Luke 12:34 has Jesus saying the following: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NRSV).
This is part of a larger discourse that Jesus is delivering on worry and where we put our trust. It’s also a fine example of Jesus talking about money.
Too often we read this verse in the reverse – where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. But that’s not what Jesus said. What we do with what we have is an outward expression of what we truly believe and value, not what we claim to believe and value.
In other words, my words are empty and meaningless if my actions display something else. Our words and our actions should be congruent, or in alignment.
Don’t bother to tell me what you believe about anything – show me with your money, your time, your possessions. They will display exactly what you actually believe.
This is true for individuals, families, communities, organizations, businesses, institutions, congregations, and governments. If you really want to know what someone or some group actually believes, look at their budget. Where their money goes, tells you what they actually value.
Recently I read “Romans Disarmed” by Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh. Here’s what their take on the whole idea of money and the heart:
“Our attitudes are always embodied in specific practices in daily life. In the biblical story one’s economic practices are where these attitudes most often find expression.” (Pg. 166)
And here’s another passage from a couple of pages earlier:
“…whom or what you worship shapes your whole life. It determines how you conduct your economic affairs, how you relate to the poor, and how you treat the land. Our worship is indicative of our deepest trust.” (Pg. 164)
So, the uncomfortable question is this – How do my economic transactions show who I worship? How does my interactions with the poor show who I worship? How does how I treat the land show who I worship?
Even more uncomfortable is to ask these same questions of our elected officials, our churches, our institutions, and more.