Heart Treasure

12 01 2006

Scripture:
Luke 12:34 (NIV) 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Observations:
When I was a kid, my Dad taught me to keep my “eye on the ball.” He knew that if I watched the ball I’d be able to catch it, hit it, or follow it. This is very true. When a batter swings and misses, we often say that he was “swinging for the fences.” In other words, he was looking at where the ball would go after he hit it – but he wasn’t watching the ball and he missed.

When we try to teach a three or four year old to hit a baseball, it is hard to get them to not watch who is throwing the ball. But as a kid gets older, they eventually learn to hit the slow ball that is gently lobbed their way. Eventually they are good enough to hit balls and run the bases with the older kids. If their love for the game continues, and their skill set increases, they may eventually play in the “big leagues” and hit balls that are thrown 80, 90, even a 100 mph.

The same is true of our walk with the Lord. If we keep our eyes on Him, we get better and better and fail less often. He also, like a loving parent, give us increased opportunities to hit the ball. Eventually we may progress to the point of great success in our daily walk – if we love the “game” enough.

Application:
As I look back on my life, I see a pattern that developed that wasn’t very healthy. Like most children, it was all about me. Eventually many grow out of that – but not all, and possibly not most. I grew to be inward focused. Due to the ridicule, bullying, and ostracizing – I steered clear of people and made my own life.

This was a survival tactic that seemed useful at the time. But it wasn’t necessarily the healthiest and it doesn’t work well in an adult world. It is isolationist and can be narcissistic – antisocial really. To compensate for this I adopted practices that led to addictions that caused me to fail even more.

My treasure was in myself – it was me. I was set to protect myself at all costs. That is where my heart was. It led me to be arrogant, addicted, and lonely. Now, left with the consequences of those choices, I still suffer from certain addictions and wounds. This affects my relationships, my leadership, and my outlook.

However, 18 years ago God found me and pulled me out of the pit I had dug for myself. He has been working to refocus my life ever since. Part of this process is surrender. I’m not sure I really understand it. But I am learning.

First, God asked me to surrender to Him – let go and let God. I thought I’d done that, but I continue to learn about things I’ve not let go of in my life.

Second, God taught me that I’m not the most important person in the world. Life is better when I put God first. Life is better when I love others as much as I love myself. Again, I thought I understood that, but I have yet much to learn. I do put God first more often than I even did and I have much more respect for people than I used to – but I still have much to learn.

Finally (up to this point), today, God is teaching me to look to see where my priorities really are – where is my treasure? I’ve been saying for several years that it is God first, family second, and work last. But is that true?

As my relationship with Jennifer has deepened, I have come to really appreciate her. I am learning just how cool it is to have her in my life and how important she is to me. When Scarlett was born last year, it rocked my world. Jen and I both talk about how insanely in love with her we are. I am willing to sacrifice just about anything for these two women in my life.

But, does God come above them? Or, am I still putting myself first?

Where is my treasure? Where is my focus?

A few years ago (OK, several years ago), a friend told me a true-life parable: A man gets up in the morning and says a five minute prayer. He asks the Lord to watch over him, keep him safe, direct his life, and to bless him. Then he goes out to check the mail. As he opens an official looking letter, he discovers a large unexpected bill for which he doesn’t have the funds to pay. For the rest of the day he stresses over that bill and agonizes over his inability to pay. He worries about the consequences of his poor financial situation.

Then the question is asked, “What is his true prayer?”

(…paused while you ponder…)

But today I ask a new question. Where is this man’s treasure?

Obviously, if we make poor choices and mistakes, we are going to analyze the situation and look for ways to correct the problem. But sometimes situations and circumstances occur in which we have no control – in fact, there is nothing we did that could have caused or avoided the situation. But our reaction to the event reveals our true heart – our true priorities.

If my treasure is in myself, I will do anything I can to protect myself and I will sacrifice anything or anyone to achieve allow me to get ahead.

If my treasure is my family, I will do anything to protect them and I will sacrifice anything or anyone to make their lives better. My job, my self, my friends – nothing is sacred in light of my family.

Now there’s a word – “sacred.” It means, set apart, special.

What is sacred in my life? For years it was me.

If my treasure is God – what does that mean? Where is my treasure? It means that I will do anything to put God first in my life. I will sacrifice self. I will put Him first in everything.

I know that He is able to protect, save, and advance (in all arenas) better than I ever could. He will bring greater pleasure and rewards to my life. He will bring greater growth and abundance than anything I could ever do on my own. He will protect my family better than I ever could. He can solve the large unexpected bill situation. He will raise my daughter to a life that is decent and honorable. He will help my wife to be the woman He created her to be. And he will protect me (from taunts, ridicule, and failure) better than I ever could.

So, my conclusion is that my treasure needs to be in Him – 100%!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus. Father God. Holy Spirit. Today, I surrender to You. With a more complete understanding of who You are and who I am not, I give You my life.

I can’t fix it, improve it, protect it, advance it, control it, move it, solve it, enhance it, love it, or direct it any better than You ever could. In fact, my efforts are weak and annoying compared to what you have in store. So, I suppose I should get out of your way and let you move forward – not just in my life, but in all ways.

“It’s not about me and it’s not about now.”

Let’s go forward by me letting go and letting God be God.

I love you too Lord!

gw

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