“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Your heart not only indicates what you value or ‘treasure’, but your heart is your treasure. Its something to be treasured; to be valued and to be looked after with great care. I have only ever heard this scripture being used in sermons around material things or the perils of creating for yourself monetary/ worldly idols above God – and that living ‘for the Kingdom’ is of greater worth or value than building your own earthly empire. Yes. Indeed, valuable lesson that we should all take to heart – but it goes so far deeper than that! Your heart is your treasure.
What do people do with priceless heirlooms or ‘treasure’? They look after it. No, that’s a slight understatement – they’re very particular about how they look after it: its safekeeping is of utmost importance. The British Crown Jewels are kept under fulltime surveillance, in a secure facility with an armed guard. The Mona Lisa – possibly one of the world’s most famous priceless artworks – is behind bulletproof glass, fulltime surveillance and a guard. Seems a little extreme? Not to the owners of such valuable treasures! Can you imagine the loss if such a treasure was stolen? And yet, far far far more valuable than any earthly object – no matter how beautiful – is the human heart. Not the rather odd looking organ that pumps blood through the body; your soul (emotions and thoughts – the very essence of what makes you, you). There is no other soul the same as yours, no other person has, has had or ever will have the exact same thoughts or feelings as you do. You are unique in being you. No amount of cloning or scientific experimentation and development has ever come close to being able to duplicate a soul. One of a kind? Priceless. So what’s the security like on your heart; your treasure?
I’ve heard countless ‘Relationship Sermons’ tell young people to guard their hearts. And as a young person, I thought that simply meant I had to lock my heart away, deny every emotion that I felt relating to anybody and wait for that proverbial knight in shining armour to come unlock the tower (clearly going with the whole Rupunzel angle) and rescue me from this guarded approach to life. It didn’t take long to figure out that that wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon… and yet, having watched so many of my friends (both girls and guys) approach this dilemma from the opposite angle, I realised that doesn’t work either. Its a too familiar situation: girl/guy desperate for love/ validation/ a sense of belonging hurls herself/himself into relationship after relationship, hoping desperately to find a place where her/his heart will be safe. The sad reality is that in pretty much most of those cases, all they were left with was a heart being battered, hurt and disappointed – and every relationship later, the moths took a stronger hold; eating away at what is meant to be treasured. So many beautiful, priceless treasures left bare to destruction, simply because their ‘keepers’ didn’t find the right place to store them. So. I looked again at the tower scenario… I’ve met many hearts who’ve experienced a moth or two in their lifetime, and deciding the hurt, confusion and disappointment is too much, they retreat to the tower. Locked away behind solid rock walls, no door to enter and only the tiniest window way up out of anyone’s reach – ideal for protection, right? Um. No. Like mould, rust is most happy in slightly wet, dank environments. Like a hurting heart locked in a tower. Isolation does not protect; keeping the heart from air and light only allows the rust to set in. Ever tried to open a lock once the rust has set in? Yeah, its close to impossible. Once trapped in the tower, no amount of force or pressure is going to open that heart from the outside.
Do I really need to point out who the thieves are? I’ve faced my share of thieves in my lifetime; it may surprise you when I say most of them were charming, wonderful Christian men. Regardless of who they are or what type of person they are, if they don’t see your heart as your treasure and set out to mistreat or devalue it – they are thieves. No matter what their intentions, the end result is a stolen treasure.
I heard a quote somewhere once that went along the lines of “a woman’s heart should be so deeply lost in God, that a man needs to seek Him in order to find it.” At first I thought that a little ‘super-spiritual’, but as I’ve grown, I’ve realised just how true that statement is. The scripture in Matthew tells us to store our treasures (our hearts, in case you’ve somehow forgotten!) in Heaven because it will be safe there. Again, in my younger days, I thought this meant that He would somehow wonderfully ‘turn off’ one’s emotions and stop all feeling until the Right Time. Not quite. But, and I realise that this has been part of my personal journey, I have seen how if we surrender our hearts to God (store them in Heaven), our Heavenly Daddy goes out of His way to protect our heart. I’m sure I’ll share more details about this aspect of my journey at another stage, but I have experienced God’s protection in unexplainable ways in this area – intervening on my behalf in crazy ways sometimes, and more recently, strengthening me to walk through some pretty challenging stuff unhurt simply because my treasure was stored in Heaven. And yeah, I like to think my treasure has the benefits of fulltime surveillance, secure access and an armed guard!
I realise not everyone has had the journey I have, and you may even be thinking of how moths, rust or thieves have stolen from your own treasure. I don’t know your situation, but I do know the God of Love who can heal and restore every hurt heart; no matter what it’s past experience. No hurt or disappointment or regret is too big or impossible for God to redeem. He truly is the healer of brokenness.
Allowed your treasure to be damaged by moths and thieves? Ask God to heal, restore and renew your treasure. He’s pretty awesome at that…
Finding yourself stuck away in a tower and facing a rust problem? The release must come from the inside. Only God’s Spirit of Love can do that sort of Release Work. Even then, it must be a gentle, internal working that first heals the heart from all the rust, and then gets set on breaking the walls down from the inside out. If there was pressure from outside, the walls would no doubt collapse and crush poor rusty heart within; no, the heart itself must push the walls out and allow them to crumble outwards.
All I know is this: if you are not living with a heart Free and Secure in God’s love, and you’re carrying around hurts, regrets and disappointments… its seriously time you reconsider where you are storing your treasure.