These past couple of weeks I have been going through the stuff I have accumulated in my house with the intent of getting rid of the things I do not need.
Wow what a job this has been. I look around and wonder how in the world I have accumulated so much stuff. Some of it falls under the category of – someone else needs that – while other items I just shake my head and wonder what in the world possessed me to keep this (ex) coffee cup lid.
Each item has a story behind it. In all honesty, I remember most of the stories, how the item came into my possession and why it is still here but there are other items that are just here because… well, I have them.
As I was creating a box of kitchen items that I have at least three of, I asked myself if this is a form of greed or if it is more about a lack of trust. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself saying, “but what if I need this one day.”
Matthew 6:20-21 says, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Are these items my treasures? Some of them are, some of these pieces of clutter I will keep because I am a sentimental person and the memories I have attached to some of these silly items (again, the coffe cup lid) are memories that I treasure.
I think much of our lives we work so hard to be meaningful, to leave a mark on the world but far too often the avenue we choose to leave this mark is not the avenue that will draw others to Christ.
What does my stuff have to do with Christ? Nothing really, it was simply the catalyst to a thought process that allowed me to reflect on my life, my attitude and my purpose right now at this time in my life. It was an opportunity for the Lord to use my current circumstances to speak to me about my treasures. I have a good deal of earthly treasures, but do I also have treasures stored up in Heaven? What does that mean anyway?
I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean stuff. Earthly treasures like cool cars and big houses are empty. The treasures we are storing up in Heaven are eternal. Heavenly treasures are obtained through having a heart for Christ that reaches out and draws others to Him. A heart that loves and shares, a heart that gives to the needy whether that means giving love, giving hope or giving necessities. Christ will use a heart for His, and our reward, our treasure is in the lives who are saved and who will be sitting with us in Glory!
A couple of years ago the Lord took the most incredible, patient, wise, wonderful and godly woman home to be with Him in eternity. It broke me. I thought I had done pretty well hiding just how broken I was, that is, until I had a conversation with someone who knew me at that time and he asked how I was doing and if I had allowed the Lord to use that pain in a good way or if I had allowed it to fester.
That was an eye opener. When my mom died what she took with her was …herself. What she left behind is a legacy that reached the world. I mean this quite literally. When word got out that she had passed away we receieved letters, cards, emails and telephone calls from all over the world filled with stories of how this wonderful woman I call mom touched and changed the lives of people from as far away as China. She left a legacy that is centered around Christ. More than that, what my mom found upon her arrival in Heaven was a treasure beyond measure. The song Thank You For Giving To The Lord by Ray Boltz could very well have been written for this wonderful woman.
This morning as I reflect on Paul and his ministry I see parallels between his contentment, his trust in the Lord and his legacy. Paul didn’t have everything, in fact his life was pretty awful at times. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11 that “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Paul was in prison when he wrote this. But even in the most trying of times and the most difficult of circumstances Paul was content in the Lord. His heart was to live for Christ and he lived the latter part of his life not just with his sights set on the reward at the finish line but with his heart set on showing others how to run the race with integrity.
I wish I could say that this is where my heart is. I wish I could say that I never whine or complain. I wish I could say that my witness is always pleasing to the Lord but I can’t say this. As a follower of Christ I have thrown off the cloak of human nature but I still struggle. I am a new creation but I still falter. I am a child of God and yet, in spite of all that I put Him through, he never gives up on me.
Looking again at these earthly treasures, the ones I am still holding on to, I have to ask, have I really surrendered? Do I have an attitude of contentment? Have I really said “not my will be done, but yours?” Am I storing treasures in Heaven? I would like to think so but the truth of the matter is, I haven’t fully surrendered my life to Him. I am not always content in every circumstance and I still hold on to my earthly things because they give me comfort.
How about you? Where are you storing your treasures? What kind of legacy are you writing for yourself in the book of your life?