I once knew a guy who was collecting video equipment in his garage. He had spent years amassing quite a bit of stuff in the hope he was going to use it in some sort of service for God. I was a Youth Pastor in his church and foolishly hoped he would let us use some of his equipment once in a while. It is unfortunate that he couldn’t see that if we used his ‘stuff’ we were actually accomplishing ‘his’ goal of using it to the glory of God. He has since passed on and his dated equipment useless and wasted. I have tried to live a different kind of life than that. I would hope that if I have something, it is for one of two reasons, a) so I can use it, or b) so someone else can use it. My hope is that there is never a third option of it being land fill in an unopened box.
In Matthew 6:19 Jesus inspires us to not store up for ourselves perishable treasures, but instead to store up imperishable ones. He says that were our treasure is, our hearts are their also. I have come to understand that there is a sense of gratuitousness in his words. He is referring to storing up things that are more than enough. Ironically it seems he isn’t against hoarding or being gratuitous in our desire for things – we need to make sure they are the right things. We have a choice to either invest in things that last for an hour, a day, a week, a year, a decade, a lifetime or an eternity. Jesus inspires us to gather treasures that last forever. There are many things that can outlive us: relationships, legacies, reputations, communities, and our world to name a few. As I think about my friend who was amassing his personal television station, I can’t help but think his dream wasn’t wrong, but his order was. Jesus in verse 31 tells us that it is ok to seek things, just as long as they are secondary. He says that we need to ‘Seek first the kingdom of God’ and everything else will fall in line. I think the reason is the first seek influences everything that comes after. If we seek first God and his plan for a world governed by love and justice, then our desire for money or comfort is influenced by that first desire. But if we rearrange the order we can see why things can get a little out of whack. If we seek our kingdoms first there isn’t much left for God’s.
It is said that if you want to know what is important to someone, just look to see were they spend their time and money. That doesn’t mean that someone who puts God first can’t have stuff, but they see their stuff differently. There is a radical view that assumes if you have it, it is for one reason-to share. This is a radical idea because if we take it even farther to beyond just us-it is implicating. We in the West represent around 12% of the worlds population yet consume 60% of the worlds resources. What if we put God first and believed, that we have all we have for one reason-to share with those who don’t. What if we held everything we have not with closed fists but with open hands. What is the worst that could happen? If our fears are that a saw might not get returned our Gilmour Girls box set might get scratched or that our car might get scratched we don’t deserve these items to begin with. Our prayer should be that all we have gets used and abused so much that it gives us an excuse to buy a new one. That kind of thinking doesn’t just stimulate our economy, it stimulates God’s.