At the end of the passage in Luke 12:32-34 from the previous article, there’s a verse that I think we can mis-read:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:34 NIV
It is tempting to turn verse 34 around, and expect that people will send their money to wherever their heart is already at. Don’t we kind of think that way? We might look at someone donating money to a good cause and think, “Boy, they must really care about those children (“…for the children!”)”, or “They really love those disadvantaged people”, or “They think highly about those animals”.
Here in verse 34, though, our heart seems to follow our treasure. Now, this might just be a statement of truth that Jesus is making: that our heart and our treasure will end up in the same place. On the other hand, could it be that we care more about things that we have invested in? For instance:
- If you give money to a missionary, do you wonder how that missionary is doing in bringing people to Jesus? Do you pray for that missionary more, since you’ve entrusted some of your money to him or her?
- If you give money to a student, in order for them to get an education, do you think about whether or not that student is working hard and getting good grades (rather than goofing off and partying)?
- If you give money to a congregation, to help them with ministry, do you care more about how successful they are in making disciples of Jesus? Are you motivated to help them succeed, and ask God to do the same?
- If you serve in a ministry (not necessarily giving money, but using your time and talents), don’t you want to see it make a difference for God’s kingdom?
Sure, I think that our heart should be right with God, and we should follow His leading about exactly when and where we should share our possessions and other resources. (Our use of treasure should follow our heart’s goals.) However, maybe sometimes God is calling us to give to the right things first, and then watch our heart follow. If you and I find that we are too apathetic or callous towards something that God says is important – whether a ministry, a cause, or a principle – maybe choosing some targeted giving is what we need to change our hearts.
And, perhaps that is the lesson that the guy in an earlier part of this chapter (the one in Luke 12:13 who wanted his brother to divide the inheritance with him) needed to learn, as well as the lesson that the rich man in the parable of Luke 12:16-21 had missed: God’s blessings are more than enough to take care of us, but not all of them (especially our surplus) are meant for just us. God calls us to a life of generosity.
You’ve probably heard the statistics about how many global problems in this world could be quickly funded if all Christians would just tithe (i.e., give 10% of their income to ministries in God’s Kingdom). As the body of Christ, God has already provided far more than what we need in order to turn this world around. While we can’t compel everyone to sell their possessions and give them to the poor, each of us can make a start in our own lives (if we haven’t already done so), and we can be a good example of those who trust in God (and are blessed by God) to have Him take care of us every day.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for May 8, 2022
- The Lookout, May 8, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press Commentary, Luke, by Mark C. Black. College Press Publishing Company, © 1996.