Bruce Osborn, Director of Spiritual Development
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a poet and essayist in the 17th century, said, “Beware what you set your heart upon. For it shall surely be yours.” It is amazing how the heart drives our emotions, our will, our passions, and our desires. When you truly set your heart to something, you find that your motivation will soon follow. So beware, as Emerson says, because as your heart is stirred and motivated, so go your feet.
The heart is a central theme in the teachings of the Bible. Many times, throughout scripture the heart is used to serve as a measuring stick of our commitment to God. For example, with all our heart we are to love and serve God (Dt 6:5). The condition of our heart is reflected in our words and our actions (Matt. 12:34). And we find that our priorities are revealed by the motivations of our heart. Many of Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 can be traced back to the condition of our heart. In the middle of that sermon, Jesus tells us these words, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What is it that you treasure? What do you find yourself thinking of when no other task is demanding your attention? If you could follow your heart today, where would it lead? The answer to those questions will determine your treasure. Jesus taught us to not put our attention toward those things that don’t really matter in the long run; the things that will break, that will run out, or that someone can take from us. Instead, He taught us to put our focus on the things that matter in eternity; relationships, time, service, and the things that you really can’t put a price tag on. As we share our faith in Christ through our actions and our words, we are training our heart to value the eternal treasures. And we will find that the things of the world that are only temporary will soon become less attractive and will not captivate our attention like they once did.
It’s not wrong to have things in this world. But when we allow them to become our treasure, the purpose of life, we have lost focus on the kind of life that Jesus came to show us. And by allowing ourselves to be led by those temporary treasures we will soon find that it will only lead to a disappointed and discouraged heart, an empty life. Retraining the heart to value things of eternal significance is not easy, but it is possible. It’s done one choice at a time. And it starts with your choices you will make today.