The Bible says a lot of stuff that we pastors preach great sermons on but how well does it play out when life hits you in the gut? One of those things is that we should store up treasure in heaven because where our treasure is our hearts will be also. (Matthew 6:20, 21) A valid and important understanding of what Jesus’ purpose was in giving that instruction was so that we wouldn’t become hoarders of “stuff” but instead spend what God has given and enabled us to obtain in service and ministry to others.
But I’m learning a less obvious but equally import reason for this instruction: so that when your dreams are shattered your faith need not be.
Wendy and I have just had a dream we’d been pursuing for the last six months crushed. It’s a dream for an exciting and fulfilling ministry/career opportunity we could do together that we actually had years ago when we began in pastoral work but had relinquished to God. About six months ago God gave a refined version of that dream back to us. As we pursued it God affirmed and opened the doors every step along the way, sometimes in profound and emphatic ways. We were literally one step away from seeing this dream fulfilled but due to an unexpected change in circumstances completely outside of our control and influence the opportunity has closed indefinitely.
It was like having the wind knocked out of us. And because of where the process took us our whole future has suddenly become uncertain. I have to admit that for a while after getting the news it didn’t take much to knock me into headlong into the ditch of “Why God? It all was fitting together so well, everything was falling into place. We were following your lead! If it wasn’t to be why’d you let us go so far?”
Somewhere in all that God asked me where my treasure was. I realised again that even though it may be difficult or painful, what happens in this life isn’t the end of the story. My treasure is Jesus and nothing can separate me from his love for me. Even if I don’t understand, even when cherished dreams are torn from my grasp, as significant as those things are they are not primarily what my life is about. My life and all that happens in it have Jesus as its purpose and end.
If your greatest treasure, the things that you hold most dear and depend upon for purpose and stability in life are found in things or even people here and now, when those things are taken away you will be swept away by the floods of despair. Instead store up your treasure in heaven – in Jesus.