You love what you treasure

Published 12:15 pm Saturday, November 7, 2015

by Andrew Book

About a month ago I wrote a column about the place of sports — youth sports, college sports and professional sports — in our lives. I wrote about how easily those sports become things we worship in our culture today, and challenged us to consider what we truly worship by looking at the way we spend our time, money and energy. I also shared that I am a fan of several sports — mostly basketball and football teams from my home state of Georgia and my alma matter, the University of Georgia.

However, something interesting has happened over the past few months. Several months ago, in an effort to save money, we disconnected our cable and now rely on Internet-based services for any TV we want to watch. This has worked well for the most part, but we knew when we made the decision that the loss of sporting events would probably be the biggest challenge. As the football season began, I wondered how much I was going to miss being able to turn on a game from time to time.

I think we are getting close to halfway through the NFL (National Football League) and College football seasons. Honestly, I am not really sure how far into the season we are because I have discovered (something to my surprise) that I really am not concerned about what I am missing on the football field. I have yet to find myself trying to follow a game by reading updates online or knocking on doors to borrow someone else’s cable. Instead, I have been reminded of the truth that it is those areas of life that we give our energy and attention to that we most often end up loving. We love what we feed with our time and energy.

Jesus said something very similar in Matthew 6:21. Jesus told us, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It is notable that this is one of the most mis-quoted passages in the Bible. Most people think scripture says “where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” We assume that everything follows our hearts and that “the heart wants what it wants” (a quote penned by Emily Dickinson in 1862). In many ways, we consider ourselves slaves to the desires of our hearts, but fail to realize that the desires of the heart themselves are shaped by our actions. If we treasure something by focusing our time and energy on it, we will grow to love it. If we treasure someone by how we treat them, by caring for them, speaking kindly and with care and seeking their best interest, we will find that, over time, our hearts will grow fonder of them. The heart’s desires can be hard to understand at times, but the heart is shaped by how we live our lives.

I was recently looking at the data from past censuses in our area and was floored to see the drastic increase in the number of single mother households in our area over the course of a decade and a similar reduction in the number of households with married couples. We have bought into the idea that “the heart wants what it wants,” and we are willing to walk away from relationships we have built our lives and families around based on the idea that we are no longer “in love.” Now, there are good reasons (such as abuse) to end a marriage, but the reality of many divorces today is that we simply don’t think our hearts are “in it” anymore. If your heart isn’t in your marriage, then you need to treasure your spouse, and as Jesus tells us, we will discover that “where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.”

In one column we have travelled from football to marriage. Getting your heart back into your marriage certainly requires more treasuring than developing a love of football (it also requires two people committed to getting your hearts into it!), but the same truth governs them both: treasure those things you want to care about and you will find that your heart will follow.

I hope and pray that you will live your life deciding what you will treasure and then inviting your heart to follow along. That leads to a much fuller life than simply following the fickle desires that pop up one day and can be gone the next. Live intentionally. Decide what matters, live like it matters and, over time, your fickle heart will come to agree!

ANDREW BOOK is the pastor of Courtland United Methodist Church. He can be contacted at 653-2240 or