Memorization-wise, Matthew 6:20-21 was an easy one. I had it down by Tuesday afternoon. Content-wise, I have a harder time figuring out the deeper meaning of the words, and what specific actions are required of me. But what I know for sure is I can’t wait for complete understanding before taking action. This is where faith and experience can propel us forward. I can have faith that Jesus was serious when he said (in verse 19 actually) “Do not store up treasures here on earth.” I can have faith that he was giving these instructions for people’s benefit, and I will be better off if I follow. This eliminates the excuse of “I don’t understand.” So until I feel like I completely “get” what he was saying, I need to follow the best way I know how.
For now it means I should not seek to unnecessarily accumulate things that can get dusty or moth-eaten or rusted out, or could be stolen. Basically, THINGS. All kinds of things.
I’ll be real honest: I have a pretty big fear of my house flooding or burning down, and it is because of all the things that would be destroyed in either event. I am afraid of how bad it would feel to lose my stuff and see it destroyed. I am so nostalgic and sentimental and a big part of my enjoyment of things is the memories they bring me, so I think that’s the main fear- losing the tie to those memories. But they’re still THINGS. Contemplating Jesus’ words this week reminded me to loosen my grip on my possessions so they don’t take up so much real estate in my heart.
Practically, I am editing and getting rid of unnecessary clutter, especially if someone else could use the stuff. I am giving things away. But what I really want is for my brain to be re-wired so I can look at my things with appreciation and gratefulness, but also with the understanding that it’s just stuff, and does not hold nearly as much value as heavenly treasures (like growing in humility to just name one). So I am giving myself reminders and asking myself questions. Would I rather have the perfect piece of clothing for every season and occasion so I can look great, or would I rather look more like Jesus in my words and actions? It’s easy to speak the correct answer, but a quick peek in my closet might indicate some misplaced value. That makes me sad. But I am confident that mental re-wiring can, will, and is taking place thanks to the Spirit of the one who spoke so long ago. My salvation is my greatest treasure, and my goal is for my life to reflect that value a little more each day. I can get there with grace, wisdom, and strength from above.
If you were memorizing/contemplating Matthew 6:20-21 this week, how did it go for you?
Note: I could have spent way more time on this post, especially on unpacking what Jesus meant, but I focused on immediate steps of obedience. For additional reading, look at the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-26. When I read 23-26 I usually cry. It is not only solid teaching from Jesus about how harmful it is for us to get wrapped up in material things, but also a picture of God’s grace as Jesus speaks to his disciples. You know what- go ahead and read through to the end of chapter 19, too. It’s all good stuff relating to this topic of where our hearts need to be.