Is there anything you are keeping that you don’t need to keep? Are your closets and drawers full? How much ‘stuff’ do we need, really? If you looked at your entire house and all of it’s inanimate contents, what effect would it have on your emotions if it all burned to the ground? Would you feel suddenly insecure and lost or would you feel free? I read a story about a celebrity who’s house burned and all of it’s contents consumed and she said that she felt remorse for a minute and then felt suddenly liberated. That’s how I would feel. I know it. I long for it… What if all of our stuff was stolen. Then how would we feel? Violated? Insecure?
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:19-24
Two times last weekend I heard this passage in Matthew. It was a direct answer to prayers for wisdom. I’ve heard and read this passage many, many times, but now I need to hear it again more than ever. My home is full of treasures on earth; my treasures, someone else’s treasures. I’m finding many of those treasures are becoming craft supplies or re-gifts and many of them became garbage when the basement flooded. There are all kinds of creative ways to deal with ‘stuff’ and organize supplies, but could I be wasting time?
“Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “
Be in Readiness
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.“Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
This says to me plainly that I’m wasting my time managing supplies and treasures. The passage came to my attention last night, when my 10yo son told me he had been reading the bible and had many questions. He wanted to know more about what happened to the rich man in the parable. As I was reading, I was gaining more wisdom! God was answering my prayer again.
…But there was more wisdom on it’s way, and it had started in the morning, 2 days ago.
I had to quickly find important papers to start the driver’s license process for our older son. Thankfully, I didn’t have to look for very long, but our filing system is not very efficient. Then, we had to wait about an hour for more paper to be processed by someone else, so we got to talking about clutter, paper, filing, packing, moving, unpacking and the transitions of life. I thought of all of the people and circumstances in my life that have trained me to not be attached to things and to keep short accounts with God and with others. My mind is trained and engrained with the desire to travel light, but the tendency to collect and tuck treasures into every nook and cranny has hung around my life anyway, and just as the tangible treasures accumulate and hide and give us a feeling of (false) security and comfort, there are emotional treasures and compromises that we keep, all the while encouraging and even demanding that others give up theirs.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1John1:8-9
God does the cleansing and we do the confessing. What a simple blessing. We make things so complicated.
To round off the lesson of wisdom from 2 days ago, this same passage in 1 John came up last night when talking to my younger son about the things he had been reading in the bible. How should we live? How do we know we are pleasing God? What is sin? How do we know? What do we do when we make a mistake? How do I hear him? Do I need to go somewhere or do something special?
And as happens so often, the answer is at hand on the end table:
May 1 – You Are Loved – Daily Calendar
“It is the desire of my heart to love God. And there is no other place where I can learn to do this except in my ordinary everyday life.” – Elisabeth Elliott
That’s unbelievable, isn’t it?…that we could learn to love Him and obey Him right here at home where we go about our daily, ordinary life? We learn to love God feeding the cats, making our bed and washing dishes. We learn to love Him when we love our family and our neighbors and our teachers and coworkers.
“Take diligent heed…to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments.” – Joshua 22:5
And where do we find His ways and His commands?
In. His. Word.