where your heart is, there your treasure will be too

“Your teacher said you were having trouble seeing the blackboard—said that you might need glasses.”
“Can you see the flowers in that field over there?”
“It’s a blur.”
“Can you read that sign?”
“No.”

What was it like to assume that the world was a blur? That clarity was not an option? That no one could make out details. I don’t remember.
So we go to the eye doctor. I don’t know if you’ve had that experience. One eye is covered up and the other is given options: “What’s clearer: this or this?”
“The second.”
“Alright, this one or this one?”
“Um, the first.”
“This one or this one?”
“Ummmm, the uhh, the second.” Did the doctor smile, knowing I didn’t really know? 
“This one or this one?”
“Uhhhhhh.” Exhalation.
What was it like to see something clearly for the first time? A letter where the edges were distinct and even—solidly there. I don’t remember.

There is the treasure of pirates and monarchs: gold and precious stones … Aladdin’s cave … treasure chests … diamonds … Scrooge McDuck. It’s distinctly present in our stories … modulated in our fantasies and solidly translated into our purchases: a skil chalet in the mountains, a Ski Nautique at a lake cabin, surround sound connected to the wide screen TV and the CD player, that new mountain bike and all those books.
But we somehow affirm some treasure in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7).
“This one or this one?”
“The second.”
“You’re sure?”
“Uhhuh.”

I congratulate myself, do you?, for taking for granted that true treasure is not stored up on earth where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal.

Treasure. Explore the connotations. It’s the hidden—caves, pits, graves, sunken—unearthed, released, salvaged—as silly as the prize in the cracker jack box—the cereal bought because of the picture of what’s hidden inside.
Treasure. It’s not what we have. It’s what we dream of—what we long for—or what we would dream of and long for if we knew it were an option for us (what was it like to assume the world was a blur? that clarity was not an option? I don’t remember.)
It is rare indeed to find/claim/hold/store a treasure that remains treasure (what was it like to see clearly for the first time? I don’t remember). Maybe to keep a treasure you have to bury it as soon as you get it! The wrapped present for a birthday or at Christmas is often more significant to me than whatever possession it turns into. And you can’t rewrap a present.

“This one or this one?” It’s the mystery—the hope—the longing that someone will be able to express what it is we most want to hear deep deep down inside—give us what we most want to have—it’s a prayer. Tell me, show me, prove to me what I am to you —who I am to you—how I fit. So this one or that one? Make a choice. You have to choose one. A possibility must be chosen to verify it. Unwrap the present, if you don’t you’ll never know.
“That one.”

I asked several people what first came to mind when I said treasure …: chest, box, Island, sunken. A location. A place where treasure is kept: solid, distinct.
Go sell what you own and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven (Mark 10:21).

“This one or this one?”
“The second.”

So it’s not what we have—it has to do with what we do—how we live: congratulations are in order! we were right. We don’t store treasures on earth: solid and distinct. So where do we store our treasure? Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-21).
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field (Matthew 13:44)—some field—unmapped—x does not mark the spot. There’s no great quest—no great adventure—no exciting cast of characters—some farmer out in his field doing her job. Can you see the flowers in that field? Or is it still a blur? I drove past a field of irises earlier this spring—stretching out almost as far as the eye could see. I had to stop the car.
So where do I store my treasures? I don’t buy the idea of some kind of heavenly credit account—jewels in the crown and so forth.
Where do I store my treasures? The irises are now gone—faded, had faded by the time I took a friend out to share my treasure. Does God smile knowing I don’t really know?
So fleeting—a taste of something delicious and enticing—you want more, but you’re not real sure what it was and how you got it and how to get more. It’s not planned—there’s no recipe—it’s not organized and implemented—it teases—tantalizes.

It’s seeing the plane high above and the bird flying parallel to it below.
It’s the sun behind trees turning branches into lace filigree.
It’s noticing with a friend that the wind makes different sounds with different trees.
It’s the moon hanging heavy, swollen and ripe in a summer sky.
It’s a mother telling me that her two year old picks up a plastic phone and says, “Hi, Don!”
It’s the grin and the yell that are not only on your face but in your throat as you hurtle down through freshly fallen powder or cut an arc of spray as you turn into a setting sun on a slalom ski.
It’s what makes your insides feel too big for your outsides.
“That one, definitely that one.”

And you feel connected—you feel embraced—you feel like you fit.
“It’s so clear.”
What’s it like to see clearly for the first time? Maybe I do remember.
Where do I store my treasure? In my memory—in my imagination—in my dreams.
For it’s the experience and it’s the memory of it; it’s the sadness that it’s over and can never be again again; it’s the hope that something like it will be again, but not knowing if it will; the dream of having eyes that see, so that treasure is not stored but lived and celebrated in the whole of our experience: the smiles, the laughter, the tears, the heartbreak—not to be understood or explained, but yes, to be known.
It’s realizing while hugging someone that that’s the most honest way—maybe the only way—to express the mystery of that relationship and you squeeze tighter as if you could leave some of yourself in them and some of them in you, and it’s being terribly afraid that when you can’t hug that someone anymore, you might lose that part of the relationship you don’t know how to express any other way.
It’s taking someone you love to a field of already faded irises.
“Can you see the flowers in that field?”
“Yes.”

Mom tells me I loved my glasses—that I walked out talking about how much brighter and clearer everything was.

“Can you read that sign?”

Store up for yourselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that you may take hold of the life that really is life (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
I have come that you might have life and life more abundant (John 10:10).
Treasure that isn’t hidden—doesn’t have to be found—unearthed—is there to be seen—do you have eyes that see (Jeremiah 5:21)? to embrace God incarnated in the experience of our living, and there, there you will find the abundance of your heart (Luke 6:45).

“Okay, these are perfect.
I can see!”

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4 thoughts on “where your heart is, there your treasure will be too

  1. I was meditating on the scripture “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also,” googled it and found this site and was very blessed by it. Thank you!

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