“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, NIV).
In this one concise statement Jesus reveals a fundamental attribute of human behavior: People do what’s important to them!
In other words, your priorities dictate your behavior.
Your life in this world is not so much a matter of what you get out of it as what you put into it.
All of us have plans for the future and goals we want to achieve in life. These could be plans for success in your career, a six or seven figure salary, a new home or maybe an exotic vacation.
Whatever the plans or goals are, we strive for those things that are important to us. And, Jesus makes it clear in this pronouncement that the things that we personally value are the things that control our lives.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?'” (Jeremiah 2:5, ESV).
The prophet Jeremiah was called to prophesy to the people of Jerusalem during the reign of King Josiah and until the city’s final fall to the Babylonians. Jeremiah preached Old Testament themes in a fresh way. His unique theological contribution as an Old Testament prophet was his articulation of the new covenant between God and humanity (see Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Jeremiah emphasized that God’s chosen people, Israel with whom God had made a special covenant, had forsaken Him and chosen to worship other gods. In this verse Jeremiah claimed that instead of seeking God, the Israelites were going after worthless idols.
Instead of seeking God, which was worthwhile, they tried to find spirituality in idols, which were worthless. And, by seeking after that which was worthless their lives consequently became worthless.
You are what you wish for–rather, you become what you wish for–according to Jeremiah.
“But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:41-42, NASB).
I have a busy life. Busy, busy, busy. I have all these important things I need to do. I suppose I’m an important guy because everything I do or need to do is so important!
But, I’ve got so many important things to do that there’s not enough time to do them all. And, it seems that I’m adding things to my “To Do” list faster than I’m checking things off of it. The list of incompletes is growing faster than the list of accomplishments.
In this busy, busy, busy life of mine, doing all these important things I am doing can distract me from the main reason I am doing them. All my busyness can distract me from the one thing that really matters. All my busyness can cause me to lose focus on Jesus!
“So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God”
(Nehemiah 6:15-16, NLT
Nehemiah Chapter 6 recounts the extraordinary political intrigue taking place behind the scenes attempting to prevent Nehemiah and the Jews from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
“Now, the Lord of hosts says this: ‘Think carefully about your ways'” (Haggai 1:5, HCSB).
The work of rebuilding the Temple had ceased for about ten years by order of King Artaxerxes of Persia (Ezra 4:24). Near the end of this ten-year cessation period, Haggai the prophet received a message from God to incite the repatriated Jews to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.
“If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the Lord; then he will rescue you from the Philistines” (1 Samuel 7:3, NLT).
Samuel had gathered all of Israel together to repent of their idolatry and rededicate themselves to God.
While Israel was assembled, the Philistines attacked them. Samuel prayed and God helped the Israelites defeat the Philistines because they had repented and rededicated themselves to serving and obeying God. Consequently, the Philistines didn’t attack Israel again until after Saul became king.