Mat’s May Letter

How was your Easter break? I asked that question of someone I met the day I came back to work. They paused, and then said, ‘it made me realise how important people are’. As we chatted a little more we both came to the conclusion that our priorities weren’t always right. Work often screams loudest, work pays the bills, and yet in the end the things that we cherish were relationships with people—and I would add with God too.

The week before, Emma and I and the children had visited Tyntesfield for the first time since moving to Bristol. What an amazing house and garden! And yet in many ways that big house spoke of a wealthy family who had invested in something that had fallen into ruin after they had died. And now the National Trust is raising money for this ‘museum’ for people to visit. Originally it was intended to speak of the wealth and success of a merchant banker. He couldn’t take that with him.

These two incidents remind me of a story that Jesus told about a farmer who does well and builds a barn, then works harder, does better and builds a bigger barn, and so on. Until one day he decides that his barn is impressive enough, and he will enjoy his retirement and his big barn. But that night, says Jesus, ‘he dies’ (see Luke 12:16-21Open Link in New Window). Jesus closes that story saying, ‘so it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God’.

In Matthew 7:19-20Open Link in New Window Jesus says, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. …For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”

What is the treasure of heaven that Jesus speaks about? I suspect treasure is more about relationships than material wealth. The kingdom of God certainly is. The two greatest commandments are about loving God and loving neighbour. Where are our hearts?


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