“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 destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of my life…not in a bad way. I’m at the age now when a responsible person planning for the future writes a will, buys life insurance, and sock away extra money in the retirement fund. I was talking with my mother about the trouble I’m having with making my will. Even if I had anything of value, I have no spouse or children or grandchildren to inherit. The only thing I could think of that is worth anything at all (sentimentally) is the memory quilt I made of my son in the year following his death. Assuming my mother proceeds me in death—who cares about a quilt you can’t use filled with pictures and memories of someone most people I know never met besides maybe my brothers and one quilt doesn’t divide between two men who live in two different states. And what about my nieces and nephews? What could I possibly leave them?
While considering all of this, my grandmother came to mind. My mother’s mom never had much and what little she had she spent on her nine children, twenty-four grandchildren, and at least one great grandchild. But I think she left behind for all of us the most important thing a person can give a loved one. She left behind joyous memories of time spent together and she left behind the most incredible witness of child-like faith I’ve ever known. Even though I don’t particularly agree with her religion, I admire and hope to imitate in my own life her deep, genuine love for the Lord.
Couldn’t I leave my loved ones joyous memories and a witness of my own? We all leave a witness of our character when we leave this life behind. That's what they talk about at the wake and at every family gathering afterwards. What kind of witness am I leaving for those I will leave behind? I hope it is one of integrity, encouragement, laughter, hope and faith. These are the treasures I’ve been given in my life with the Lord which I want to share with others in my daily living and it is the inheritance I hope to leave with my loved ones when I go home to the Lord. These are the kinds of treasures I think Jesus was referring to in Matthew 6:19-21. These things cannot be destroyed, broken, or stolen. These are the treasures that dull and fall flat when sin entangles me and these are the precious treasures that the Lord is refining in me every day. What if every time I live within the bounds of my integrity despite temptation, encourage others, share in their laughter or grief, or give hope in the living out of my faith in Christ, I am storing up those intangible yet priceless treasures in heaven which will be given back to me two or ten or one hundredfold by Jesus himself?
All of a sudden, I feel very rich.