“It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
— Matthew 6, The Message
When I was in junior high, my mom and I started having what we coined, “special time” each week. Every Thursday night, it would be just my mom and I doing something fun together. It was our “special time.” Usually, that meant going to the mall and walking around. I remember one time we were at the mall, and my mom did something surprising. She bought me a pair of designer jeans! My parents are frugal people and do not spend money flippantly. But on this particular night in the middle of my junior high years, I was really wanting some “Guess” jeans. Yes, my friends, this was the late 80’s. Typically, my mom would say ‘no’ to such an extravagant purchase, or she would tell me to save my money for them. But to my surprise, she splurged and said, “oh, let’s just buy them!” It sticks in my mind because it was out of the norm; a spontaneous act of generosity.
There was an energy released that night through money.
When we first launched Platt Park Church, I remember we did a year-end Christmas offering. Just after the email went out with the fundraising goal, there was a person in the church who emailed me back immediately and said, “I am sitting at the computer crying as I type this note to you. I feel God is asking me to give this amount to the year-end giving goal.”
There was an energy released in our church through the gift of money that day.
I can remember looking longingly at mountain houses, and then having the opportunity to go to a lovely mountain home with another family. My dream was their reality. The picture-perfect house looked like a scene I had studied in Mountain Living magazine. They had what I wanted. Yet ironically, they were unhappy. I watched as they were busy thinking and talking and scheming for something different, better, more. Despite living in what was a dream home to me, there was an unhappiness in them: a tension, discontent, and strife in that house.
There was an energy released through the money used to buy that home.
Half of the parables Jesus told are about money. Jesus spoke more about money than almost any other topic except the kingdom of God. Money has power. It has the power to reveal our hearts. This is why Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There are, of course, all the facts and figures of money: what you can afford, where you invest, how much you have or do not have. There is wisdom in considering our patterns of giving, saving, and spending. But, beyond the logistics of the facts and figures, there is another aspect to money. It is the spiritual dimension of money — the animating story you tell about money. The things you believe about money. The desires you have with money. Money has the power to tell you something about what you treasure most.
For example, when you say, “I will never be able to afford that!” you are speaking from an animating story. Perhaps it is a story of scarcity, or a story of fear, or an assumption that you know what the future holds. “I will never be able to afford that…” speaks to your belief that you know the future is not going to be good for you. Or, when you see some kind of goodness come into someone else’s life, and you say to yourself sarcastically, “Must be nice for them” you are speaking from an animating story. Perhaps it is a story that is more about you than it is about them; more about your heart believing goodness comes to others more than it comes to you, or not noticing how the goodness of God has come to you. Or, when you run the numbers over and over to determine the exact day when you can stop working and retire, you are rehearsing a story. Perhaps it is a story about security, or freedom, or control.
Sometimes pastors will say, “God doesn’t care about your money, He just cares about your heart.” That is absolutely not true. God cares about your money and God cares about your heart. In fact, the two are linked. Often it is our desires, stories, and beliefs about money that give us the greatest insight into the actual state of our hearts.