If you met me for more than 10 minutes you would probably discover that I am an avid Pinterester. Is there another verb to describe that? I love going on Pinterest and finding new ideas, new DIY projects (which I never have time to actually do), recipes (which I do if I can find the ingredients where I live), and other exciting girly things.
What does God think of all this stuff? I’m not talking about how we spend out time, though that would be a great subject for a later post, but I want to talk about how we spend out money.
Do our purchases reflect God’s presence in our life? Do our swipes of the debit or credit card exemplify our belief that Earth is just our temporary home? Do we strive to attain a home that is Pinterest photo worthy or do we set our mind and goals in things that will not fade away?
In Matthew 6 Jesus tells us, “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” -Matthew 6:19-20
This seems so easy to read and understand and yet so hard to live out.
As a missionary, my home is often changing and the things I can carry with me have to fit into two checked bags (okay, 4 if you count my husband’s bags). This fact never seems to stop me from looking lustfully into the window of the local home décor store and convincing myself I desperately need those candles, or tablecloth, that beautiful lamp, or that rug in my favorite color. When we move o to another locatoin, I stand in our home, wherever it may be, and stare at those 4 large suitcases and two stuffed carry-ons and remind myself that many people in this world couldn’t buy the objects and comforts I consider to be basic for my survival everyday. I am blessed to have the restriction of 4 suitcases, because I know without it I would somehow convince myself to buy all those extra things even though I don’t really need them.
So where is God admist all your belongings? Does the Good News of Jesus include your comfort in a beautiful home filled with gadgets and toys?
In Matthew chapter 19 we see Jesus challenging a man to give up all his belongings and follow Him.
“And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” the young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.”
“And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19: 16-26
Wow, what would I do in that same situation? I’d like to think I’d be better, but let’s be honest here. We are all sinful people. Only Jesus is perfect. This man acted out of fear of giving up everything. He felt he had already done enough to earn his ticket to heaven. But remembering all of our stuff is only temporary isn’t about giving up things for God, it’s about gaining a deeper relationship with him because we aren’t distracted by all the clutter. Literally.
This verse from Proverbs is something I try to pray during the days when the temptation seems too great. I strive to be a woman of God who lives this out, even when it’s difficult.
“Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God.” Proverbs 30: 8-9
It seems I forget that I need God’s help every moment when I have “riches”. Whether those be riches of relationships, finances, or daily conveniences. If life is easy then I sadly set my Savior aside, it is only when I’m scared, tired, or discouraged that I remember He is always with me. What a blessing to know that He is with me during those times…but also during the “rich” times when I need His forgiveness! And He gives that forgiveness freely in Christ, which makes me rich in a whole different way. One that is eternal and lasting.
In summary, I will leave you with this quote from Tyler Merrick to ponder:
“If life is temporary, why create the safest one possible that gets you through it with the least amount of scars?”
Below is a picture from January 2012 when we asked our students to donate to a local orphanage. They also helped us deliver the gifts that are in the rice bags.