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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Treasures of the Heart"

September 14, 2014

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(Jesus said) "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 6:20-21

There is a commercial which asks, "What's in your wallet?"

Although this devotion does speak about money, it is far more concerned with who is in your heart and who is your greatest treasure? Now there are all kinds of answers to those questions. Here is an example of an answer which isn't right.

The story begins on a Sunday morning, a good many years ago. Before the family got in the car to go to church, the father gave two dimes to his young son. The boy was told, "One of the dimes is for Jesus and is to be put into the Sunday collection plate, while the other dime is yours for an ice cream cone when we come home from church."

The boy nodded his head to show he understood his father's instructions. Unfortunately, somewhere between kitchen and car, one of the dimes was lost. Since there wasn't time for the family to do a thorough search, the lost dime was left behind. As he settled into the back seat of the family four-door, the boy looked up to heaven and, with a great sigh, said, "Well God, there goes Your dime."

I leave it to you to judge if Jesus or ice cream was at the center of that boy's heart.

Now you know and I know that Jesus should be our Treasure, and He should always be at the center of our hearts. We know that, but our hearts keep saying, "Truly, keeping the Lord first is something you ought to do, but the truth is you've got some pretty major things going on in your life right now."

Your heart continues: "You've got responsibilities. You've got a family who needs you; you've got to make a living. House payments and taxes can't be put on the back burner, can they? Yes, the Lord should be at the center of your heart, but He's not going to foreclose on you if you put Him off, and He's not going to place a penalty on you if you miss your Sunday offering. It boils down to this: other things need to be taken care of, and you have to dedicate your energy to them."

Well, I won't try to argue with that kind of logic. Instead, I'll turn that privilege over to the great Civil War General Stonewall Jackson. A busy man with great responsibilities, one of his friends spoke to him about how hard it was to keep God first and to pray without ceasing. Jackson said we need to train ourselves to the proper priorities. He replied this way:

"When we take our meals, there is the grace. When I take a drink of water, I always pause, as my palate receives the refreshment, to lift up my heart to God in thanks and prayer for the water of life. Whenever I drop a letter into the box at the post office, I send a petition along with it for God's blessings upon its mission and upon the person to whom it is sent. When I break the seal of a letter just received, I stop to pray to God that He may prepare me for its contents and make it a message of good. When I go to my classroom and await the arrangement of the cadets in their places, that is my time to intercede with God for them. And so of every other familiar act of the day."

Jackson's proper priority kept Jesus at the center of his heart. Yes, other things needed to be done; other responsibilities needed to be taken care of, but all these things he did in the Name of Jesus, who always remained his Treasure.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in spite of what the world wants, may Jesus always be at the center of my mind and heart. In His Name I ask it. Amen.

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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 9-10    Ephesians 1

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