Summary: Our heart's treasure grounds the purpose of our life. When our heart's treasure is God's kingdom, we have tremendous joy and peace.

August 11, 2019

Pastor Mary Erickson

Hope Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, WI

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40

The Heart’s Treasure

Friends, may grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Antiques Roadshow has been a longstanding popular show on PBS. People bring their antique treasures and experts tell them about the items they’ve brought in. It’s amazing what people bring: Chinese vases, old pocket watches, Civil War guns, Turkish rugs, paintings, windup toys, baseball memorabilia, even furniture. I’m always amazed when people go to the Herculean effort to bring a gigantic old wardrobe or heavy oaken table. Whew! They must have a lot of help to lug that item all the way to the show!

After the antique expert shares about the provenance of the item on display, they always close with an estimate of its value. It’s surprising what some of the items are worth!

Typically, the people who brought the item share how they acquired it. I remember this one person who rescued a painting from a garbage can in a back alley! He liked it and took it home. It turns out that it was a painting by a very important modern abstract artist and was worth tons of money. As they say, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

Several years ago, a couple from Menomonie went to the Antiques Roadshow when it was held in the Twin Cities. They took with them one of those British Toby Mugs. You know, those whimsical ceramic mugs that’ve been shaped and painted to look like someone’s head. It turns out that their mug was worth quite a handy sum of money.

But the mug wasn’t what they treasured. Their heart’s desire was to have another child. They had already had one child. But they’d been unable to conceive again. When they looked at that mug, it wasn’t the face on the mug they saw. They saw the face of a child. If they sold that mug, they would have the funds to pursue a foreign adoption. That’s what they did, and that’s how they adopted their second child.

Our heart’s desire and our treasures. Jesus reflects on these things in our reading today from Luke: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our heart’s grounding is our anchorage. Our heart’s treasure forms the basis upon which our entire life is built: all our meaning, all our focus, all of our purpose, all that matters to us.

When I was a Bible camp counselor, the camp I worked at had this old potter’s wheel. The wheel was very old school – it had a heavy millstone underneath. You had to kick it and kick it until you got the wheel to spin fast enough.

A fellow counselor had experience throwing pots on a wheel, and she gave us lessons on how to make a pot. After you got the wheel going fast, you had to throw your blob of clay onto the wheel.

Then next step was critical. You have use your hands to center the clay on the wheel. The clay has to be perfectly centered on the wheel. If it’s off just a little bit, you’ll wreck your pot. As you build up the sides of the pot, the balance will be off. The pot will go wonky and collapse.

The clay must be perfectly centered on the wheel. It’s the basis for all that will come.

What the treasure of our heart is becomes our centering. If our heart’s treasure is personal power, then that will become the foundation of our life. We will seek after power. We’ll need to be in control at all times. We will need to wield more influence than anyone else around us.

If riches and possessions are the treasure of our heart, then our lives will be focused on things and on wealth. We’ll always be searching after one more thing. We’ll have to stow away more and more money in our bank accounts, in our 401K’s. In spite of our wealth, we’ll have little or no money left over for anyone other than ourselves.

It might be beauty and looks. Or maybe our treasure is victory in sports. Maybe we ground our being in the success of our family. But these are all temporal things.

Jesus encourages us to center our heart on what really matters. He tells us to look to that which is eternal. All these other things, he says, don’t worry about them! “Fear not, little flock,” he says. “Don’t fret over these things, don’t worry yourself awake at three in the morning over them. Don’t work yourself to the bone in pursuing them. Because here’s the truth: it’s your Father’s good pleasure to GIVE you the kingdom!”

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