Eternal Things.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A couple weeks ago our main computer crashed.  We found out it can only be recovered if we spend hundreds of dollars to do so.  There wasn't a ton of information on the computer, but there were thousands of photographs.  Basically, all the photos I'd taken in the past one and a half years.  I'm a passionate photo-taker, and put a lot of value in 'documenting' (so to speak) our days.   I do this often. I do this everyday.  It gets a bit crazy, I'll admit.  I just love capturing life's moments - because life is so incredibly beautiful and fresh - especially with children.




So, the photos of 2011-2012 weren't backed up.  They're gone.

And in an instant, I realize how completely uncertain - so weak and mortal - these things are.

Photographs.
Cameras.
Computers.
Clothes.
Cars.
Houses.
Stuff.   
Disposable, breakable, crash-able, burnable stuff.

“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 moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!  No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."  Matthew 6:19-34

So, I'm asking myself the question, how do I avoid storing up treasures on earth?  How do I live completely focused on the eternal?  What does that look like?

When my husband and I examined the thought of spending upwards of $700 to recover our photos - we couldn't stomach it.  $700 so we could have our 'treasures'.  Mortal things.  Treasures on earth.  Don't store that up.

Okay, God.

Because $700 would probably sustain a beautiful Ugandan family we know for a month.
Because $700 would pay school fees for approximately forty Ugandan children who otherwise could not receive an education.
Because $700 buys a WHOLE lot of food for the food bank.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.... But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Storing up wild berries yesterday...

See, to know our hearts, we just need to follow the money trail.  What do we spend our money on?  What do we value?  What do we hope for, wish for, strive after? 

Where do we place our time, our effort?
Is it in people or stuff?  And do we have perspective that is razor sharp every time we make a purchase?  See, we love to throw around the 'What Would Jesus Do' concept, but so few of us actually do what Jesus would do when it comes to our stuff.  Jesus was homeless in the years He did ministry.  Earthly possessions had absolutely no place in His life.  He didn't worry about homemaking and hanging lights and sewing pretty things and making fancy meals.  He focused on souls.  His life was a mission lived out with passion and sacrifice.

I'm not suggesting we all live on the streets, but we ought to look to our Lord's example if we call ourselves disciples of Him.  It's easy to look all over scripture at how we are to live.  Different discriptions of a "Godly woman" or wife or mother.  All scripture is useful for teaching, but, we need to be honest with ourselves -

Jesus' spoken words trump all other prophets and all other parts of the Word.  He is the supreme authority.

Yes, that's in there too.  And He is wiser than Solomon and all the other prophets and His words are the ones we are to live by above all else.  He is the true embodiment of God.  He is the One who is perfect. His example reigns supreme.

So, as for me and my house, we don't feel comfortable building our own little kingdom.  I believe we are asked to live humbly.  To dress humbly.  To give extravagantly, until it hurts.  If my giving doesn't hurt, I'm not giving enough.


Come on, let's be real.  
We are not called to make for ourselves a pretty little life.  
A comfy little life.  
These are not the words of Christ.
Because where our money goes - our heart follows.

We will give an account for how we lived, how we spent our money, and how we treated others and used our one (very short) life.

I just can't fathom it being pleasing to God if I spend hundreds of dollars recovering photographs.  My children are right in front of me.  God whispers to me, cherish them today.

I just can't fathom it being pleasing to God to spend thousands on a fancy car, upgrades to our house, pretty decorations, new paint, hutches, new clothes, doing tons and tons of expensive 'cool' things.  It just doesn't align with the scripture.  It certainly doesn't align with the words of Jesus. All of this is 'storing up treasures on earth'.  We want to twist it and twirl it and add a whole lot of 'but' and 'what if' and 'that only applies to' ... but, it's right there.  It's plain as the possessions all around me.

Let me rephrase and tell you how I see it:
 
"Do not buy random things.  Do not purchase 'stuff' unless you actually need it.  Your life isn't about being comfortable.  Your life is about being a servant."

If the words sting your heart, they sting mine too - because I'm right here with you.

We are to cling to, to invest in Eternal things.



Eternal - our children's souls.
Eternal - a love of God's creation and how majestic He is.
Eternal - investing in as many people as we can with our time.
Eternal - giving our money to those we trust, to build bridges, to invest in ministry.
Eternal - feeding children who otherwise would starve.
Eternal - trusting God with your money - giving when it hurts.

Treasures on earth - clothes, toys, electronics.
Treasures on earth - make-up, hair products, nail polish.
Treasures on earth - expensive entertainment.
Treasures on earth - fancy homes, fancy cars, fancy lives.

Ouch.  The truth sometimes hurts, but it can bring us to something new.  We are not called to live in ignorance of the very TRUTH Christ died to reveal.  We are here for something so much more.  Something so much deeper.  We are here for Eternal things.   

This life is a tiny blip in the never ending eternal reality that awaits us.  So, our family is starting to ask the really hard question of what would a disciple of Jesus really do?  I mean, REALLY.  Fight against injustice.  Live for truth.  Listen to our convictions, even when they are completely strange and foreign to most.  Be willing to give up our lives, so we can actually find them.

I've heard that somewhere too...

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
Matthew 10:39

So, we're seriously asking what it looks like to lose a life.  Not to build our own paradise, but to allow God to make us a little uncomfortable - so we can truly grasp the Truth of why we're really here.  And I just can't convince myself that I'm here to buy stuff.  To decorate.  To focus on the so very mortal and un-eternal.  To busy myself house-making until I fall over for the scent of cleaning products.  House-making is not always HOMEmaking.

I know many kids who live in beautiful houses, but they do not have a home.

I want to cling to the example of Christ.  I want to force myself to ignore the dishes and engage with the neighbor child who needs a friend.  To embrace a moment laying on the ground with my son, making loud train noises.  To forget about the painting projects and trim projects, and instead, give that money to God.  Funny, He never whispers, 'fix the house'.  He never whispers to buy another nick-nack.  It's never happened.  

Let's reflect on this truth and be open to what He might speak to us.  No, it's not comfy.  But we are not called to the comfy life.  We are called to Eternal Things.

 

And more words from Christ -

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom  and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  Matt. 6: 25-32




8 comments:

  1. A very focus changing post. Thank you.

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  2. A lot here for me to pray about -- thank you.

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  3. Very thought provoking post, thank you. I do, however, feel that when God blesses us with a husband and children, that is our first ministry. While I don't focus on the latest decorating trends if I see something that will make our home beautiful, if it is needed and if it is something we can afford, I do buy it--guilt free. We use our home to minister to many others, and a place of peace, comfort and rest is important.

    While I agree that Jesus, during his three years of ministry certainly didn't obtain the earthly comforts, I often wonder how he conducted himself while still at home. He certainly worked, helped his parents and probably was the best big brother around, maybe even helped at the hearth:-)

    God blesses us all in different ways, I don't begrudge anyone who can afford an expensive car, I do know many driving them whose giving is so generous. I think it is when these earthly treasures become idols in our lives--more important that relationships and people that it becomes a problem. Well, just my 2 cents, thanks again:-0

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  4. Thanks ladies. Suzanne - I absolutely, 100% agree that my husband and family are my priority and they absolutely are! (Not sure if this post suggested otherwise!?) I think the best way I can serve my family is to display real, authentic faith. That comes first, above all other things. I also think it's important to realize that we are not the same and God moves us in different ways depending on His plan for us. (At least I think so). That doesn't mean you are wrong or I'm wrong, it just means, we're different. This post is really about my transformation and how God is challenging our family. Thanks so much for reading.

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  5. Challenging and beautiful post! I'm the same way with photos, and had a laptop crash a few years ago. I thought the photos were lost, but a friend was able to recover them by extracting the hard drive. (The computer itself was unsavable.) Thank you for reminding me that I'm not called to live comfy.

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  6. I forwarded this post to my husband (who is a tech nerd) because of the wonderful message. He however couldn't help but comment on the crashed computer part, lol :)He said that you may be able to save your pictures by putting your hard drive into an external hard case and plugging it into a laptop to save your pictures. Worth a try!

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    1. Haha... thanks ladies. Funny, Valeska! We went to professionals and they were not able to do it unless we were willing to pay big bucks. ;) We chose not to... it's ok. But thank you so much for the suggestion and say thanks to your techie hubs! ;) Cass

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