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Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be...."
A few months ago, I heard about a woman who died inside her home. As a recluse, nobody knew she had passed away until a week later. She lived as a hoarder with vast amounts of possessions occupying the rooms of her small, run-down home. Hired workers spent months cleaning out the house, taking inventory of bank statements, stamp and coin collections, art, and jewelry. More items were discovered in local storage facilities. The woman's estate was worth millions; however, because she didn't have a will, or known relatives, her prized possessions were auctioned off and sold. Sadly, this woman led a solitary life with no husband, children, or close family members. Her earthly collections consumed her whole existence. I wondered: "Why did she hoard instead of share? Did she have faith in Christ or did she worship a ‘god’ consisting of her most prized possessions?"
Earthly Treasures According to a recent Verizon cellular commercial: Everybody wants more! By signing up for one the "more is better" plans, a customer can get more data, coverage, and texting.... more, more, more. This commercial annoys me because it's a clear example of how marketing heavily influences over-consumption in our materialistic society. It's as if collecting a treasure chest full of electronic gadgets, fancy cars, big houses, luxury apparel, all bundled up with a large stock portfolio, is the ultimate goal in life. The more money we spend on "stuff" we don't need to impress people we don't like in order to live up The Jones' appears shallow and pointless.
What happened to the idea of living simply and within our means? What happened to not allowing material possessions to become the chief focus of our lives? The material possessions we accumulate on earth will not travel with us into the pearly gates of heaven. In fact, our earthly treasures become worthless and meaningless in the end: fine apparel eaten by moths, jewelry tarnished and broken, and all of the electronic gadgets outdated and rusting away in a junk yard.
Heavenly Treasures By contrast, the treasures in heaven are made up of love and faith in Jesus Christ. As our faith in Christ grows, we begin to see that maybe the latest greatest iPhone or the big fancy BMW isn't that big of a deal. Instead of building up possessions we focus on building up rich spiritual lives. We treasure our spouse and children. We treasure our neighbors and community. We treasure the small little details in life that remind us of God's creation - the sunrise and sunset and the beauty of Mother Nature. We know heavenly treasures are safe in the hands of Our Lord.
Where's your heart? Blaise Pascal, the famous Philosopher and Mathematician, wrote:
There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the creator, made known through Jesus.
Where's your heart? Does it lie within your material possessions? Is your heart greedy and selfish? Is it sucked dry by consumerism and materialism? Or, is your heart beating alongside the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
The emptiness of life should not be filled with a bunch of needless "stuff" but fulfilled with Christ's love and grace. Instead of being a Pirate of Possessions, become a Conquistador for Christ. Store up heavenly treasures instead of earthly ones.
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality