“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
This is a home on Mobile Bay just 3 or 4 miles north of my where I live. When it was built about 15 years ago, it was featured in newspapers and magazines. On top of the purchase price of the property, the owner reportedly spent more than a million dollars on site preparation to redirect some natural springs even before laying the foundation for the main house. I'm told that the house measures approximately 31,000 square feet, was built for just 2 residents, the owner and his wife, and featured a ballroom with imported marble floors and separate living quarters for the staff. The entire project cost several million dollars, of course.
Today it sits empty and dilapidated, a testimony to the truth of what Jesus was telling us in this passage of scripture. The window awnings, once stylish, are now shredded and flap in the breeze coming off of the bay. The elaborate fountains, once strikingly beautiful, are empty and in disrepair, the formal gardens overgrown, the ornate fences covered in vines.
I don't know the story of what happened to the original owner or why the home has been been abandoned for several years but I never drive by it without thinking of this passage of scripture. It's the picture of investing unwisely in the things of this world. There's no justification for the ostentatious lifestyle that it represents and it speaks loudly of the misplaced values of the builder. It tells us where his heart was.
Having money, even a lot of it like this man had, is not the problem. God gifts some people with the ability to create wealth. How we invest the resources with which God has entrusted us can, however, be a problem if we invest unwisely. I know some very wealthy people who have modeled the principal of investing wisely with a "Kingdom of Heaven" perspective and I've seen this "heart to treasure" principle vividly displayed in their lives. These words are true whether we have tens of dollars or tens of millions of dollars to invest.
"Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."