I often receive well intended but unwanted post asking me to give to various charities. I also, periodically, get stopped on the street by someone in a tabard with a clipboard asking me to set up a new direct debit for a charity I’ve never heard of. And whilst I’ve got nothing against the Cats Protection or the Donkey Sanctuary, I can quickly justify not giving by coming up with an excuse by saying to myself something along by the lines of “that’s not really where my heart is” or “I can’t give to something I’m not fully behind”. Have you ever done the same?
We generally work with the assumption that only when we really care about something then we might be willing to start giving towards it. Until something grabs our heart, it doesn’t get a share of our wallet. We often think that Jesus said “where your heart is, there your treasure will be”.
But in both the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke, Jesus is recorded as teaching that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. This is the complete opposite idea. Jesus is suggesting that where you put your treasure, your heart follows.
Last week, Steve Campbell from C3 Church in Cambridge, came to speak to a number of leaders within Freedom Church. He shared an insightful metaphor on this topic. When we are children, he pointed out, we don’t generally show interest in house price trends or spend hours seeing what’s for sale in our area on Right Move. Once we have invested with our treasure, however, our heart quickly follows. We suddenly care about house prices, we watch our investment carefully and our general awareness increases. Our heart follows our treasure.
Another way of looking at it is like this: “how you spend your money reveals your heart”. In other words, it is difficult to claim to have a heart for something that doesn’t benefit from your treasure. My bank statement succinctly shows what I care about.
Maybe you feel like you don’t love Freedom Church enough, haven’t known it long enough or don’t know if you care enough to invest your treasure in it? I believe that Jesus is saying that if you start giving, your heart will follow.
I sometimes worry that my heart is in the wrong place. I am conscious that I am often self-seeking in nature. I believe that Jesus is saying that if I invest my treasure in healthy places my heart will follow.
If you want to have a heart for the poor, why not start giving to Compassion? If you want to have a heart for the homeless, why not start giving to Shelter? If you want to have a heart for the people of Syria, why not start supporting the NGO’s working there?
And so, next time I get asked to give to Cats Protection or the Donkey Sanctuary – I’m going to have to think of a new excuse!