Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Store Up Treasures in Heaven, Not on Earth (You Can't Do Both)

Image result for john piippo money
Leaf, in my backyard

I am now beginning my days by reading three things:
- The Gospel of Matthew
- Proverbs (in The Message)
- Hearing God Through the Year, by Dallas Willard

I read slowly. Sometimes I can only take in one sentence, having to pause and ponder and be searched out by the Holy Spirit.

This happened now, while reading Matthew 6:19-21.


19“ Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Really?

Jesus seems to be saying that you can't do both. You can't store up treasures on earth and simultaneously store up treasures in heaven. Like you can't travel forward and backward at the same time. Like you can't breathe in and breathe out at the same time. 

Richard Foster says "simplicity is freedom, duplicity is bondage." 

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard wrote a book titled Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. And Jesus said the pure in heart are the ones who will see God.

You cannot simultaneously will two things. You cannot simultaneously will "earthly treasures stored up in the house" and "treasures stored up in heaven."

Richard E. Byrd, after months alone in the barren Arctic, recorded in his journal, “I am learning…that a man can live profoundly without masses of things.” (In Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p. 80)

You mean, like Jesus did?

"Because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. “We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like." (Ib.)



Though your riches increase,

    do not set your heart on them.
Ps. 62:10

He who trusts in his riches will wither.
Proverbs 11:28

"Jesus declared war on the materialism of his day."
Foster


Matthew 6:19-21 is enough for my heart to take in this morning. I bookmarked it. Tomorrow morning I will read it again. My true heart is indicated by what I am storing up, and what I am doing with whatever time, resources, and abilities God has given me. 

That's what Jesus says to me today.

***
My two books are:


Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church.

I'm working on:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation