The pageantry of college football is inescapably enticing. The crisp autumn air, the marching band, the roar of tens of thousands of fans all collide in a unique array of intoxicating sensations. At its best, college football is the God-honoring display and God-honoring enjoyment of God’s good gifts. At its worst, however, it is an enslaving idol that captures our worship and dulls our affections for God.
Jesus was not shy about exposing the reality of people’s hearts. The gospels are rich with examples of Jesus exposing the fraud of our worship that in our self-righteous religiosity we profess belongs to God but is shamelessly shackled to idols. In Luke 12.34, Jesus leaves us no room to hide when he states, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This is perhaps backwards than what we would expect Jesus to say. We expect Jesus to say, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” In other words, we expect Jesus to say, “You will treasure that which you love.” And it is certainly true that in some sense treasuring something follows loving it. But instead Jesus says, “You will love that to which your treasure belongs.” In this way, our love follows our treasure. We will love those things we put our treasure in service of. Jesus strips away the masquerade of religiosity and forces us to see that our love, our affection, our desire and delight disclose the truth about what we treasure.
We will love those things we put our treasure in service of. Jesus strips away the masquerade of religiosity and forces us to see that our love, our affection, our desire and delight disclose the truth about what we treasure.
What then does it say about where our treasure is if we are more moved by touchdowns than the proclamation of the gospel? What does it say when we anticipate kickoff more than gathering with the community of believers? What does it say when we passionately search headlines and blog posts more than we do the Scriptures? What does it say when we are more humiliated after our team loses than when we behold the cross of Christ?
We will either be storing up the treasures of Christ’s kingdom and loving Him, or we will be storing up the treasures of this world and loving it.
Our heart and our treasure cannot be in different places. Our heart cannot serve one master and our treasure another. That which holds our treasure will hold our heart. We will either be storing up the treasures of Christ’s kingdom and loving Him, or we will be storing up the treasures of this world and loving it. We must be confronted with and admit to the reality of our hypocrisy and idolatry if we are to be freed from its condemning hold. So it is a gracious thing that Jesus’ words in Luke 12.34 cut open and expose our lies and deceit. And it is gracious thing that Jesus would not merely expose our false, double-tongued devotion but would offer us a way to bind our affection to Him.
In Luke 12.32-33 Jesus instructs His disciples to forsake, literally to sell, the earthly treasures that have a hold on their hearts’ affection because “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Think about that. Either Jesus is a killjoy or He is inviting us into more joy than we can even fathom. Certainly it is not the former because Jesus gives compelling reason to choose to store up treasures in His kingdom rather than storing up the treasures of the world. For all the glitz and glamor, for all the press time and advertisements, for all the excitement and prestige, Jesus promises in His parable of the rich man in Luke 12.16-21 the treasures of this world will ultimately fail to grant us the satisfaction and pleasure we thought they promised. Even winning the biggest game of the season will leave us wanting. And in Luke 12.33, Jesus promises the eternal security and everlasting joy of storing up treasures in His kingdom and trusting a Father who promises to meet our every need. These are not words spoken to kill joy. They are words meant to awaken joy.
We continue to forbid our hearts to bid farewell to the treasures Jesus has exposed as idols.
C.S. Lewis profoundly states in The Weight of Glory:
If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
The inexhaustible glories and limitless joys of the eternal Kingdom have been opened up to us in Jesus. And yet we are content to continue our pursuit of the mirage of earthly treasures. We continue to forbid our hearts to bid farewell to the treasures Jesus has exposed as idols. Could we forgo even one week of college football? The biggest game? The whole season? If not, we will prove ourselves those who, like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, are “not rich toward God.” We will prove ourselves those who profess God with our lips while our hearts are far from Him. May we repent of such hypocrisy that has no place in the Kingdom of God. And may we be awakened to the surpassing and supreme joy of treasuring Jesus that we would with much joy forsake even Saturdays to follow Him.