“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
My neighbor has this rusty metal barn. The doors are so dented they now hang askew. Sections of the tin roof have pried away from the nails that once secured them and when the wind blows it makes an unnerving racket. I only hear it when I’m outside, but in the darkness of night when I’m taking my dogs for a last potty run it gives me the heebie-jeebies.
I’ve often wondered why my neighbor puts a padlock on the old banged up doors of his barn. Maybe it gives him a certain amount of security, but I doubt very seriously the itsy bitsy lock would keep anyone out with a determination to get in. I hope nothing of any value is stored inside. I probably wouldn’t be caught dead in it myself. The thought of snakes lurking in unseen places is enough to keep me at a safe distance. I don’t want to get spider webs in my hair, either. Eew.
My husband and I learned soon after we moved into our 100-year old home in our tiny little town that we don’t dare leave anything outside we don’t want stolen. After my cd player was ripped out of the dash of my car and our aluminum ladder removed from its resting place on the side of the house we decided nothing was sacred here. Before we moved to North Carolina, we had lived in one house in one neighborhood for 20 years and never had a single thing stolen from our house, our car, or our property. Bummer.
When my neighbor and good friend up the street had her house broken into earlier this year I began to realize that “the times they are a-changing.” We can take all the precautions we want…install fancy security systems…iron bars on our windows…a few deadbolts and security lights…but when it comes right down to it, even if a thief can’t get in, a fire could still destroy, a hurricane could still level, a tornado could still demolish, a flood could still wash away. No material possessions I own on this earth are meant to last forever and I’ve come to find that the real danger is allowing the enemy to take away the treasures stored in my heart.
“…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…”
I’ve been pondering this word…treasure.
As a noun, a treasure is a quantity of precious metals, gems or other valuable object. As a verb it means to keep carefully (a valuable or valued item); to cherish or hold dear, to prize or value greatly or what I strive to attain and what I most dread to lose.
Years ago I used to think about what I would most want to save if I knew my house was going down in a fire. Aside from the obvious…my family, my children first and foremost or any other living and breathing thing present at the time…I really thought I would save my photo albums. I don’t know why these pictures are so precious to me other than the years of memories and life they represent. They chronicle our family’s history, a part of our heritage permanently captured on glossy paper and preserved in pages and pages of protective plastic. I have at least a dozen photo albums. Yes, I was a picture-taking momma, the kind that embarrassed my children and threatened their very lives with my Canon Sure-Shot if they didn’t grin and bear it! Now that they’re all grown up, though, I think they’re glad I made a big deal about it. These photo albums have given them some enjoyment the last several years. Every now and then when I browse through them I find some empty sleeves where pictures have been removed. Later I’ll find them plastered all over Facebook and Instagram. With a grin and a thought I think to myself, “You did good, momma!”
I know there’s no way I could haul a dozen photo albums out my door or window if a fire was raging behind me, smoke stinging my eyes and choking my lungs. Truthfully, I know I’d just make a run for it because I know my life is more precious than any material thing I possess.
That’s the real treasure to God. He cherishes me. He places great value on my life. I am of great worth to Him, but He wants to be my treasure, too. That’s why He tells me to guard my heart.
” Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Sometimes I feel like an old rusty metal barn…dented, banged up, and blowing in the wind…but even though I’ve taken a few beatings in my life and weathered many storms, I think I’m well-preserved for from within my heart there flows streams of Living Water. I cling to It. I drink deeply from It. Because this Water is my very life. I cannot live without Jesus. Through every beating I’ve endured, every storm I’ve survived, every dent I proudly display, I’ve come to see my earthly life through a different kind of lens, through His eyes. No possession I posses on this earth can ever compare with the riches that I will gain in heaven.
Like my Canon Sure-Shot, God has preserved my life over and over again. You only need to read my “About Me” page on this blog to understand what I mean. God has captured permanently on the memory of my heart His constant, abiding Presence and the certainty of a royal heritage rich in His grace. Yes, He’s allowed me the blessings of earthly treasures, more than I deserve, but I know not one of these material possessions will follow me into eternity. My heart will. That’s why I strive to guard it, to let God protect it and keep it maintained.
Because Jesus has my heart, I don’t dare leave anything of value unprotected that I don’t want stolen. Riches like love, joy, peace to name a few. When I lose my perspective, sometimes I allow the enemy to steal them away. I have to remind myself that the enemy is a thief, but he can never have my heart. It belongs to the Life-Giver. My physical self may wear out on this earth, but my spiritual self will last an eternity so I strive to preserve it well. When I look through the lens of my Father’s eyes, I see what He has permanently captured…my heart where His Son lives and breathes in me. I keep what’s sacred there under His abiding care. Nothing can be snatched away.
And I think to myself, “You’ve done good, God! You’ve done good….”