Trashing Our Treasures and Treasuring Our Trash

“I have discovered that many of the things I thought were priceless are as cheap as costume jewelry, and much of what I labeled worthless was, all the time, filled with the kind of beauty that directly nourishes my soul.…Now I think that the vast majority of us ‘normal’ people spend our lives trashing our treasures and treasuring our trash. We bustle around trying to create the impression that we are hip, imperturbable, omniscient, in perfect control, when in fact we are awkward and scared and bewildered” (Martha Beck, Expecting Adam).

I heard a sermon illustration once that went like this: a man broke into a store and spent all night changing the price tags on all the inventory. All the expensive merchandise got the cheap price tags, and visa versa. The result was that things like televisions were selling for pennies on the dollar and things like safety pins were several hundred dollars.

But that’s what we’ve done. We prize all sorts of things that in the grand scheme of eternity don’t mean all that much and take for granted what is really valuable beyond price. We’ve made career accomplishments and monetary gain the standard of wealth and success, while at the same time devaluing and deprioritizing relationships and faith.

But at the end of your life, when you are on your death bed, you won’t be asking to see all your diplomas or certificates. You won’t want your bank account information or your stock portfolio. You won’t care how many initials are after your name when your life is coming to an end.

Instead you’ll want to be surrounded by the people you love and who loved you. All that you will care about are the people who invested in you and those in whom you invested. What will matter most is your faith in God and those who know God because of you. That’s the real legacy you’ll leave behind. That’s what you can take with you when you die.

“Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value. Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value” (Matthew 6:19-20, The Passion Translation).

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