Matthew 6:21. For where your heart is, there your treasure shall be also.
“May I tell you a story today?” Sometimes I start my classes at my university with that phrase because it usually grabs my students’ attention and helps ease all of us into the task of learning together. And this story is one that usually grabs their attention and their hearts and makes all of us think deeper into what’s really important in life.
This is the story of my favorite necklace. It may not look very special but there’s a very special story behind it… This necklace was my Great-Aunt Hilda’s favorite necklace because my Great-Uncle Elmer gave it to her (yes, those were their real names along with her sister Alma and cousin Lula whom my cousins called “doo-dah”). The gold coin on the necklace is a five-dollar gold piece from 1895. This gold coin was my great-uncle’s first payment from his first job at the country store. When he received this coin as his pay, he looked all over the store to find something for Hilda but nothing was as special as she was to him. So he ran to her house and gave her this coin to go and buy something but nothing was as special to her as he was. This coin was a physical symbol of his love for her. For you see, they met in first grade and fell in love and never had eyes for anyone else throughout their over 50-year marriage until he died. They loved each other in the big and the small ways, every single day.
Hilda held onto the gold coin through many hard times, including the Great Depression. She did everything she could to save money so she wouldn’t have to spend this five-dollar gold piece. Later on, when she and Elmer were well-off financially, she bought the gold chain and had the coin mounted on it. And this gold coin then became her favorite necklace. The reason she gave me the necklace not long before she died was because I was the oldest grandchild. She loved all of us grandchildren well with such things as: cutting off the other end off of the three-layer coconut cake so we could have the extra frosting; special early-morning all-you-can-eat breakfasts of perfectly toasted homemade buttered light bread with crispy bacon, ambrosia fruit salad, and boiled custard; and letting us play dress-up in her jewelry box with her fancy gold and diamond jewelry. Yet I never got to wear this particular necklace when I was young because she was usually wearing it herself.
To Hilda, this necklace was tangible evidence of the love she shared with Elmer and the faith she had in him and in their substantial bank accounts. She didn’t need anyone or anything else. She believed their love for each other and good choices were enough for anything. Her supposed self-sufficiency is why I believe she rejected Jesus all the way to the end of her life. Yet, the very hard truth is that neither their love, nor their bank accounts, were enough to save her from anything then, much less for all the days after stretching into eternity. And this hard truth slaps me in the face every morning when I put on my necklace.
For to me, this necklace is a daily tangible reminder of the truth of Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I want to live like Jesus is my one and only treasure. I want my heart to be completely with Him today and forever. I want my treasure, my sufficiency, and my life to be found in none other, for today and for forever. Nothing or no one else will ever be enough for true life for one day, much less for all time.
On the especially hard days, I often find myself tightly holding the gold coin in my hand as a reminder there is no one or nothing that can ever compare with Jesus. He alone is my rescue from yesterday’s sin, today’s pain, and tomorrow’s unknowns. He alone is greater than anything in my world, including the regrets hanging around my neck like a chain of my own making. He alone is stronger than my fears and knowledge that I am not enough. He alone is more beautiful than diamonds, more precious than gold, and beyond comparison.
Only Jesus can satisfy. Only Jesus can save. Only Jesus can and will stay, for today and for forever.
Thank You that there is none other like You. Thank You that You alone satisfy even the deepest unspoken needs of my heart. Thank You that You are the lifter of my head and the sustainer of my soul, for today and for forever. Please help me to hold even harder to You today as my only treasure. Please help me to live knowing that You will supply more than enough strength, hope, courage, and faith to trust You in whatever You put in front of me as I trust in You.
In the strong Name of Jesus,
written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021