Matthew 6:19-20 –Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them.
Gratitude Day 824
The decisions are getting harder and harder. Whittling down the last bit of stuff that I don’t have a home for is getting more difficult with each decision.
I am nearing the end of unpacking since our move. I also saved the things that would be the most difficult for me to reduce. The sentimental things and the items that aren’t easy to make decisions about. We have a lot less storage in our current house and it is about full. In an effort to make more space for things “important” to me, I have been going through a few boxes to make more space for those other things that don’t have a home. Yet.
The big and easy decisions have been made. Now, I’m removing just a few things at a time. Trying to squeeze one more folder in a box. Reshuffling things in drawers to make more room. The last few weeks, I have relished having empty spaces in different areas of our house. Now, I’m trying to decide if the things that don’t have a home yet are important enough to warrant some of this coveted empty space. If something doesn’t have an official “home” yet, is enough of a treasure to keep?
While on this earth, we put so much effort and energy into what physical things we have. Guilty as charged! I want a pretty house. My heart is full of joy when our home feels cozy and comfortable. As someone enters our home, I want them to feel like this is a place they could stay for a while.
Yet, I keep remembering Jesus’ words to carefully chose what is most important to us.
Jesus was sharing his views on a hillside hear the Sea of Galilee. In Matthew’s gospel, this message is one of the first really big messages that Jesus gives. The Sermon on the Mount, found in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of Matthew’s gospel, is full of litanies of how we are to live our lives. What is really important. How the world’s culture encourages us in a different way from what God says. These words can upend our worlds, if we let them.
Hear what Jesus says about our possessions: Earthly things? Not important. Instead, store up treasures in God’s eternal kingdom, not your earthly temporary residence.
Does this mean we have to give up our favorite jeans, the car we love, and the cozy and comfy house we live in? I don’t think so. Jesus is warning us of putting too much emphasis and priority on things of this world over God’s eternal kingdom. When what we have in this life becomes more important than being with God in the next life, well, my friends, we have things out of whack.
Yes, we can have some lovely things in this life. But when these things become more precious to us than being with God for eternity, we have a problem. A big one, indeed.
Our treasure in heaven should always be more valuable than our treasures here on earth. It’s so easy to say and encourage. But much harder to actually live.
As I keep unpacking and sorting, I keep asking myself, “Is this a treasure that is really important to you or not?”
I am well aware that I am putting time and energy into things that I will not get to eventually take with me. Do I make the difficult decision now and let those things go or hang onto them a bit longer? I have yet to see a funeral or memorial process to the cemetery include earthly treasures. It is a stark reminder that we can’t take these things with us when we live this life. They all get left behind.
Yes, we should have things in this world that make our time here wonderful and enjoyable. But no matter how special something is, we will not be able to take these things with us.
Should this influence what we keep right now? Possibly. It most certainly should challenge us to think about how much energy we want to put into managing all of our stuff.
As I continue to reduce my inventory, here are little lessons I am learning:
- Reducing and decluttering is a constant situation. While you may reach a point where you have sufficiently reduced, reducing is not a one-and-done. We will probably continue to get rid of stuff and acquire more stuff. Having less is a process that takes time and will be revisited more than once.
- It’s not just about getting rid of stuff. It’s also about bringing less stuff into your life. Period. It’s less shopping and online purchasing. It’s enjoying what you have more than buying hew stuff. We will be hosting a couple Easter gatherings. I thought it might be nice to get some new tablecloths that make our new house. But then, I talked myself out of this. Do I really need them? Or do I want them. So far, I have convinced myself to use what I have.
- What was useful for one season will not always be helpful going forward. Let things go when you no longer have a purpose for them.
- Challenge myself to keep perspective about my “things.” Bless someone else with them if something isn’t super helpful to me anymore. Let it go. Remind myself to keep from making earthly things idols in my life.
We can’t take our things with us when we leave this world. That’s the bottom line. Should this fact influence how and what we keep now? Possibly. It’s about not letting some earthly treasure become more important than our heavenly treasures. It’s holding onto our earthly things with a loose grip while holding onto the treasure of being one of God’s blessed children something we use a death-grip on. There won’t be any trailer of possessions going to the cemetery for you one day. This is the fact that is important to keep front and center.
For making sure I treasure my heavenly prizes more than my earthly possessions, I am grateful.
Holy God – May I hold loosely to my earthly treasures and hang tightly to those things that are stored for me in heaven. Thank you for this super important lessons, dear Jesus. Amen.
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