“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not steal, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”-Matthew 6:19-20
If I could rewrite these verses, I would add, “and where all your earthly treasures get sold at an estate sale.” Estate sales are where all of those things that you felt were so valuable, that someone would LOVE to have someday, go to be sold off to strangers. As I was walking through an estate sale today, my heart hurt because I realized how many things that we buy and carry around with us every time we move eventually end up with a round, orange sticker on them with a large “$1” written in the middle. We place such deep value on a little statue and somewhere in our hearts, even if we don’t admit it, we hope and believe that someday, someone will fight to own it because it will mean as much to them as it does to us. Or even better, we put these treasures in boxes and store those boxes in garages because we just can’t bring ourselves to part with them. Why?? Honestly, if you’ve got a precious item neatly tucked away in a box, you might as well put the round, orange price tag on it yourself and at least sell it and go get an iced coffee out of the deal. Trust me, and trust yourself, if it’s in a box you don’t really want it.
When my mom died, I was shocked and horrified to discover what a hoarder (not clinically) she was. Good grief! I made multiple trips to the dump and held two, large garage sales just to get rid of all of her stuff. Guess what, as I was going through her stuff I didn’t find much that I fell in love. My mom’s prized possession was a stuffed moose head. (Don’t ask why.) She LOVED that horrid thing!! It moved with her from Washington to Alaska, Alaska to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to California, California to Alaska and Alaska to Washington. For a reason that truly only God knows, my mom found much joy in that stuffed head. I didn’t and so on to Craigslist it went and was sold. I could have taken on responsibility for the beloved earthly treasure out of a sense of duty or guilt. I could have tried to fake joy over this huge hairy beast. I could have kept it simply because I knew she loved it but all of those would have been a lie. I hated that thing and was happy to get rid of it.
That’s the problem with earthly treasures…they are only treasures to you. Once you are gone, it’s a rare item that hangs on with someone else. Yet, we put so much time, money, and effort into building our earthly treasures that we miss what is really valuable, treasures in heaven.
When I die, I honestly don’t want to own enough stuff for my daughter to even be able to have an estate sale. I want my life to be about the people I loved, the people I invested my life into, the things that can’t be destroyed or sold. I don’t want anyone to want anything I own right now, I want people to just remember how much I loved them. As I sit here writing this, I realize how cluttered my home has gotten over the years and how I need to take my own advice and clean house. The box of my daughter’s artwork that I never look at needs to either get hung up or tossed out. The big clock that belonged to my grandfather which now sits on a top shelf not working either needs to get fixed or sold. The statues that belonged to my grandmother that sit next to the big clock so high up I can’t really see them need to go. That clock doesn’t make me think of my grandfather, praying every night with my daughter does because he used to pray with me when I spent the night at his house. Those statues don’t remind me of my grandmother, calling out my daughter’s name does because she’s her namesake. THOSE are the treasures in heaven I want to have stored up and overflowing!
I’m not saying don’t have items in your home that mean something important. I’m saying make sure you realize fully that their value is only to you and no one else is going to feel the same way. Someday, that item that you can’t imagine not having may sit in an estate sale. Make sure that it isn’t more important than investing in people. Those earthly treasures are meaningless, the heavenly treasures are eternal.
Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy.