I am a basketball fan through and through. Playing and coaching basketball for over 20 years will do that to you. So March always holds a special place in my heart. It’s a time of chaos, upsets, overtimes, victories and defeats, celebrations and tears. For several weeks, our culture is dominated by it — the drama, the unpredictability. March Madness will culminate this weekend with the Final Four. Call me a traditionalist, but I have always thought that March Madness should end in…oh, I don’t know…MARCH! Regardless of what the calendar says though, it’s still three weeks of joy and pain. People that haven’t watched a single game all year are suddenly laser-focused. People that think Cinderella and Underdog were just a movie and a cartoon respectively rise and fall on the outcome of the next game. Why is there that much interest from so many people that would otherwise remain uninterested? Why is there suddenly so much drama over games where you don’t know a single player, you couldn’t name the team’s mascot, or don’t even know where the university is located?
Why? Because most everyone fills out a bracket, or has before. They spend maybe just a few minutes, or for some, several painstaking days deliberating over which team will win and advance and which team will go home. Whether you fill out your bracket based on teams’ colors or who’s mascot would win in a fight, or based on your superfluous knowledge of stats and trends, or even what the experts say, you know you will never get them all right. I think this only adds to the drama.
I have filled out my fair share of brackets. I have won my share of pools, and I have also finished dead last several times, beaten by someone who thought that Prairie Valley State would beat the eventual national champion in the first round because they had “cuter guys”. My thought here is not on how successful you are, but how invested you are. Let me be clear here, I don’t mean financial investment here and I am not endorsing gambling by any means. However, whether money is on the line, or simply bragging rights, the premise is the same and it’s not a new premise. This concept is not groundbreaking. It’s been around a while. In fact, Jesus said it 2000 years ago. In Matthew 6:21 he says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” For three weeks in March (and maybe the first of April), we are invested in our brackets. We find ourselves interested in games that would otherwise not matter at all to us. We are glued to the TV watching four games at one time when we haven’t seen four games all season. Why? Because that is where our treasure is, if only minimally and for a finite period of time.
When asked by one of his congregation members about how to have a greater heart for missions, I heard a pastor say, “Give. Give your money. Give your time.” The member was confused thinking that he needed a heart for missions before he could give. The pastor went on to ask, “You have some stock don’t you?” When confirmed, the pastor then asked, “Well, don’t you daily check out how those stocks are doing?” Upon the affirmative, the pastor told him, “Because that’s where your treasure is.” It then clicked with the man. Where my treasure is, there my heart will be also.
Now it’s important to know that for different people, our treasures are different. Some value money. Some value time. Some value family. The point here is not what you value, it’s what you do with what you value. For some, it’s easy to write a check and to not be personally involved. For others, you commit your time while holding on to your checkbook. Still for others, you endorse ministry and missions. You give and pray, but you are unwilling to let your kids go on mission. Where is your treasure? Your heart will not be far behind.
So as March Madness comes to a close…in APRIL…ask yourself, what is my treasure, and then, what do I do with that treasure? King David said in I Chronicles 21, “I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing.” Serving God requires something of us. I read this morning in John 16:33, where Jesus says, “In this world, you will have trouble…” Knowing this journey is not going to be easy, I want my treasure placed in things that matter, that last.
P.S. Go Blue Devils!!