Imagine yourself going through your belongings and having to decide what stays and what goes. Every piece of clothing gets a yes or no. Every toy is scrutinized. Many of us do this task on a yearly basis when we do our spring cleaning. Now imagine not even getting the opportunity to decide. Mother Nature has decided for you.
That’s what we did when we went through McKenna’s house two weeks ago during our Hurricane Michael cleanup. Because of the length of time the house was without power as well as the restrictions placed on the residents regarding coming into the city, many of the possessions that they owned had to be thrown away. Fresh clothes from the laundry—discarded. McKenna’s beautiful wedding dress—gone. Andros’s favorite stuffed animals—into the garbage bags. Furniture and bedding, shoes and food, coats and towels—in the debris pile.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have to go through this process, but I can tell you it destroyed this mother who had to watch her daughter make decisions on what few things she could keep for her family. It hurt to watch McKenna feel hopeful at the amount of work we were getting done and then feel the frustration as more and more piled into the “go” pile.
There weren’t many words that I could say to her that could ease that pain of losing so much. The only thing I could tell her? It was going to be ok. These things were exactly that, things. Stuff can be replaced and it would all be ok.
Jesus had a few words about possessions, as well. In the Sermon on the Mount, He taught the disciples the way of righteous living for those who were followers of Jesus. Matthew 6:19-21, He said, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
Material possessions are temporary. They aren’t things that can get us into heaven. They aren’t things we can even take to heaven. Or hell for that matter. Possessions are just things we obtain. They have value, either monetarily or emotionally. And while they’re nice to have, Jesus says that they’re not important. He doesn’t say you can’t have them. What He DOES say is not to tuck them so deeply into our hearts that we forget what our true purpose is as Christ-followers. We are to be storing up treasures in heaven. When we store treasures in heaven, our heart is there. When we store treasures for our earthly home, our heart is here.
At the end of the day, McKenna will have to replace a great deal in her home, and she’ll mourn the loss of the ‘things’ that were attached to sweet memories. But the treasure she has in heaven as a believer far outweighs any piece of furniture she’ll need to buy.
What does a treasure in heaven look like to you here on earth? Maybe it’s a volunteering moment that you’ve experienced or the time you gave to a friend who needed comfort. Perhaps it’s the conversation you had with your neighbor about Jesus. Tell us about it in the comments below.