Amassing True Riches

By John Telgren

Sometimes some tragic event really helps to put things into perspective. A tornado that destroys your house, a car accident that totals your car, a flood that ruins everything with mud and grime, a fire that burns all of what you thought was important to the ground.

Times like these cause you to count your blessings and consider the things in life that are really important. You consider the things that are worth investing your heart into.

But it doesnít always take a tragedy to learn that lesson. Quiet time with God helps to put things into perspective. As I spent some time with God contemplating our recent in-town move, I began to consider all the "stuff" we were grunting and sweating for to get into the truck and across town. Some of the things have not seen the light of day since the days when our oldest son, now 13, was just a baby. Yet we continue to haul these mysterious boxes around with us. Then there are my clothes that I used to wear when I was still dating Stacey, hoping she would become my wife. They look like childrenís clothing they are so small. I havenít fit into them in years, yet I continue to haul them around with us as well. We have amassed a bunch of "stuff" over the years and for some reason cannot bring ourselves to part with them. They sit in the basement, or in storage, and we would not miss them if they would disappear. If someone had driven our moving truck to the dump and unloaded there, I do not think we would have missed most of our "stuff" very much.

I think we, like many others, may have too much clutter in our lives. Some people call it the "pack rat syndrome." We, like many others, need to simply our lives. Anything we amass on this earth, whether it be clutter, or cars, or houses, clothes, whatever, is still stuff and is still of this world.

"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; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-20)."

While moth and rust did not take its toll on our things, a damp basement did. I know full well that the elements can destroy the stuff we amass on this earth. But I needed to be reminded of this when I picked up the old, crusty, damp boxes of things that I have not been able to bring myself to throw out. Really, there is nothing of importance in our house, except for my wife and kids.

What is the psychological reason for clutter? Could it be that we think, "Hey, I may need that some day!" and hang on to all our clutter? We know full well that the odds we would ever use most of our clutter are zero to none. Maybe itís a faith issue. We always want to have what we think we might need, so we hand on to stuff in case we do. But our Lord does not want us to hang on to stuff, he wants us to give it up. Our lives should be about giving it up rather than hanging on to it.

" 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 (Matt 19:21)."

" And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, "He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever (2 Cor 9:8-9)."

There is a reason that God blesses us materially. When we have "all sufficiency in everything," then we "have an abundance for every good deed." Isnít that how we store up true treasure in Heaven? Doesnít that investment come from giving it away to the glory of God rather than hanging on to everything? Giving up your life completely for God and accepting his Lordship over your life makes you rich beyond belief!

When we give away our possessions, time, and compassion, and do so for God, then we become rich beyond belief. However, if we amass a fortune and hang on to it all, we become impoverished beyond belief. Do you want to live in true riches, or in true poverty?