The phrase “Skin in the game” is a term coined by renowned investor and billionaire Warren Buffet. It refers to the idea of management demonstrating confidence in the company they are running by using their own money to buy and hold its stock. The thinking is that corporations are better managed by those who share ownership. After all, it is common sense to protect and bless that which you own and value. Jesus knew that. In fact, He articulated that principle thousands of years before Warren Buffet put it into the modern business vocabulary. In the middle of His Sermon on the Mount He makes the profound observation, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus is imparting to us a simple equation: Value multiplied by ownership equals the level of heart engagement.
It is a simple equation with complicated outcomes, because heart engagement forms the worldview of the individual. Our worldview is the basis upon which we make every one of our decisions. If your worldview is that X is most valuable (and that all should therefore be done to protect X), but reality is that X is not actually that valuable, you will innately make wrong decisions. This is what Jesus is warning us about. Placing too much emphasis on the temporary is eternally damaging. As Rev. Don Oslen used to preach, “Never sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporary!”
The great commentator Matthew Henry once wrote, “We are therefore concerned to be right and wise in the choice of our treasure, because the temper of our minds, and consequently the tenor of our lives, will be accordingly either carnal or spiritual, earthly or heavenly. The heart follows the treasure, as the needle follows the loadstone, or the sunflower the sun.” Another commentator writes, “What really makes a treasure valuable is the affection of the heart. He whose treasures are on earth has his heart anchored to the earth; he whose treasures are in heaven has his heart anchored there. The earth and all its treasures must pass away; what, then, about the heart that loses all its treasures? Heaven alone abides forever; the heart whose treasures are there will never lose them.”
This is truth: The economy of God is not built on gold or silver. In God’s kingdom, gold will be used as a paving material, and silver will be as common as stones. Rather, the economy of God is built on gift and sacrifice. To have ‘skin in the game’ in heaven is to engage in gift and sacrifice now, so as to place treasure in heaven. There it will be kept for us – uncorrupted and free of danger of theft. And at the same time, here and now we will be both freer and less encumbered and at the same time, others will be encouraged and given hope. Amen.
Our decision about which bank we store our wealth in is a spiritual phenomenon! It is a piece of spiritual litmus paper, or to use another image, a spiritual thermometer. It tests the reality of our faith and indicates our spiritual health.Francis A. Schaeffer
Look most carefully. Where is your heart?