I stared at the phone for hours. I needed money, and I hated calling my frugal dad to ask for help. After listening, in fact, he told me no. He was teaching me a lesson, and I was his student, a begrudging one. At the time – this was many years ago – I’d finished college and had a job. Thus, I felt worthy of Daddy’s help, confused and dejected when he turned me down. But why did he say no? What did he want me to learn? And, most importantly, what would I do next?
What I did was take a good, long look at my relationship – not with money, or even just with my Dad, but with God. How much did I crave Him? What was His worth in my life? Would I chase after money or “wealth” – or commit to know Him?
I’m reflecting on such questions today because I spoke with a family member recently about money. She wants more than she makes, she told me, and I could relate. For many years, I longed to earn more, more, more. “It’s a soul trap,” says renowned financial adviser Ron Blue, “and no person or culture is immune.”
Visiting in a mud hut with a Kenyan pastor, many years ago, Blue asked the man what his greatest hindrance to spreading the gospel was. Immediately, the man answered:
“What? How?” Blue asked.
“You see,” the pastor said, “if a man has a mud hut, he wants a stone hut. If he has a thatched roof, he wants a tin roof. If he has one room, he wants two rooms.”
Describing this exchange in his book, Never Enough? Three Keys to Financial Contentment, Blue noted that money “is a great revealer of the heart. If you give me your bank statement, I can pinpoint where you struggle and where you are free. I can identify your priorities and your goals. I can see what you love by looking at your checkbook.”
Then he quoted Jesus:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
That word treasure, as used in the Bible, has a curious meaning — sharing its root with the prefix “pre,” meaning to put before. What we treasure, we put before other things, valuing it more.
Treasure, in this way, means accumulated or stored up wealth, hoarded for use in the future.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:20 (NIV)
When we do, our goals change. Then our priorities grow godly, our financial frustrations shift, and our hearts find freedom.
And that was the lesson my beloved dad wanted me to learn. No amount of money or thing I coveted could provide such contentment. My late Daddy, an accountant who had witnessed in others the ruin of money lust, had taught me as a child about the priceless gift of salvation. Now he wanted me to know my greatest treasure.
Not money, not things, not jewels, or geegaws. Treasure is not the bling or the bauble we may buy or crave during this “gift-giving” season. It’s not even our basic needs: shelter and food.
Our greatest treasure is God’s power within us. In Him, we’re enabled to do what He needs from us, telling a broken world about Christ. One of my favorite Scriptures paints a picture of that dynamic:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power
is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
As written by the apostle Paul, this verse shows the irony of God’s power dwelling in our insufficient hearts. There it awaits us to call on Him to shore up our weakness with His strength.
In His great power, we then do greater works. We share His Good News, do His good ministries, love, forgive, and walk on water in faith — not coveting but sharing the glory of Christ.
When we feel weak to do these things, it’s time to go treasure hunting. Calling on His power, we do all He asks generously — not storing up things for ourselves. And paying the rent? Or other basic needs? His answer may surprise us: I’m all you need first, so share ME.
It’s a lesson worth considering during this glittering season. When shiny things draw us or money problems nag at us, let’s go treasure hunting. Then let’s share Him. My dad has been gone for decades now, but he wanted me to grasp this. That treasure isn’t an earthly thing and money alone isn’t “the answer.”
Instead, first, share from God — His love, His hope, and His promises. Then look what we discover: for all of us, He is more than enough.
Our greatest treasure is God’s power within us. -@PatriciaRaybon: Click To Tweet