“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.” Matthew 6:19-21
I spent last week as a family group leader at a camp in Colorado. It was the same camp I attended as a student in high school. To be honest, I wasn’t excited about going to camp. I would be out of my routine, away from my family and pets, and knocked out of my workout routine. Do you see the common word there? “My.” (We’ll get to that.)
The second we loaded onto the old school bus that has served our youth group so well for many years), something in me changed. This was going to be a great week. I hardly thought about my oh-so-important home life for the rest of the week. The ride had begun, and we zoomed – full-speed-ahead – through every prayer meeting, celebration, worship, devotional, and recreation game. It went by so quickly. Every person on staff was bursting with love for God. I’d never seen such a thing. In all my years in church, church youth groups, and Bible studies, I’ve never witness so much passion for the God who saves. Why is the Holy Spirit so often quenched?
God did amazing things at camp. Not only did three teens from our youth group accept Jesus Christ; but the God who saves opened and enlightened my heart. I was blessed by the kids in my group. The opportunity to pour myself out to them was cleansing, humbling, and spiritually deepening. I found myself in a position to serve and minister. The sermons I heard and the scriptures I read were no longer just for my own benefit, but could then be transferred in prayer and study to a handful of junior high students. How beautiful! How incredible! How overwhelmingly rewarding!
I felt purpose. For the first time, my own little life didn’t matter. Of course, throughout my life there had been times during church worship or long solitary walks in which I was in complete awe of God; I had felt my own smallness; I had felt unworthy. But this… this was different.
Purpose. This was purpose, even though I had thought for so long I knew what my purpose was. We are to “store up treasures in heaven.” Greed for self-promotion, money, and success are pretty obvious in this world. Or are they? Do we harbor such feelings without even realizing it? Most everyone does. Greed is a sin that hides itself.
Yet, the treasures we desire are not necessarily monetary. Maybe we want to feel important; to feel attractive. In sports, we say, “I want to be the best [runner, quarterback, goalie, etc.] I can be.” Is that such a good thing? It sounds great. It’s motivational. It means hard work. It means discipline.
The question is why? Why do we do the things we do? Are we promoting ourselves or the God who saves? Is the desire of my heart to add to His kingdom or to build up my fleeting life on earth? My family is very close, so (of course) I hesitated at first to take time away from home this summer. Every second of time that I’m not at college should (logically) be spent with them, right? Yes, unless God is calling me to something else. Do I focus so much on being a successful runner, a well-known writer, or even a good daughter that I fail to be a servant of Jesus in this life?
Being a good daughter is a wonderful thing; but I will spend eternity with my parents and brothers. We will be in perfect fellowship forevermore! There are opportunities to show Jesus to thousands of kids throughout the country. There are small groups, in fact, just in my own community, who need to be shown the love of God. Will I refuse that opportunity to spend more time in my own safe, easy routine? God has presented every single one of His children with the glorious task of inviting more souls into joy, into freedom, and into the salvation that makes up the paradise of heaven.
Instead of focusing on my worldly success, I want to surrender. I want to invite God in. I want Him to direct my steps so He will be glorified and more people will be added to His perfect eternal Kingdom.
After all, it’s not what we leave on this earth when we die that matters; it’s WHO we take with us.