I dug out an old post from the archives for this week. I hope that it challenges you as it did me. I don't think I can ever be reminded of this enough.
If you knew that your house was going to burn down and you could grab just a few things, what would be on your list? Family pictures? The car parked in the garage? A brand new couch you’d finally found after looking for 3 years? Your Bible? Your dog?
My husband’s brother and his wife had their house burn a few years ago. It was early morning, everyone was sleeping. Praise God everyone woke up and was able to get out of the house. When the volunteer fire department got there they asked them, “What do you want us to save?” They wanted their family photo albums, something they knew they couldn’t replace.
After losing pretty much everything they owned they realized that what they had on this earth wasn’t nearly as important as what they were laying up in heaven. And they left a well paying job, family members and a church family to serve God in Wyoming.
Matthew 6:19-21 says, “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.”
In the movie, Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, a wealthy German businessman "employs" Jewish people to work in his factories during the Holocaust. At first he is only concerned about making money and being successful but as time goes on he begins to realize that when he requests someone to work for him he is literally saving their life. By the end of the movie his whole focus has turned from being successful to saving as many Jews as possible by putting them on the "list" (of workers).
There is a gripping scene in the movie where Schindler gathers all of his Jewish employees together at the end of the war. The Jews he saved give him a gift - a gold ring with a Hebrew inscription, "He who saves one man, saves the whole world." Overcome with guilt at the way he wasted so much money and could have saved so many more, he looks down at a pin on his jacket and yanks it off. There is a desperate misery in his eyes as he says, “This would have bought one more person, I could have saved one more person?” and he falls to the ground racked with bitter agony because he chose his pin over saving another human being.
As I watched this scene with tears running down my own face, I couldn’t help but wonder if when I get to heaven I won’t feel the same way. The money I spent on a sweater I just had to have or the time I felt prompted by God to speak to a friend about Jesus and didn’t, that I will be standing in heaven, racked with my own agony and guilt over the fact that I could have helped bring more people into the Kingdom of Heaven and chose a sweater or my own comfort over them!
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also.”
What's on your list? What do you treasure? Where do you spend your time, your thoughts, your energy – is it on yourself, the things you own, your own comfort?
There’s only one thing we can take with us to heaven – other people.
Lord, teach us to set our affection on things above and not on things of this earth. Show us how to treasure what You treasure. May we never lose sight of what is truly important – loving You first and then loving other people.