A Story About Treasures
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
Three weeks ago Josh Mann gave a sermon that blew the doors off my little world. I didn't actually get to listen to it until a few days ago; we had missed church that weekend and so while Hot Jeff and Samuel were out grocery shopping and I was holding a feverish baby Roo I downloaded the sermon and listened. Click on Josh's name and the link will take you to SAC's podcasts. Click on "Welcome to Babylon" to listen to the sermon; it will change you!
Anyway, I listened to the sermon Monday afternoon and when I went to bed that night I was in that sweet spot between being awake and falling asleep when the above Matthew verse came in to my head. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Josh didn't mention it in his sermon so I wondered where it was coming from. I floated in my little wake-sleep state a few moments longer when the verse came to mind again, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Immediately after, for a lack of a better term, I had a vision. This is the story of that vision.
Jesus walked along side me; His face was blurry and I am uncertain of where we were when Jesus asked me to show Him where I kept my heart. I beamed with pride and my pace quickened as I led Him to a beautiful treasure box. The box was decorated ornately and the brass handles glistened and sparkled. Jesus and I kneeled before the glorious box and I looked at Him eagerly to make sure He was ready for me to open the box. He nodded, urging me to do so. We peered together over the side to see my carefully placed Bible, Bible studies, finished and unfinished that I have studied. My "ministry" opportunities lie next to a tenderness for missions. I pointed to my church attendance and hoped He'd notice it is sitting next to books I has read about becoming more like Him. Underneath it were pages and pages of things I had written about Him and how much I love Him and next to it there was a photograph of me at the age of 11 asking Him to live in my heart and be my Savior...my joy and pride were nearly seeping out of me as He looked over the items in the treasure box.
"But where is your heart?" He asked. Confusion washed over me, "It has to be in here", I thought to myself. Jesus interrupted my thoughts and touched my hand to stop me just as I began to rifle through the box of sacred items looking for my heart. "I thought it was here", I said in a whisper.
Jesus followed me as I led Him to another treasure box not far from the one I had just foolishly and pridefully shown off. I started to explain, "My heart is in this box. It is my family. I'm a mother...how could my heart be anywhere but in this box?" If Jesus sensed the defensiveness in my voice He didn't comment.
The box, a little bigger than the one before, sat modestly. It was scribbled all over with crayons and the latch was hanging on by one screw, the other lost long ago. Although I felt shame that my heart had not been in the prior treasure box, my guilt faded as I began lifting items out of the box, each one justifying why my heart was here rather than in the other. A moth eaten wedding dress covered sentimental souvenirs of my children's childhood; a pair of baby shoes, a well loved binkie, a lock of hair in an envelope. Every time I pulled an item out I was flooded by warm memories. I tried to overlook what else I saw in the box: the guilt, the wasted time; my comparisons to other mothers now threatening to spill out over the top of the box. I felt my eyes welling up with tears but I kept digging...I knew my heart was underneath it all, lying at the bottom of the box.
I was on my second run-through the box when Jesus gently touched my shoulder. "It isn't in here either". His voice was calm and tender, but knowing; He pointed to a box in a dusty corner. "No, its not in there" I weakly protested. I knew that box well; its wood was worn smooth from being packed around with me for as long as I could remember. At different times in my life the box had gotten too heavy for me to carry and I would unpack it and take out things that no longer suited me but really I had gotten very clever in my packing and had learned how to fit everything in perfectly.
"Lets take a look", Jesus urged. I protested again, this time with a little more conviction but before I could say 'no' again He was lifting the lid. My pride stared up at me. In this Light it didn't look as appealing as it had in the past. I knew my heart wasn't in this box but I decided to pull everything out just to prove Him wrong. There sitting next to my pride was a rope of defense mechanisms and tucked in next to the rope was a little pill box filled with sarcasm, unwholesome talk and self-righteousness. Growing in a pot was a thriving flower and each petal had words on it: self-doubt, image management, short-tempered and controlling. The root had grown since I last saw it but it was still the same, fear. Other trinkets were thrown in the box but I saw no need to look further. I shut the lid and exclaimed, "Nope, its not in here".
Jesus looked at me kindly, "I think you should look again" He said. He carefully lifted the lid again and I saw it. There was my heart. Tangled and choked by the other things I had stuffed in the treasure box but there nonetheless. Too shocked to cry, I gingerly reached in and touched the life force, repulsed that I had been all too eager to keep it in this place for so long.
"Guard it.", Jesus warned as He handed it back to me, "Now lets go".
Out of habit I bent down and hoisted the heavy treasure box. Jesus looked at me curiously and then smiled. He took the box from my arms and set it on the floor next to my feet. "You can't take this with you. We are going somewhere together and you can't take this with you".
For a brief moment I considered not going with Him; how could I leave my treasures? Just then I felt my heart beat in my chest, the rhythmic thump, thump, thump promised rebirth, renewal...consecration.