In the classic tale, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” young Alice comes to a fork in the road and asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” says the Cat. “I don’t much care…” Alice responds. The cat says, “Then it doesn’t matter…” You see, what Alice wanted to know was the “best” was to go and the Cat answered with great insight: The best way to go depends on where it is you’re going…
Many of us walk through life wanting someone to tell us which way to go. Jesus teaches this isn’t the best question to ask. Instead, the most important question pertains where you’re headed. And where you’re headed is directly connected to who you are becoming. And who you are becoming depends a great deal on what you’re investing in. Where you’re invested always determines where you end up.
When you hear the word “investment,” what do you think of? I asked a several people last week, and ‘money’ was by far the winning answer. When westerners think of an investment we typically think of finances. However, we don’t usually associate financial investments with who we are becoming, but Jesus did. In fact, people get tense when we start discussing God’s plans for their money.
Jesus knew that nothing else indicated when a person’s loyalty was like money. A person’s checkbook brings their life into perspective. It’s been said that if historians of the future ever wanted to learn about our culture, they wouldn’t read our newspapers, they’d sort through our checkbooks. Our lives revolve around money. How we use it, spend it, and manage it, is maybe the single-most revealing thing about our lives.
It’s true, and Jesus knew it. So throughout his ministry he talked about money often. In fact, Jesus talked more about money than he did heaven or hell combined. For Jesus money reveals the answer to the most basic developmental question of life: “Where is your heart?”
Jesus said, “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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus essentially teaches that if you want your heart to be with God, you must put your treasure with God. Does that mean the answer is to sell everything and give it to the church? Of course not. It’s not wrong to possess things, but it is wrong for things to possess you.
In this passage Jesus is talking about the destination you’ve determined for yourself. Are you centered on your ability to earn or God’s ability to provide? Are you driven by attaining more things at the expense of being generous? When it comes to giving to God’s work, or adding to your bank account, who wins? In other words where do you want to go? As the Cheshire Cat would say, “It depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
It reminds me of taking my kids to McDonald’s when they were little. I’d sit there with my son or my daughter, and watch them enjoy more than enough French Fries, of which I had bought. Then I’d ask, “Hey, can I have a few?” And from the depth of their well-formed character, they would adamantly say, “NO!” I’d say, “But I’m your Dad; come on, just one fry!” And they’d say, “NO!”
Then I would explain to them very carefully, with love and affection: “Listen, you don’t understand, I paid for those fries, not you. Second, not only did I buy them, but I can take them away. I can force you to give me whatever I want. Third, don;t be a dummy. If you treat me right, I’m the one that can get you more fries. I’m Burger King, Wendy’s, and Ronald McDonald all rolled into one. If you go up to the counter and try to buy something you’ll find out real quick what you can get without me. But guess what? I can go up there, and not only can I come back with more, I can even super-size it!”
So how about you? Where are you going? Where’s the destination of your heart? What do you consider an investment? Remember, your Father can super-size your investment.
(Sources: Church and Culture by James Emery White; Matt Rawle; Word Commentary)