A treasure conditional upon others



Verse(s) of the Day (9th January 2019)
[Treasures in Heaven] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   Matthew 6:19-21

For a faith not based upon “earthly treasure”, Christianity seems to be riddled with it.  Relics.  Icons.  Saints.  Saintly Signs.  Miracle-cures.  Touching this or that.  Being close to this or that holy place.  Walking a whole marketed country known as “The Holy Land”.

Merchandising.  “Merch.”  (the entertainment industry calls it)

This from the BBC news website today:  “Black Nazarene: Thousands join annual statue parade in Manila”
“Vast crowds of people have turned out on the streets of Manila in the Philippines for the procession of the Black Nazarene.  Hundreds of thousands of people turn out to see it.  Devotees – who go barefoot – believe touching or being close to the statue can cure illnesses or bring good luck..  Many people bring along their replicas for blessing too.  The Philippines is a deeply Catholic country, and many devotees are prepared to risk serious injury for a chance of getting close to the Black Nazarene.”


What first caught my attention was the crowds and then the number of earthly treasure “replicas” in the crowds.  Then the belief that “proximity” brings healing – with the same “proximity” bringing un-healing … “The Philippine Red Cross said that by mid-morning they had treated more than 600 people for conditions like breathing problems, fainting and bruises.  Three people were taken to hospital.”

Reminiscent of the “crowds” all the gospels all describe following Jesus … with the same belief in proximity and healing.  Just without the “merch” (unless the bible is even more edited than we have been told).

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

My “treasure” was playing tennis as a lad.  Then socialising – then adult (alcohol) socialising – then work and being a “success” (or earning more than others) – then being a good husband AND father AND success at work (never quite got the balance there I was judged).

My treasure has changed over the years, but was never about being “deeply religious”.  Religion was for Sundays.

Except on Sundays Mrs Paul got a lie-in.  And I took our children out for some great adventures Mrs Paul would never have allowed.

My “treasure” has always been much more immediate than “deeply religious” could ever be.



For some years now my treasure has become desiring unconditional love.   That is real treasure!

Maybe – only now – because the “equation” includes me.  Maybe “only now” – because I was taught that including me in the equation is at odds with (most) religious teaching.  A teaching that unconditional love is of and from God – that sinners (saved by grace freely given) are incapable of unconditional love until I die.  Not only incapable – but that unconditional love is “undesirable”.

I have found the same with the religious AND non-religious.



Just why does unconditional love sit so uncomfortably?

Maybe because we are taught unconditional love is “weak”.

Good Christians are taught to (weakly – but strongly) “forgive others” …  (weakly – but strongly) “turn the other cheek” … With the reverse being necessary to become a “successful go-getter” … to “be strong” – that it’s “dog-eat-dog” – and to “trust no one”!

I wonder … is there really that much difference between the two?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I think my treasure has always been love without condition.  It just took me a while to be brave enough to admit it.  To find the strength that comes from caring less and less what others think.  To put me into the equation.

And – oddly – to find out there is SO MUCH SPACE!

For me … and you  … and an intimate personal unconditional God.  To find it liberating. To find it enchanting.  To find a lasting (unconditional) treasure right now for real.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Maybe the “treasure” of caring more what others think – God included – will always be an “earthly treasure”.  A treasure conditional upon others.  A treasure that can be  stolen (conditionally) as well as given (conditionally) … just as I was taught of church’s God’s conditional approval.

Because if that is true – how can I ever be free to love me – or you – or God?

But mainly me.




2 thoughts on “A treasure conditional upon others

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