“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”—Matthew 6:21(NIV).
Pulling the warm blanket closer, I watched the gentle rain falling outside my sunroom window one recent morning. Birds huddled underneath the bushes, reminding me of a scene I’d witnessed in a large city nearby the day before.
I was running late to meet a friend for lunch after I had stopped to pick up some medical records. I also had to get my vehicle to the shop for servicing before meeting her. Seeking the shortest route between my doctor’s office and my destination, I used my phone’s navigation aid to help me. I wasn’t familiar with the route but trusted the “voice” giving me directions to get me there safely.
Turning a corner, I prepared to enter a freeway ramp but was stopped by a red light. Nearby, in a vacant lot, were two homeless people—a man and a woman. While I had witnessed people standing alongside the road with signs pleading for money, food or a job, I’d never actually seen someone camped out in a metropolitan area. With their meager belongings piled beside them, the two seemed oblivious of the busy traffic around them. Huddled under a blanket, the woman stared off into space. With a large dog curled at his feet, the man was writing in a notebook.
Before I could take in anymore of the scene, the light turned green and I moved forward to the ramp. I lifted the couple up in prayer as I continued on my way. Questions swirled through my mind.
"What could I do to help?"
- “What could I do to help?” I was already running behind and on the freeway headed in the opposite direction. It was an excuse that haunted me the rest of the day and for days afterward. I could have called my friend to explain my delay or returned later in the day but I didn’t.
- “What was the story behind their present condition?” I didn’t judge as I might have in the past—meaning why on earth did he have a dog when he couldn’t afford shelter? I understand the comfort a dog brings.
- “What was the man writing in his notebook?” Since I am a writer, I was naturally curious about the contents of the lined pages.
I thought of the paradox of their location, which was less than three miles from a large shopping hub where luxury stores tempt consumers to part with their money. I rarely shop there because of the steep prices.
In Matthew 6:20, Jesus tells us, “Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them.” He goes on to remind us in Matthew 6:21 that our treasure cannot be found in “stuff.”
Our pastor often reminds us that our checkbook and calendar reveal our priorities in life. Are we spending our money and time to advance God’s kingdom or are we hoarding it for ourselves? Let us remember this as we consider our shopping and to-do-list this season.
Where is your treasure?