In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus states clearly that “where your treasure is, there is your heart also” after He commands us to store up our treasure in heaven where it is secured. And so we can judge our priorities by the places that we invest the money that passes through our hands. But I think I will be approved if I stretch this principle in another direction that I think better finds out my foolishness of heart. I would look at regrets in addition to checkbooks. Listen to the musings of Levin, who is one of my favorite identifying characters:
There had been in his past, as in every man’s, actions recognised by him as bad, for which his conscience ought to have tormented him; but the memory of these evil actions was far from causing him so much suffering as those trivial but humiliating reminiscences. These wounds never healed. And with these memories was now ranged his rejection and the pitiful position in which he must have appeared to others that evening. But time and work did their part. Bitter memories were more and more covered up by the incidents—paltry in his eyes, but really important—of his country life.
It is the perceived humiliation that he regrets. And I have my shudder attacks: Moments where a recollection of something I have said or a way in which I have acted makes me shudder. Literally. Sometimes I even speak out loud some gibberish that is reactive language. And I find that usually those thoughts are selfish thoughts about how I must have appeared to someone. Based on what Jesus says, these thoughts reveal my investments of life (time, energy, and material resources), and I am disappointed in what I see.
A more general hard fact would read: People think about what they really care about. But I like the regret angle with its traction of specific moments in my own life.