Matthew 6, 19-21
Something to read
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
King James Version
'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
We can treasure many things: the love of friends and the joy of feeling well; the sunset's glory and the sound of waves; the splendour of silence and the bustle of company. There are all sorts of good things that we can enjoy and for which we can give praise to God.
But we can also get treasure wrong. It can become a trap and a prison within which our lives get stunted and our faith withers. So it is with wealth and the possessions money can buy. Money can become corrosive, sapping our trust in God because we can convince ourselves that we are creating impregnable lives safe from harm.
But we also become increasingly cautious and suspicious. The more we have the more we have to be stolen and the more intense our worry at security.
Jesus says we are to consider what we prize above all things; what we most treasure. And he invites us to put our relationship with God as our greatest priority. That is a big challenge. For there are plenty of other things and other relationships we can give priority to. Is it that God gets jealous? Maybe, although jealousy is perhaps far more human than divine.
Perhaps a better way of looking at it is that God wants to give us life in all of its fullness, and that gift and offer can only be fully received when we appreciate it as the greatest gift we'll ever find. This challenges everything that may be timid or half-hearted about our faithfulness today.
Something to do
What is one thing that gets in the way of you putting God at the centre of this day? As you name it, think about escaping from it. How could you do that? Is there something you need to stop doing? Is there something you need to start doing?
Something to pray
Treasure glitters and attracts.
We can be captivated so easily by so many things, so many people.
Magnetised, our hearts get drawn towards what we most value.
So it is that Jesus says, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
You are speaking a word of judgement and of grace, Lord.
Judgement – for we can find much to give allegiance and honour to that does not draw us to you.
Grace – for we can be captivated by your love and goodness, drawn closer and closer into your embrace.
Help us to choose the life your love would have us know.
Help us to treasure the joy you would have us feel.
Help us to honour the goodness you would have us share.
Help us to uncover the riches you would entrust us with.
Help us to find, in you, life's fulfilment and life's truth.
So may we obey, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers