A Determined Heart

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. Matthew 6:21 – 23

The sentences above are well known and often quoted by Christians. Unfortunately, we frequently ignore the sequence above and quote them as separate statements, implying that each sentence has its own message.

A careful reading of Jesus’ words reveals that we are dealing with one statement, not two. The second and third sentences comments on the first and expands its meaning.

Read together, they proclaim a single, simple truth: Our hearts are not free. They follow our treasure. Put differently, our commitment and passion in life are determined by those things that we deem valuable. This “value attribution”, as psychologists and students of human behaviour call it, determines the way in which we look at the world. It creates a “paradigm” or “interpretive grid” which functions like a mental filter, inviting some facts in and blocking others out. Ultimately it determines our behaviour, and so the old cliché rings true: “Seeing is being.” In the words of the Bible: The condition of your eye determines the whereabouts of your body.

Contemporary psychology and motivational theory have latched on to this idea, hence the jargon above. But the one thing these disciplines cannot do is to reveal the actual location of the treasure. This Jesus does. In case you hadn’t noticed, the verses above are preceded by a striking disclosure: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.“


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