is that our heart follows our treasure. Think about that for a moment. Our heart follows our treasure. Not our treasure follows our hearts. For some people that treasure is a career, a home or a family. For others it is finding a partner in life or something else in life. So what does this all mean?
Firstly we need to identify what that treasure is. What is the thing we value? Is it an idea? Is it an opportunity? Or is it something that is a treasure that isn’t really a treasure? What I mean by that is that we may hold on to things that we place great value on but are actually not treasure. Past pains can be concealed and buried, and, something we value but in a negative way. It could be something that we are looking forward to and “treasure” that idea.
So the next question is, where is our heart? If our heart isn’t in the same place as the treasure we will spend a great deal of time trying to get our heart in the right place first. If our heart and treasure are not in the same place we spend a lot of energy trying to bridge the gap between the two.
Years ago, when I took an advanced driving course, we learned how to take back control from a vehicle about to lose control on ice or hazardous conditions. The instructor took us onto a frozen parking lot and we purposely lost control of the car (without hitting something or hurtinggn ourselves) so that we could learn how to gain control. That sounds more difficult than it is.
What did they teach us? In driving a car and the car is headed for the ditch, our natural instinct is to look where we are going. And that is how we end up in the ditch. The way to correct the car is to do everything opposite of your instinct. Meaning, sometimes apply the gas peddle not the brakes, and steer where you WANT to go not where you are going. So, my keeping your eyes on the road and not the ditch, with some very fast thinking, the car will correct itself and end up back on the road, not the ditch. Counterintuitive yes. But it works.
What if this passage is like the analogy of driving the car? Where are our eyes? On the ditch/place we are headed? Or in the road where we want to go? Are our eyes on our treasure? Because if they are, our heart will follow.
There is a reason that stories of treasure have been so popular in literature and film. There is something exciting about the discovery of treasure and some people will go to great lengths to reveal a buried treasure (Oak Island in Nova Scotia comes to mind). Jesus doesn’t say anything about discovering a treasure. He doesn’t say your heart will LEAD you to your treasure to be discovered. He says where your treasure is your heart will be. I think this means what someone values will mean that is where their passion will be.
This could very easily be twisted to mean something of monetary value but I don’t think that is what Jesus means. The passages before hand he says that we should not store things up because in nature, things will decay and be lost.
So what do you treasure? What matters to you? Is it justice? Is it friendship or charity? Whatever it is once the treasure is identified the heart and passion will follow.
Until next time, blessings to you and yours.