The Short Game: Body-Mind-SpiritJanuary 30, 2024
Your Treasures: Icing or Cake?February 13, 2024
As we dig back into the Sermon on the Mount, let’s start with Jesus’ statement:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.— Matt. 6:21
Is this not a fact?
If it is a treasure that is capturing your heart, yes, it will be important to you, but is it too important to you? These too-important treasures are easily identified by the degree of anxiety we feel when they are threatened.
Jesus says this just after warning us to be aware of who we seek to impress – i.e., who is our audience? He tells us that if we give money away and do charitable work, or pray elaborate prayers, or fast … “to be seen by others,” we will be rewarded by the approval and high fives of others.1
But not by God: “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
So with respect to identifying our treasures, I think we can start with, “Who is our audience?” Do we love the approval of others too much (Be careful not to be too quick to dismiss this), or, do we have primarily “An audience of One?”
Of course there is nothing wrong with being pleased and feeling good with a job well done. But this treasure becomes a problem when you cannot feel good without the approval of others, or a “Well done” from others.
My love language is Words of Affirmation. I don’t just like being praised, I require it to feel good about myself.
Or I used to, that is before the Holy Spirit convicted me of the out-of-proportion treasure this was. It used to be too important to me. After a speaking engagement, or officiating a wedding or funeral, if someone – actually lots of people – didn’t come up to me and say something like, “Wow! You were absolutely fantastic!”, then I had failed.
My wife Dina came into my life ten years ago. Dina is Superwoman, and has a legion of unbelievable talents and gifts. Words of Affirmation? Not so much.
This caused strife for me and for us for the first few years. We actually fell out more than once because she didn’t tell me how absolutely wonderful my talk was. Then the Holy Spirit jumped all over me. He pointed out, pointedly, what a ridiculous treasure, and therefore idol, this had become.
His message was crystal clear. So over time I managed to tame this treasure. And then, as so often happens when Jesus is involved, he enhanced and increased Dina’s Words of Affirmation in just the right proportion.
Is one of your treasures the praise of others, or do you have only one audience: Your Heavenly Father?
May we move beyond the treasure of the “Atta Boys” and “Atta Girls” from others, to this “Atta Boy/Girl” from the Father:
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’—Matt. 25:21, 23
- Matthew 6:1-4, 5-6, 16-18