Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Moving house is a time when the quantity of stuff one possesses is frighteningly visible, being gathered onto a large lorry by a whole squad of people. It is good to take stock and think about what is really necessary before adding to the heap of stuff to be packed, and we have given a good deal of time recently to doing just that.
There have been trips to charity shops, the recycling facility and the local dump, but also opportunities to help local organisations with things that we don’t need and they can use. It is a great blessing of our era, that social media and the internet allow us to find ways to make sure resources can be reused as often as possible. But some of the things are hard to let go….
The treasures I am reluctant to lose are largely connected with the raising of my children – books, toys, games and craft materials, all bearing witness to hours spent together and reminding me of their growth and development. But if the children – now both young adults in reality – are willing to let these things go, why am I struggling? We are passed those stages now, the colouring books and magnetic puzzles, the model-making kits and boxes of brightly coloured beads are redundant.
They are not perhaps the treasures that Jesus was particularly referring to, but I feel that his words here do apply to my situation as well. I have a choice here: I can cling on to the relics of childhood (telling myself that one day, someone else might come and use them, which is a delusion), or I can accept that this chapter of life is now closed, the story has moved on, and I must too. If I refuse to let go of these things, I am placing too much importance on what has been, instead of embracing what is, and looking to what will be.
My Father in heaven knows my mother-heart, he made it, so that I might love and raise these young people for him. He knows that I have many good memories, of simple days and the glorious free laughter and love of young children. Those were sweet to my spirit, and I am right to treasure them. But he has new blessings for me here, now, with the teenager and the young man who are increasingly independent, who laugh more at their little mother than with her, but who I am proud to call my own.
So what does it mean, as a mother, to store my treasures in heaven? Perhaps it is the literal and continual committing of my children into God’s hands, reminding myself that they were his before they were mine, and that his love for them is so much greater than mine. The love I bear for them, and the joy they bring me, are treasures which I can only keep sweet, healthy and clean by continually bringing them before God, to cleanse me of selfishness and the desire to control or manipulate their lives according to my own will.
I must also guard against allowing love for my children to become an idol, so that unless God gives them what I want for them, I cannot trust him. I have seen that happen, and it is such a painful situation, when God’s dealings with a child become the wreck of a parent’s faith. Ultimately, my treasure in heaven must be Christ alone, and my allegiance to him cannot be conditional upon my children’s prosperity, health or happiness.
So I will get rid of the stuff that my daughter is happily throwing out, to make room for her new life in our new home, and then the exciting adventure which will lie ahead after that. I will seek to walk gladly with her into the next chapter, thankful for the past but not clinging onto it, and trusting our loving Father for all our futures.