Jesus presented a compelling connection: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
|Hearts are shaped by the way we invest our dollars
When I’ve heard that passage taught, preached, and commented on, usually—almost always—people declare, “Jesus is telling us that our internal world is the most important thing. When we care about things—when we have a heart for what matters—then we will give our money. Let’s be sure we change from the inside.”
This thought may be comforting, or even challenging, in many ways. But it’s not what Jesus said. Notice the order: where our treasure is (first), their our heart will be also (second). It’s not “where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.” Our heart follows our dollars. Not the other way around.
Our call in life is to say yes to what’s truly important. And what's one way to do that? The answer sounds slightly odd at first: By investing our money in it. (And I would be willing to add our time and our talents, but I’ll keep it focused for now.)
It’s actually commonsense. If I buy a sweet bike (which I did), I’m going to take care of that bike—I’ll make sure it’s clean, that the derailleur is adjusted precisely, and that it’s appropriately locked at night and insured. That’s at least what I’m doing. Especially the latter… Because my bike was stolen out of my garage a year ago while I slept peacefully. But I digress….
Whatever we invest our money in will be the place where our heart goes. Dollars lead the heart. And “heart” is the center of our lives—not just our emotions, but more so the will, the attitude, the way our lives are directed.
In order to deepen our yeses, we have to invest money in what’s important. As I’ve written before, our yesese are where our passions meet God’s mission. That means that we put dollars into God’s mission, which Jesus defined as the poor, the marginal, the ones that society leaves aside because they are interesting and alluring. That requires giving to our local homeless mission, to overseas water projects, and to agencies that fight AIDS and waterborne diseases worldwide.
As we’ve learned to define our yeses, we know even more where that money should go. If we’ve completed and know our Personal Branding Statement—or at least that’s one way to do it—we learn to invest in these things. Want to be a great percussionist? Buy a good drum set. Invest in lessons. Download music that you’ll practice with. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get better. But when you pay those bills, when you see that drum kit, you’ll be reminded. When you start playing that beautiful new Yamaha recording custom set, you’ll sound better. And you’ll look cooler. And that will make you want to play more.
And one hopes—at least I do for my life—that these yeses (even ones as innocuous as enjoying drums) may serve God’s mission (perhaps by leading worship, maybe by creating beautiful music). Or because I enjoy it, they may simply make me more of who God calls me to be. As the great Christian writer of old, Irenaeus, put it so well, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” When we invest our treasure so that our hearts follow—if we’ve done this in the right way—we become fully alive. And in that yes, God is glorified.
There’s another component that lies close by—the “Yes friends” in our lives, those people who support our key yeses. I’ll get to that in the next post.