Most of us have a challenge in determining the value of things. Last month some vandals broke into an art museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They knocked over a $50,000 fiberglass cactus that had been paid for by taxpayers.
As city employees were cleaning up, they thought it was garbage and sent it to a landfill where it was compacted and buried! $50,000 – and they had no idea it was worth anything.
It is easy to verbalize our set of values and priorities. But the real question is whether or not that is really what we value most.
Jesus nailed this question in the Sermon on the Mount. We can talk a lot about things that are important or unimportant, but He contends that the most important things are indicated by the way we spend our financial resources.
He made it very clear that “Where your treasure is there is your heart also.” (Matthew 6:21) The best way to discover what is important to a person is to look at their bank statement. Where do I spend my money? Where I invest my financial resources is where my real values lie.
I remember growing up that sometimes a person would be talking a lot about something that was very important. Someone would simply say “put your money where your mouth is.” If you are not willing to put your money there, then quit talking about it.
It is frightening to see that in the U.S. we are spending more and more of our money on things that are really not that important. We right now spend $1.2 trillion on nonessential goods and services annually. Consumer spending on discretionary luxury items includes sports cars, jewelry, yachts, alcoholic beverages, candy, etc. The amount we spend has risen to 11.2 percent of total consumer spending. This is up from 4 percent in 1959!
All of these things on which we are spending our discretionary income are also addressed by Jesus in the same passage. He talks about how things rust, lose their value, thieves can break in and steal them, etc. The most important things in life don’t rust, can’t be stolen by anyone, and never lose their value. (Matthew 6:19, 20)
Jesus summed up our priorities by saying, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything you need will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:34) That is invaluable!!