“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”
(Luke 12:34, NIV)
Joseph Campbell, sociologist and mythology expert, stated that our actions often betray our words. Campbell used to say that you did not need to listen to the words that people spoke to understand what their real values were . . . other “signs” would betray their values. Campbell used to point out that it was not difficult to determine what was the most important values in a community . . . all one had to do was to look at what was the most prominent buildings in the community.
When communities were first started the tallest buildings in the community were often the churches . . . churches were the foundation of the community . . . a place where people gathered, worshiped, and supported one another. As time went on, churches were over-shadowed by . . . government buildings. The town halls were taller than the church spires . . . and, government replaced church. But, don’t get upset yet . . . town halls were dwarfed by . . . financial institutions . . . banks became the biggest and tallest buildings in town. Campbell stated that the most prominent structures portrayed the most important values in a community. If you don’t believe him, check it out . . . Joliet is probably not the best place to check this out, but check out Billings and I think you might be surprised.
This is even true in our own lives . . . what is the biggest and most prominent feature in your home? Where is it that everyone gathers? Odds are that it is around a big screen television of some sort. Scary, isn’t it? Jesus said, and I am paraphrasing it here, “Where your treasure is, there lies your heart?” The scary part is that this betrays our words.
This betrays our words because we are the followers of Jesus . . . we are the faithful . . . we are God’s chosen ones . . . and, yet, our reality does not reflect this in our daily lives. Our treasures betray us.
Once again, Jesus hits us with one of those parables and stories that makes us stop and scratch our heads . . . actually, this is two different parables . . . two different stories. The part about the treasure is the tail end of one parable, while the need for watchfulness is the start of a second parable. When this happens, it does not make it easy to understand what it is that Jesus is telling us to do. The second part of our scripture reading this morning is fairly easy to understand . . . be ready . . . be prepared. No one knows the day or time that Jesus will return. And, since it could be now or tomorrow, Jesus asks everyone to be prepared. I think that we understand that.
This treasure thing though . . . it is a little more difficult to understand . . . but, not really. Jesus puts it pretty bluntly: “Where your treasure is, there lies your heart.” Our lives and what we own reflect our values . . . our treasures are where we spend our time and money. Think about it . . . go home after church today, pull out a piece of paper, pull out your checkbook registry, then start adding up where you spend the money you earn. First of all, throw out those essentials you need to survive—all those bills you pay to live. Look at where you spend your money . . . look at where you spend the majority of your time. These are the reflections of our true treasures. Is it in loving God and neighbor . . . or is it somewhere else?
Remember, our actions speak louder than our words . . . often our actions betray our words. What are your actions and treasures saying about you?
Sometimes blunt and to the point are the only things that can be said . . . I do not think that there is much more that I can say about this particular reading of scripture. It really is what it is . . . let your heart reflect where you treasure truly is . . . and, remember that the timeline on faithful could end today, or it could go on forever. No body knows!! Because of this none us of us can afford to wait until tomorrow to do what needs to begin today.
The tallest structure in Joliet, probably by the hair of the bell tower, proclaims church is still the most important value we have as a community . . . but, is it truthful? Let us place our lives before the mirror . . . what is it that we see reflected because that is where we will discover our treasure. Amen.