19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. – Matthew 6:19-24
As I read this, I cannot help but think about all the earthly treasures that we enjoy today. Even the ability to write this blog article requires the treasure of technology. I have a laptop computer, electricity, and internet. Behind me is a table that holds my kids’ school supplies, their Legos, and a marble run set (out of the way of our two-year old that still puts everything in his mouth).
I have a kitchen with plenty of food and easy access to all varieties of food, even despites some shortages. I can get online and order just about anything one might imagine, assuming I had the extra money to do so. I can also get online and find plenty of work to do so that I can make money to provide for my family and pursue all kinds of treasures for my kids and others.
We might not have a nice house (we rent a very old house that our landlord does not maintain or cannot maintain. I do what I can to make the most of it, but I don’t own it so I’m limited).
We might not have a nice car. We might be considered to be impoverished by United States standards, but we are still richer than most people have been throughout all of history. We have so much treasure in this life and I work hard to pursue what we need and maintain what we have.
I would like to own my own home one day. I would like to grow a business that provides a more secure future for my family or provides jobs for others.
I don’t like to write much about myself anymore, but as I read the passage above, I cannot help but think about this and it’s hard for me to write about these things and fully separate myself from these ideas.
Finding the balance between pursuing the necessities of life—and pursuing pleasures for those I love, especially my children—and pursuing the things of God has been a struggle for me for some time.
On one hand, there is a part of me that just wants to live my simple little life and do so as uprightly as I can. As a Christian, of course. There are things that I could pursue that are not unrighteous, like growing my business or taking on more work.
However, I could not keep up with this blog if I did that. Even as it is, I feel pressed to make the most of every minute of my day. I work seven days a week now just to maintain the demands of life without giving up on my obligations to this blog and the people who read it.
I have an obligation to do something with the gifts the Lord has given me, and I can use these to further my riches in this world or I can use them to edify the called of God, thereby gaining riches in the Kingdom of Heaven.
That’s my real home. I’ve never had a real home in this life. Home as a child did not feel like home. As an adult, I’ve never had a place of my own. All I have ever really wanted is a home, loving family, and good friends.
I have love in my family. We have had troubles, but the Lord has been good to us and He is at work in us. That is what really matters. A home is not a building or a location. It’s the people.
Building up people is a treasure that cannot be taken from us—especially when we are building up people in Christ.
That is a treasure that I cannot forsake no matter what. There is no career, no house, no car, or no gain within society that can compare.
I also wonder what I might do in the kingdom to come. I believe in a Millennial reign of Jesus on the earth after He overthrows the false christ. I have some ideas about what that time might mean for us who serve Him. I think that our lives now are preparing us for what we will do then.
You’ve heard it said that you should “dress for the job you want.” Can we transfer that idea to the kingdom of heaven? I think about what I would like to do. I have an affinity for helping traumatized people heal. I have an affinity for helping damaged families heal. That’s been the story of my life and the Lord’s work in my life. I also have some ideas about what “church” should be. I assume there would still be a need for people to congregate in the name of the Lord, but in a more beneficial manner than we have today. A more complete manner that has learned from our failings.
In any case, it is better to prepare myself for service to Jesus in His kingdom than it is to grow a business and pursue greater prosperity in this world. I truly cannot do both.
Yet, I admit to that being a struggle for me. Though, not a terribly difficult one. Jesus has done so much for me already. He has done so much for my family. He saved me from death and turned me into a better mother. He is brining peace to my home. He is teaching me many things in this life, not to mention the understanding of His word that He provides.
I must do what I can to raise my family. I must do what I can to provide for them. However, the real treasure I want is to be of use in His Kingdom—to have some small part in building up that home and those who will live there. Including my children and husband, Lord willing. It goes together. We must be good stewards of what we have and abide in the calling wherein we are called.
Sometimes I think I should stop being stubborn about not taking money for the ministry. Sometimes I think I should try to go into full time ministry and let my business go. Yet, I also trust that all things are going at the pace that the Lord has ordained.
I’ve been in a state of ambivalence for a while now, not knowing what to do with myself. As I write this, I realize that I am already right where I need to be.
I know exactly what my aim is here at The Lord Alone. It took me a while to get here, but I know I am focused on the right things. Most things He has given me to say will be covered in the Parables series, the Proverbs series, and in the These Things Saith He series. I do want to spend more time looking over the KindlingTruth articles. I have learned from my errors there in a broad sense (mostly errors in spirit), so I don’t know if that is necessary at this point.
My family has what they need. I have enough work. I do not need more. We have a place to live. We have food. We have educational tools and resources for the kids. The kids have luxuries even beyond what they need and I have a few of those too.
Time to let go of my earthly ambitions and just maintain with a willingness to let go of anything else the Lord might ask of me for His sake. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Apologies if this type of writing is off putting. I can’t in good conscience write about this teaching of Jesus until I have dealt with these issues within myself. That has been the case with all things I write. I learn mostly through personal experience and the Holy Spirit reveals the lessons as I go. Hard experience. Yet, this is the Lord’s doing and it is good. I am thankful.
This has been the cause for my stopping and starting at times. I do not want to be a hypocrite, so it’s hard to move forward unless my own sins or character flaws are worked out, or at least turned over to Jesus in faith that He will work them out in His time. This also means writing about myself sometimes, which some people like and others do not. I understand both perspectives.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series.
PREVIOUS POST IN THIS SERIES: Fast in Secret
Subscribe by entering your email address and clicking on the red button at the bottom of this page to get future posts by email or follow in WordPress.