Where Your Treasure Is
T. Suzanne Eller

"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal." Matthew 6:19 (NLT)

I was on my own at 17. I worked two jobs while attending a small community college and eventually left college because I ran out of funds. Three years later I married my husband. Over the next few years babies were born, with medical expenses incurred. Then I got sick: Cancer. It probably won't surprise you that because of these circumstances, there was a huge need in my life for financial stability.

I pinched pennies. I calculated paychecks to the last dime. I made lists of our debt month after month, figuring out how to pay them off quicker. I think financial gurus would say I was on the right track, but can I be honest? In the midst of my calculations and my overwhelming need for security, pinching pennies became not just a means to meet my goal and take care of our family, but it started to reflect my heart spiritually in the area of giving.

Even after I was secure. Even after our financial status was stable.

We tithed. We gave to others, even sacrificially. But my heart wasn't in it. As I placed a tithing envelope in the offering, I thought: What about our savings? Shouldn't we be building it? What about buying something new for us? Our car is older. The miles are racking up.

Friends would have been surprised at the battle that raged inside me. I was ashamed of it. They would have called me generous, but I knew the truth. I had worked so hard for such a long time that I had come to count on Suzie. I obeyed God in this area, but did I trust Him?

I desperately wanted a generous heart, no matter how much was in our bank account. The first thing I felt God asking me to lay down was worry. As I prayed, I went back to all the times God had liberally cared for me. As an unsure young girl alone at 17, His love led me day by day. As a young mom overwhelmed at times, He wrapped me in security and grace. As a 31-year-old woman diagnosed with cancer, He filled me with faith that could only come from Christ.

My confidence in Him had nothing to do with money, but rather His presence in my life. I put worry down, asking for the strength to abide in Him instead of fear.

The second thing I felt God asking me to lay down was resentment. Oh, Father, such a hard word. Are you sure that is the condition of my heart? And yet, there it was. Hidden from others, but clear as day to me and my Savior.

It's been years since that pivotal moment between me and Jesus. Recently I was talking with one of my daughters. "Remember when you used to worry about money?" she asked. I nodded, smiling. "You seem to be so different, Mom, and yet I know that you and Dad live on a strict budget, especially now that he's back in school. Do you have money I don't know about?" she teased.

Yes, baby, I do. But it has nothing to do with my bank account. It's a different kind of treasure, one that acknowledges how rich I am to have food on the table, a car that starts every time I turn the key, a family that loves me like crazy, and faith that runs deep. It's a treasure that is nestled inside, that is filled with joy when I drop off books at a shelter, or send a check to sponsor my beautiful Compassion International child, or respond to God's leading to give more than a tithe. It's a treasure that is a deep confidence in who God is.

In many ways I'll always be that 17-year-old girl wanting to be secure, but I've found a different kind of security. I may never be wealthy, but believe me when I say this: I'm rich beyond belief. I'm blessed, blessed, blessed.

Dear Jesus, You see my heart. You know my fears, insecurities, and hunger for stability. I pray I will see the vast riches around me, things others might not see as wealth, but in the end they are the most priceless. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

The Woman I Am Becoming by T. Suzanne Eller

Visit Suzie’s blog where she’s giving away a few copies of her books and offering a unique challenge.

Learning to Live Financially Free is a great book for you and your husband, and Raising Financially Savvy Kids (CD) for your children. Both by Marybeth and Curt Whalen

Application Steps:
List the things that money provides for you.

List the things you provide for yourself.

List the things God provides for you.

In each, describe your heart condition. Is it in balance with today's scripture (Matthew 6:19-21)?

Reflections:
Temptation to depend on wealth is insidious, but the real problem lies with attitude rather than with the amount of possessions we have. ~Anonymous

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:25-27, "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?" (NLT)

© 2010 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I are expecting our second child any day now. Very prayerfully, we have recently made the decision for me to quit my full-time job and find part-time work so that I can be at home more as a wife and mother. I love my job as a teacher, but I know that I am in the season where my family has priority over a secure, well-payed job with benefits.

That being said, I find myself wondering if I've messed up our financial present and future; however, the devotion this morning reminds me that my treasure is not in these things that are temporary, but in those things that are eternal. My family's financial future doesn't depend on me no matter how many times that doubt creeps in. Our security and our treasure comes from God alone through His Son Jesus Christ. Thank you for this reminder!

Blogger pro356mom said...

When my husband and I were expecting our first child we decided that I would go back to work. God decided that I needed to be home with our daughter. After returning to work I was unexpectedly laid off – thank you God! His plans always are better than our own!

That was just about 12 years ago and I have learned to recognize everything as a gift from God and to be grateful. Thanking God as a start to my prayers, and holding everything with an open hand has allowed me to be more generous with others and less focused on money. We still have to be careful with our income and our “outgo” but we do it with a joyful heart and a confidence that our Heavenly Father will provide what we need. Two verses that keep me on the right path: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) and “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) Sometimes it’s hard to do, but it is always the right thing to do.

Blogger Christine Koppel said...

So completely what I needed this morning. It has been a tough season but I know beyond a doubt that God will provide all my needs according to his riches and glory and as I continue to trust my heart and mind will come into alignment with the kingdom of God. It is hard, honestly at times, but oh how I want to consistently walk in that grace.

Thank you for the reminder.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im seeing this guy who is super rich. I had the time to get to know him. But deep inside, I am really not sure if I am seeing the person beyond the wealth. Ive been praying to God about this because I cannot figure myself out. Thanks so much for this reminder! This reminder is indeed a blessing. Please pray for me as I search and learn more about myself through this experience :)

Blogger Steve Finnell said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just what I needed today! My husband is currently finishing up his PhD (and we have quite a bit of student loan debt as a result), and he's also looking for a teaching job at any college around the country that will take him. Of course, with the economy being the way it is right now, his chances are not the best. We are living on my salary as a kindergarten teacher and his paycheck as a part-time graduate assistant at his university. I'm not "bashing" him in any way...I am very proud of him and I know how hard he's trying to find a long-term job and give us some stability.

Even so, I feel anxious almost all the time. We have three pets to care for who are like our children, and we also want to start having children (of the human variety!) sometime next year. My husband has had a promising "bite" from a college in Florida, but right now we're at a standstill and just waiting to see what happens. I worry sometimes that we're always going to be living in a small, cramped upstairs apartment with my salary paying most of the bills, and that we'll have to put off expanding our family even longer because of my husband's uncertain job future.

This devotional today helped put things in perspective for me. (That's not to say that my perspective won't end up skewed later!) We have enough money to pay our bills, buy groceries, and do fun things like go out to movies (afternoon movies are cheaper, after all!) We also have fully functional vehicles, jobs, supportive family and friends, and two dogs and a cat who think we are the world. But best of all, we have Jesus on our side! I look back over my life, even before I was married, and all I can see is His grace and divine provision. It seems silly to think that I can't trust Him with our future...look how faithful He's been with my past and even my present circumstances! Thank you for sharing and reminding me what's truly important...what it truly means to be blessed!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that this website always speaks to my heart. My husband and I are just starting to follow the Financial Peace Program. It is only the first week and it is hard. This devotion was a word of encouragement. I have made it through the first week. And each week after this will get easier. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks you it is amazing how God always put the right message when I need it daily It is like you write this just for me daily after loosing our home, and moving 2 times in the last 7 months I am in search of security that I know this world does not provide. I see others dressed to the nines and I wear the same 4 shirts with a few different shorts, I know God is taking all the worldly good so I notice my father Gods goodness and to learn to depend on him, Thanks for the reminder

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the devotion. I, too can relate to tithing as a duty rather than giving with a generous and cheeful heart----this is my prayer! God has done SO much and continues to bless me more than I can imagine.
I can relate to two of the readers who made comments. I "supported" my husband while he went back to school. In my heart, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and wife. God heard my prayers and for the last seven years, God has provided my husband with a job that pays our bills. I am so grateful---
Thanks to P31!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen! my treasure is in His heart. :)
thank you.

I so identify with this.
Hugs... and thanks for sharing!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord for all the blessings. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful. All good things come from above.

Anonymous amy said...

God Bless you....
we all need to be able to see just how blessed we are and how richly God cares for us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's devotion was sent to me by a friend. It came at the right time because today I was feeling worthless and a total failure. I was laid off 1-1/2 year ago. I have a part-time job and we left the West and moved back East. It has been 10 months and no full-time job. I have $0 in my bank account; overwhelmed by the stress and mounting bills; I am at my lowest this morning till I received today's devotion. Thank you and thank you. I have not been able to pray and only relying on me when in fact, Jesus is always there and the only thing I need to do is rely on Him for everything. I am taken my eyes off of Him.

Blogger Waleska said...

I so need it to see this devotional. My husband and I are full time students and just got laid off from his work. It is difficult not to worry sometimes, but with God's grace and provision everything is possible...THANK YOU!!!!!!

Oh! Your post described me as far as penny-pinching and worry! My husband and I are working on a budget for the first time in 32 years. But I don't want that to become an idol. God has been speaking to me about laying my worry at His feet and then resuming the intimacy we once shared.

OpenID slds56 said...

Enjoyed your post today. Another reminder that sometimes we really loose focus of what is really important. I have a situation going on right now where I am really having to trust God. Thank you for your encouraging words.

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