I Can’t Take It With Me…Can I?

[Jesus said,] “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”     Matthew 6:19-21 (WEB)

I have recently completed a book by Debbie Macomber, One Simple Act. It wasn’t an easy book for me to read. I thought it would be about generosity and, well, I’m a generous person! At first I wasn’t even going to read the book because I didn’t think it was for me. Then as I began reading the book, I didn’t like it! It didn’t say what I thought was obvious and what I wanted to hear! God has a way of doing that.

It was in the last chapter that I got the message for me. Mrs. Macomber told me that I could take it with me! I wasn’t sure what she meant. I still wasn’t sure after I finished reading the book. Then I remembered a ‘treasure’. It was 1995-1998. It was the beginning of the Pensacola Outpouring Revival. It was also a very tough time for our family as we all went through a divorce. The treasure was that I spent many hours with God and His Word. I read and studied as I never have, including my time in nursing school! I was a sponge. And God was pouring out His Living Water! My Sword (Bible) became well-used, with many notes and lines and I filled journals with my thoughts and questions and God’s answers. And so I shut Mrs. Macomber’s book and picked up my Sword.

Jesus first warns me that anything that I accumulate here can rot or someone or circumstances can steal it away from me. “Lord, You know that I know that to be true!” I spoke about divorce. Prior to 1995, I thought I had all that I could ever want or need. I had a loving husband, three awesome children, a big house, two cars, a job that was moving me up the career food chain, and lots of friends. I went to church because many of my friends went to the same church and I wanted to set a good example for my children. My children, on some basic level, discerned that my relationship with God was bogus. They didn’t buy the ‘church thing’ because it wasn’t really that important to me or their dad. And though I had all this, I wasn’t happy. When I took time to think about it, I was worried about my marriage. I was worried about my children. I was worried about my job. And how would we pay for everything? “Let’s just buy more ‘stuff’ and not think about it!” God taught me a life lesson that there is so much ‘stuff’ that I do not need. I may want but I do not need. We all learned a very hard but valuable life lesson.

Jesus then encourages me to instead learn what real treasure is. It has to do with generosity, as Mrs. Macomber reiterates. It brings to mind another teaching of Jesus:

“As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.”      Luke 6:31-35 (WEB)

Did you read that passage more than once? Did you read it slowly and really think about it? This is why my flesh did not like the message of Mrs. Macomber’s book. Jesus sets the example and it isn’t easy but it is simple. And with God’s grace and mercy that He promises He will give in sufficient measure, I am learning. And I am going to take my treasure with me!

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