In Matthew 6:21, Jesus admonished his listeners about the places where they were storing up treasure. I’ve met many people who carried out the extent of this passage as it pertains to investing their money; they were quick to give and lived a minimalist life. It’s easy to assume if we’re not clinging to material goods, but giving to the needy and supporting Christian causes, that we’re “storing up our treasure” properly.
In light of recent events both personally and in the world around me, I want to challenge us all to consider that there may be another way we’re “storing up treasure” unwisely: by neglecting the treasures of thought and time.
The Treasure of Time
My husband compares seconds to cents and always encourages me to “invest” them wisely. I love this analogy because it makes me think of how I only have so many “second-cents” to “spend” in a day. Do I want to fritter them cheaply, or spend them wisely? What’s a worthy investment and what isn’t?
I’m not saying people need to spend every waking hour of the day reading the Bible. That’s just not realistic. Nor do I think every moment of television or “vegging out” is poorly invested—sometimes we need to zone out and recharge. But as a whole, think about the time you invest in fleeting pleasures vs. what you invest in the lives of others; the time you invest in spreading Christ’s love; the time you spend increasing your knowledge of God’s presence, plans, and purposes; the time you spend in the hobbies and giftings that fulfill your soul. Could you invest more time in these treasures?
The Treasure of Thought
Do you ever consider your thoughts themselves as treasure? Our thoughts—the things we dwell on—are precious, because while we actively dwell on them we aren’t considering much else. I for one give too much mental real estate to unwholesome thoughts as a result (and therefore a perpetuator) of my frequent anxiety.
Our thoughts are treasures in that we decide what we spend our time thinking about and pondering, and as a result we give precedence to those things. It’s been proven that the way we think lays the map of our brains—like a rut, the more we follow one train of thought, the deeper the path becomes, the steeper the sides, and the harder it is to climb out of.
I believe Scripture makes it very clear that our thinking process is important, vital—treasurable. God encourages us to dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” Why does God care about what we think about? Because where we invest our thoughts, we invest our lives. We are creating maps and paths. We are filling our “mental storeroom” with concepts that our minds will drift toward in idle moments.
How often to you dwell on the darker side of life? Do you give more thought to hope or despair? Do you invest your thinking in true and noble things, or in subjects that make you anxious, angry, and bitter? Could you remap your thinking to focus on things that are more pleasing to God?
Check the Storeroom
We all have ways—some obvious, some subtle—in which we’re treasuring up things that are to our detriment, not our benefit. Jesus gave stern warnings after his teaching about treasures: if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is unhealthy. You cannot serve two masters, like God and money.
If our investment is in unhealthy things, it becomes that much harder to serve God. In your own spiritual walk, in your own life, take a moment to assess your storeroom. Are you investing your time wisely by God’s standards, or neglecting His will for the sake of your own? Are your thoughts darkness or light? Are you carrying useless, or worse, detrimental, inventory?
What are you truly treasuring up?