I was watching an episode of American Pickers this past week and when you see the places they visit, it seems to make my own collection of things seem insignificant in comparison. Walking through acres of rusted antique vehicles and buildings filled to the ceiling with all kinds of things accumulated over decades makes you wonder what the purpose of all these things originally was. Granted, for most people, when something breaks or isn’t used much anymore, it may wind up sold, donated, or in a landfill. But what about all the other stuff in our lives that is stuffed into all the nooks and crannies we can find. What purpose does it serve?
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
There is a whole industry related to storing things. Things encompassing literally every and anything…books, papers, clothes, photos, videos, data, grain, vehicles, tools, equipment, frozen food, wine, and all the other stuff we have that doesn’t even fit into a category. Often garages made for vehicles are so full of other things, that cars can’t fit in them. If you have ever needed to rent a storage unit (even for a short time), often there is a waiting list for one to become available. We can spend so much time and money holding on to things that we miss opportunities to use it wisely for a greater good. We may place different values onto things which makes it difficult to part with them as well. It may have intrinsic value like with gold, or practical value with a hammer, or sentimental value as with a hat your grandfather used to wear, but there is usually a reason it sticks around in your life. We have been trying to thin out things in our home that don’t really hold much of these types of value anymore, because they mostly take up space and are rarely used by anyone. That is space that can be used for other things, by family, and for greater purposes than just holding things. Just take a look around your home and you can quickly determine whether you give more value to things or useful space.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
But what does ‘storing up treasures in heaven’ mean? It is my understanding that we are to use our things, space, time, money, energy and other resources toward things that truly matter for the Kingdom of God. When we break it down, most of the things we have and do are for pretty selfish reasons. We spend our money on things we think will make us happy. We piddle away much of our free time blindly entertaining ourselves and looking for other things that we think will make us happy. We usually talk to other people and are nice to them because we want something from them. We hold on to things and do many other things for selfishly motivated reasons. We should be using all these resources for things that benefit others more than ourselves to show in little ways how God has been generous to us. We should look for opportunities to use the things we are stewards of (we can’t take it with us) to demonstrate love and compassion to others. This is difficult to do if we rarely do it, but becomes much easier with practice. Make it a point to use your words, wealth, and wisdom to give others a glimpse of how the Kingdom of God really works. May you be blessed as you fail and succeed in the process.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
Yours in Christ,