Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Note that the passage does not say, “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also.” If it said that, we could say that our giving should follow the lead of our heart. Instead, the Bible, in essence, says, “Give where you want your heart to be, and let your heart catch up.” We should ask God where to invest our treasure, and our hearts will follow.
We talk about falling “in love” as though love is something that just happens when we are attracted to someone or something. We see someone shower a new love with gifts and favors designed to encourage reciprocation of the loving feelings.
But love is a verb. It is really all about action and choice. If we sometimes don’t really feel love for God or for others, that’s all the more reason to make the choice to love.
Gary Chapman has written about the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touching. His book encourages those who know their treasure lies in the relationship to learn the loved one’s love language and speak, act and give to the loved one in such a way that they will receive love. In other words, we consider what we can give to our loved one rather than what we can get from them. If we know where our treasure is, our heart will follow.
In spiritual formation, the goal is to change our hearts by knowing where our treasure lies, to learn to love the right things and love them well, to love as God loves, to act as God would act out of hearts of love for God.
So, when we think about our lives, we know that we want our relationship to God to be close and intimate. We also want our family lives, our marriages, our church communities to hold relationships of harmony and love. But love is a verb. We must choose to love, to invest, to exert ourselves (all action verbs) to facilitate growth in these relationships.
What does this look like?
As for our relationship to God, it likely means investing time and devotion to communicating with God, speaking from our hearts to God, and listening for God’s word to us. Because where our treasure is, our hearts will follow. It also means following the example of Jesus to love others. Because where our treasure is, our hearts will follow.
In our relationships to others, it likely means making ourselves available to those we love in our families and among our friends, giving our time, energy, support, service and acts, gestures and words of love. Because where our treasure is, our hearts will follow.
In our church communities, it likely means giving our time, talent and financial resources to our church family. Because where our treasure is, our hearts will follow.
Love is a verb. Love is a choice. We grow and we’re spiritually transformed as we give our hearts, souls and minds to loving as God loved us.
The hymn “Take My Life And Let It Be” speaks to the choice to love God and others. In part, the lyrics are:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
And so, we pray: Father God, you have loved us so much. You have given everything to us. Teach us to love as a verb, to love as a choice, to love as an action. As we rightly invest our time, talents and treasure, we pray that our hearts will follow in love.