What will make you happy?

In my book, Prince Crossing, Vicki must learn the painful lesson that material things do not satisfy. And in our society, especially at this time of year, hope in our possessions runs rampent, so we must learn the same lesson. Jesus addresses this head on:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

Matthew 6 is chock full of wisdom for our lives. The first part of this chapter could be named “Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself.” Jesus pointed out how the religious leaders were continually trying to demonstrate how holy they were.

To counteract that tendency to profile our good deeds, Jesus discusses giving to the needy. He denounces the idea of drawing attention to your giving, but instead suggests doing it in secret. Then he immediately goes into similar instruction on how to pray, once again admonishing us to not make prayer in to theater, putting the attention on ourselves instead of God as we pray. To give us an example, he prayed what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Finally, he says we should fast in secret, instead of pointing out what we are doing. That brings us to the verses written above about not laying up treasure on earth. In other words, we are to live for something and Someone that is incomparable to anything we could find here on earth. He also points out that what we treasure is what we love. The Message says it this way: “The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”

In other words, Matthew 6 is about learning to live for God and his kingdom rather than for our own glory and esteem. In case that makes you feel a bit blue about your prospects on this earth, Jesus assures you that God will feed and clothe you brilliantly as he does the birds and the lilies of the field. Oh, and he reminds you that you have nothing to worry about.

What do you value? To find out, finish this sentence: “If I just had ______, I’d be happy.” How you answer that question may demonstrate what has become an idol in your life. Whatever it is, it cannot compare to the value of knowing and following Christ no matter your circumstances. He promises to care for you and reward you for your faithfulness. What could make you happier than that?

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