Sunday, April 22, 2012


During a recent tornado watch, I said to Dick that if a tornado hit, there are some things I would not have time to take downstairs with me.....that maybe we should take them downstairs before the skies turned dark. In thinking through that, I realized that the only things that were irreplaceable treasures to me were 5 fire-proof safes containing all my scrapbooks from 20 years of pictures, 2 flash drives with all documents on my computer, family videotapes, and copies of the 7 books I have written. While I have some heirlooms that I love, they would not be the first things I would try to "rescue" if I had to. It was satisfying to realize that there were truly so few things I was passionate about. It pointed me straight back to Matthew 6:19-20 for confirmation. 

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Like most people, I hunger for purpose in my life, but I know that I cannot find it or keep it without laying up my treasures in heaven rather than on earth. One hundred and fifty years from now, when I am just a tiny leaf on a descendant's family tree, everything that I own will be decomposing in some landfill. With the exception of some man-made synthetics, every possession I have is just some mutated formation of rock, iron ore, animal hide or wood. It is just "stuff."

If I lay up treasures on earth, I am filling my heart with love of things. I so want my heart to be a home for my Savior.....a place empty enough that He would want to dwell there. While my possessions have monetary value, heaven's economy is very specific, and Jesus mandates that we learn it. Jesus knows our hearts will follow what we value most. And He warns us about what pleases God.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17

I love what Sam's girlfriend Gretchen wrote to me in an email: My car was hit three times in three weeks this fall, so it's got some dents. The worldly vain version of myself looks and sees an ugly beat-up car, but God's teaching me to look at those and be reminded that moth, rust, and hit-and-run drivers destroy things on this temporal earth.

Jesus' words are ones I want to strive for every day of my life. I want to live intentionally, evaluating where my desires lead, and heading off temporal satisfaction wherever it is causing my heart to want more here on earth. I want Jesus to reach down to the epicenter of my soul and ream out any cravings if they creep in.

What does that life of treasures-in-heaven look like for me?  It means giving of my time, money and resources to further God's purposes and ministries here on earth. It means letting God break my heart for what breaks His, and then doing something about it. I want to help meet the needs of the marginalized or disenfranchised that I have the means to help. I want to keep opening my eyes to all I have been blessed with and let God use any of it for His glory. I need to be liberal in words of encouragement and words of kindness. It means, for me,  keeping my life simple without accumulation. Open hands, emptied heart, daily asking my Lord to fill both with what He would have me be and do.

Do I now, and will I continue, to fall short? Oh, my, yes. But I believe God honors intention, and I know He will use imperfect me if I am yielded to His voice.

When I stand in Glory, I want to see my pile of treasures in heaven right there at the wrought iron gates, and know that all of them had value beyond any bank account or possession or longing here on earth.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." 
Slain missionary Jim Elliot


Cole said...

Such a beautiful reminder! I really do love that quote. He lived his life in such a way, but the legacy that followed him with his family is such a fantastic example of how to live.

I, on the other hand, stocked up with water, granola bars, kids' sleeping bags and a change of clothes for them. I figured if it hit and we made it, I'd need to take care of them! ha! Admittedly...their baby books, that are yet to be finished, are in the bin too! I have a long ways to go on my walk!! I'm a work in progress. =)

Mary said...

Oh, Cole, I am SOOOO much a work in progress. But we try, right? That counts for something!!