Most of us have visited a junkyard, or its modern equivalent of an antique and collectibles store? Or perhaps you’ve gone to an estate auction. All the above have the same impact on me when I visit them. Everywhere I look there is “stuff” that people have worked and saved to buy. All around me are what were once a person’s possessions—-“stuff” that they lived for and were proud of and had meaning for them. Now they are fit only for a dump or the shelf of a store or to be auctioned to the highest bidder who is looking for a bargain! They are an apt illustration that placing our hopes and dreams on material possessions will eventually lead us nowhere but to the junkyard. Materialism has only junk value!!
Jesus taught that God defines “riches” differently than we do. Our riches, in God’s eye, are NOT our possessions. Our riches, in God’s eyes are our treasures—-and there is a big difference!
Think about these differences:
- We possess a job—-We treasure the family that job supports.
- We possess a house—-We treasure our home.
- We possess a bank account—We treasure friendship and love that money cannot buy.
- We possess a car—-We treasure the freedom that car gives us to go and come as we wish.
- We possess a wardrobe—-We treasure the life and health that allows us to wear that wardrobe.
- We possess an appointment book—-We treasure our time.
Jesus told a story about this. It’s often referred to as the Parable of the Rich Fool.
The Rich Fool doesn’t seem foolish at first. He is presented as a good farmer and shrewd businessman whose land produced abundantly. With wealth pouring in much faster than he could use it, he faced a problem. “What should I do?” he thought to himself, “for I have no place to store my crops.” His solution was this: He decided to pull down his barns and build bigger ones, so that he could store all of his grain and his goods. Then he said to his soul: “Hey, soul! You are doing all right! Go ahead, relax, eat, drink, be merry.” Then comes the surprise: Death!! That was something the rich man didn’t factor into his business plan. And God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
The rich man’s efforts on earth have been terribly misdirected. He has been storing up treasures for himself, instead of becoming rich toward God by giving some of those riches to the poor and the hungry. He was a victim of “greed need“, which is a virus that gives us an “obsession for possession” and can infect any one of us whether we have a lot of money or not.
Jesus taught something very different in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break through and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
How important are your possessions to you? What do you treasure? We can each answer that question for ourselves by looking at two things: (1) Our Calendar; and (2) our checkbook. They will answer the following three questions about what you treasure:
- How do I spend my time?
- For what do I spend my money?
- What is my basis for making decisions on time and money!
Are you happy with your answers?