Cardiac Treasure

treasureheart

Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21, Common English Bible).

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others. St. Augustine of Hippo.

I had never heard this Augustine quote until I ran across it a few days ago. I really like it. Out of all God has given you, take only what you need so there is some left for others.

When I read it, my mind went immediately to two things. I’m not sure which I thought of first. One was the Scripture above from Matthew. The idea to stop  collecting for my own benefit seems to be a foreign idea in our capitalistic society. We live in a work where enough is never enough. It is a world where people who already have millions keep it to themselves and try to collect even more for themselves. We just can’t seem to stop trying to gather more money and more stuff.

It is important, however, to realize this passage is not against the idea of saving. The Augustine quote is not against saving. Quite the contrary. To keep some of what you have because you are saving for the future is totally acceptable. It is the responsible thing to do. If we only keep enough for immediate need what happens to us when we reach a point in life when we can no longer work? What happens when the unexpected happens and we have nothing left? No, saving is taking a portion of what you have and saving it.

That brings me to the other thing that came to mind when I read Augustine’s quote. It is a quote by John Wesley, “Earn all you can. Save all you can. And, give all you can.” Wesley is saying to us that we need to be about more than just earning and giving. Saving is an important element as well. To be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to us, saving must be part as well.

“Well, how are we supposed to know how much to save in order to know how much to give?” It is a good question. A few years back, I had someone tell me about something he called “The Rule of 80.” Take what you earn. Take ten percent off the top. That is the part to give. Take another ten percent. That is the part to save. We should live on the remaining 80 percent or less. If we have more than we need still, we have more to give away so we, “give all we can.”

I know of one preacher who says his goal is to flip the Rule of 80. He wants to reach a point where he is saving 10 percent, living on 10 percent and giving away 80 percent. Wow! What a goal!

In the end, people who are giving and share the treasure God has blessed them with are both healthier and happier. But the real thing is, if we are generous with what God has entrusted to us, God will bless our efforts.

Have a great day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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