By Mike Stickler
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In today’s verses, Jesus cautions us about the focus of our lives. All the while, He encourages us to focus on what is most important. He calls it “storing up treasures in heaven.” So, what are these treasures? Well, they can be difficult to identify at times. Some treasures “feel” right; but, aren’t. Years ago, I was discipling a man who, by all accounts, had a very successful major retail business: a beautiful showroom; employees impeccably dressed, and all the newest and best equipment. We usually met there after he had closed the store for the day.
By surface appearance and response of family and home, he seemed to be a successful Christian, family, and businessman. In fact, during our time together, he was building a grand home for his family in an affluent neighborhood. (To put it mildly, it was huge.) Upon its completion, he, his wife, and young toddler son moved in.
After one of our discipleship meetings, we walked through the showroom toward the door. Suddenly, he made an abrupt, 45-degree turn and walked across the showroom, mumbling under his breath. He came to a lamp on display, moved it roughly about one inch to the right, turned back to me, and said, “What’s frustrating is, I have people who are supposed to do this.” As we proceeded on to our cars, I thought, “Oh my! He’s really wound tight.”
Now, some might think that my friend just had a super attention to detail. Well, (as Paul Harvey would say), “And now, the rest of the story ...”
As it turns out, my friend was autocratic, controlling, and obsessive. His world needed to be perfectly aligned in every way. Obsessive control and alignment brought him comfort. And to a certain extent it brought him financial success. But deep down, he knew his energy was focused on what “moths and rust would destroy and thieves would break in and steal.”
Less than a month in his new home, he came to the revelation that he was focused on the wrong things in life. Strongly shaken, he called me and, with a hitch in his voice and conflict in his heart, said, “What am I doing? Why did I build this huge house? Mike, I just spent 20 minutes wandering the house looking for my wife. What am I to do?”
The Holy Spirit had him in His grasp and wouldn't let go.
Inside of 30 days, he sold everything, his new house and all its contents, his businesses, even his vehicles. To my astonishment, he bought a truck and fifth-wheel trailer. My response was, “You bought these for what purpose?” He said, “My wife, son, and I are going to get in the truck, see America and get to know each other again.” And that’s what he did ‒ for the next 18 months ‒ until they found a place they just loved, a quiet piece of earth to live, work, enjoy, and from which to store up treasures in heaven.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Does any part of this story sound familiar to you? Are you in a life you wish you weren’t leading? Even though you may have reached some level of success, is your life abundant or hollow? Would you have the courage to respond as my friend did? God calls us to live generously from the abundance He gives. He is not impressed with your financial portfolio or how much you give away. What He cares about is your focus.
If this story and verse resonates with you, what are you going to do about it? Write down your answer below.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.