Posted by: reexaminedlife | June 26, 2010

Storing up treasures

I ran across a great little article on Christian Personal Finance titled Storing Up Treasure in Heaven.  The author brings out some really good thoughts.

I often think about what Jesus would say regarding the American Dream.

Would he want everyone to be a home-owner, everyone to have comfort and the security of a nice economy with nothing to worry about?

Really.  Think about it.  Is this what He called us for?  I’ve been among Christians for most of my adult life and, unfortunately, I’ve rarely seen any significant difference in behavior between professing Christians and “the world” in this regard.  Yes, this includes myself.

Whenever this topic does come up, there seems to be a flow of logic that pretty quickly excuses us from making any real changes in our lives.   It generally starts with someone pointing out, correctly, that the problem is that the really with our heart and attitude.  If the problem is with our heart then it’s not really about our possessions.  Since the problem isn’t with our possessions, the logic follows, then we don’t really need to address the issue of our possessions or the time we spend shopping, upgrading and working to earn more money to acquire them.  We just need to work on our heart.  If our heart doesn’t make any real difference in our actions, what’s the point?

The author also asks the question: “Are you building up earthly treasure, or are you storing up treasures in heaven?”   A good question to consider.  I mean that we should really sit down, do nothing and think about what we are doing.  How do we spend our time?  How much of that time is giving to others?  How much of our time is spent working?  How much in maintaining our car, house, and various other possessions?  How much time do we spend being busy?  How much of our mental energy to we give to our career, managing our things, evaluating future purchases (new kitchen, new boat, lawn tractor, new car, adding on to the house, etc.)?  Compare that with how much time we spend contemplating scripture or thinking of ways to help others who are going through a difficult time in their lives, financially or otherwise.

Thankfully, this isn’t all negative.  The author gives some concrete examples of things we could be doing in pursuit of heavenly treasure.  I’ve been working through this change myself recently.  Initially, I started looking at slowing my life down and getting out of the materialistic mindset purely because it wasn’t making me happy.  In fact, I can say that the accumulation of things and the endless wanting for newer, better, faster, whatever, only leads to deep discontent.  This is true even if you’re on the lower end of the income scale.  It took me much too long before I realized this.

Once I started down that path, I learned that not only was this personally dissatisfying, it goes against the very principles that Christ taught us 2000 years ago.  As I am slowing purging the clutter out of my life I also am finding myself looking at ways I can redirect that energy toward helping others.  My goal is to free up my time so that I can respond to the needs of those around me.  To be unencumbered with my own agenda so that I have more time to be involved with other people around me, not just my own circle of friends and acquaintances.  It’s not something I can flip a switch on and change overnight but a goal that I am striving towards with with increasing motivation.  As a side benefit, it feels much better too.

A couple of scriptures for thought:

I John 3:17
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

James 2:15,16
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

Ecc 5:10 Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless.

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