“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
That passage from Matthew 6 came to mind as I watched our dog Dutch the other day. I first noticed something was odd Sunday when our cat Pilot was wandering around our family room fearlessly. It was odd because Dutch was in the room also, which normally means Pilot is banished (by Dutch) to the top of our kitchen cabinets, and if does get up the nerve to venture down, he is careful to stay far away from the dog.
I took a look at Dutch, and realizing he had been sitting in the same green chair for a good thirty minutes, walked over to make sure he was okay. As I approached, he immediately turned and looked at the pillows he was sitting on. It didn’t take long to realize that he was hiding the piece of bread he had stolen earlier under the pillows. His stare was so intent, as if he could hold the bread there with invisible laser beams shooting from his eyes.
“Well, there’s his treasure,” I thought. He gives it away every time.
What about us? Are we as transparent?
I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of things I say I treasure, really want to treasure, but I’m afraid my actions many times say otherwise. When I say I treasure my family but spend my time buried in my laptop instead of engaging in conversation, then I’m not putting my attention where my treasure is. When I say I treasure my health, but put off exercise until the tomorrow that never arrives, I’m not putting my energy where my treasure is. If I say I treasure my faith in God, but don’t make prayer a priority, I’m not putting my time where my treasure is. And truly, our hearts will conform to the things we spend our attention, energy, and time on. Most of the time it’s unintentional; just the way life goes in our hectic world. Mindlessly surviving the days, turning us into people we really don’t want to be.
The same thing goes for our wallets. Mindless spending, like mindless eating, can lead to a lot of unintended consumption, and not in the places we truly value. If it’s true you can tell a person’s priorities by looking at her checkbook then you would think Shop Rite and I were BFF’s. When I take a moment to breathe and look at where the money’s been going, I often realize that my lack of planning costs us in places that aren’t priorities. Planning better would keep me from making so many trips to the grocery store, saving me time and expense. Because truly, I have lots of other places I’d rather spend that saved money. For you, it may be something different. Perhaps you love to cook (I don’t!) so spending a chunk of your budget at Shop Rite is important to you. Then that’s great! Spend it there. Is there a place though, that you invest your time and money that you really hadn’t intended?
Budgets (I prefer “spending plans”) often get a bad rap- folks look at them as restrictive, while instead they are freeing. Creating and living by a spending plan can help keep your spending in line with how you really want to live; helping you stay mindful instead of mindless, and investing your treasure where you desire your heart to be.
(yep, that’s his bed up there)