Matthew 6:19-21

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21
I was talking to the kind woman who was helping me to prep for the upcoming inventory and online auction following my mother’s passing. The words slipped without thought, under my breath: ‘It’s hard.’
 
‘It is hard,’ she agreed. Hard to separate the emotion.
 
In Ecclesiastes, we read, ‘For everything there is a season.’ This was our season of paring down. Sometimes I wanted to let it all go and questioned why we buy anything. Ever. Other times, I wanted to cling to every last thread and knickknack and worried that I had hoarder tendencies. On one level, I understood that this was all just stuff—and in this case, quite picked-over stuff. But on a deeper level, these items were treasures for the memories they held and for the much-loved people who once held them. I wonder how many roasts we ate on that dining room table, the solid oak, Amish-made double pedestal with extra leaves and chairs that Mom and Dad saved up to purchase.
 
Years earlier, when Dad was still alive, he helped us finish our basement, a labor of love to make space for our growing family, another baby on the way. Less than a month after we had applied our last stroke of Sherwin-Williams, we came home to the sound of rushing water. In our newly finished basement, we sloshed through six inches of water, a winter thaw bringing the mean realization that a pipe had burst earlier in the season. As we pulled up carpet pads and cut into damp drywall, Dad kept reminding us, ‘Sticks and bricks, kids. This is all sticks and bricks. It’s not what matters.’
 
I thought of his words, and the cliché, ‘you can’t take it with you,’ as I surveyed what was left of my parents’ belongings spread out in lots for the auction—Mom’s sweaters, Dad’s tools, odd trinkets. I realized that underneath the clichés lay deep Ecclesiastes wisdom and soul-searching truth. These are temporary gifts—even our earthly bodies—and we accept them with gratitude, delight in them, serve with them, worship with them, offer ourselves a living sacrifice. But one day, we will shed all of it for a glory no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or mind has conceived.
 
Knowing this, we store up treasures in heaven. If we find our hope in the things of earth, the monuments, trinkets or bodies themselves, it all disintegrates to ashes, to dust. So, we set our minds on things above, not on things of earth. For we have died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then we also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:2-4).
 
Dear God, let our hearts be fixed on this truest treasure.

Rebecca Janni | Author

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