Friday, April 12, 2013

Heart Clutter

               I watched a commercial the other day about a woman who went shopping at a pharmacy. She had a rewards card, so every time she used it, she earned “cash back” towards purchases in their store. The commercial showed this woman going on a shopping spree, she was buying all kinds of stuff and at the end she was sitting in her car holding a dancing cat. The announcer stated that she could spend her rewards on whatever she wanted from their store (of course). As I watched this commercial I thought about all the stuff that we accumulate on a day to day basis. The world we live in today is all about things. What can we get, what can we have, and how quickly can we get them. I have a rewards card for just about every store I visit, and most of them just give me points, which I have to spend in their store. A few of them give me money off at gas stations, but I have to purchases a lot of stuff to get that reward.
                As I was praying this morning, I began thinking about that commercial again. I thought about all the things that I have, and then I thought about those who are less fortunate that we are. Those who struggle to have food for one meal, clothing that fits, homes and shelters from the storms that rage, and a simple drink of fresh water, all these thing we take for granted. We live in a society today that is pretty focused on possessions. Our society in America is all about what we can get, and how quickly we can acquire it. The more we strive, the more things we find ourselves accumulating. I have never been a hoarder, in fact, I am the exact opposite. I like to clear the clutter out of my life, and my home. But what about the clutter in my heart?
                “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
                We have all heard that you can’t take it with you. You have never seen a U-Haul truck behind a hearse. Once you leave this earth, all your possessions will decay and rot, and others will enjoy the spoils of your hard earned money. But what exactly is Jesus saying to us today about earthly treasures and heavenly treasures? What about the clutter in my heart?
                The word “treasures” can be defined as anything or anyone that is greatly valued or highly prized. It can be wealth, riches, or possessions stored up and/or accumulated. Our hearts are storehouses, little barns that we pack with our treasures. These treasures can be of earthly origin, or they can be of heavenly origin- the choice is ours. “The Master does not say it is wrong to possess earthly treasure. He does say it is wrong to lay it up for self. We are to hold it as stewards.” (Morgan)

                My heart is a barn, as each day passes I fill it up with things of this earth and things of heaven. Jesus says to us that our earthly possessions are not our own, we have been given these gifts from God. Our jobs, homes, cars, wealth, (or lack thereof) , is from God given to us for His Kingdom. How we use these gifts, how we treasure and store these gifts tells Him a lot about our devotion and our hearts toward Him. We, as children of God, know that these earthly possessions hold no value, for they will all fade away one day.
Treasures of earth will never satisfy; they will always lead to emptiness and frustration. Our earthly treasures can be anything from material possessions to our very children. We can treasure our children and our husbands above God. We put all our hope, dreams, love, devotion, time and talents into each one of them, and move God to the side. Any treasure we hold above God will cloud our vision and it will eventually affect our relationship with Him. Anything we treasure above God will draw our hearts away from Him.
Treasures from heaven are the gifts, talents and time we have been given by God. He has deposited into our hearts the treasures of His riches. Our time, gifts, talents, our giving all that we have for Christ (whether it is monetary or spiritual) is for His kingdom. Anytime we pour into His kingdom from what He has given us, we will be rewarded and our joy will be full. These treasures cannot be stolen from us, and they will never decay. These rewards and treasures are eternal, and these treasures will satisfy and fulfill us all the days of our lives.
Our hearts were not created to be stock piled with things. They were created for God, by God and for His purpose. Our hearts are His barns, we are just renting them. He lives in our hearts, but when we crowd our storage space with clutter, where is God to live? Our hearts were created to give, to be a fountain of life that flows into the hearts of others. But when we crowd things, possessions and people into them, they get dammed up. Just as Christ Jesus gave Himself to us, and for us, so we also are to give ourselves to Him, for Him. Our whole hearts are to be His. He desires to have a clean house, not a cluttered one.
Jesus also tells us that where our treasures are, there our hearts will be also. If I treasure my children more than God, then I am not depositing into a heavenly account, I am now depositing into an earthly account. Even our children are gifts from God, they are His, and we are just the stewards He has placed to raise them up for Him. Whatever I treasure, my heart will follow. If my treasures are in getting rich and having things, then my heart will be led to chase after them and not after God.
We have been given the most precious treasure of all, Jesus Christ. He is the greatest and most priceless treasure to hold in our hearts. If we say we love Him, and we trust Him, and treasure Him, then our hearts should follow. If we truly love and trust God than we will act as if our treasures are in heaven and the things of this world will fade away. No longer will our possessions and our earthly treasures rule our hearts, but Christ will have full control. So, how do you know if your heart is cluttered and you need to clean it out to make room for Him?

Think about all you have-your family, your home, and all you possess. What if God were to come to you and say, “I am going to take them all, just like I did to Job. (Job 1:1-19) I am going to take your children, your husband and all that you have; everything will be gone in an instant.” What would your response be? Would you beg Him to change His mind? Would you plead with Him to reconsider? If you are not able to say, “Not my will, but Your will be done” in response to Him, then your heart is cluttered and needs to be cleaned out. Jesus laid down His all for us, He knew that the only way for us to have a relationship with Him, to be free from sin and death was to lay down all that He had for you and for me. Are we not willing to do the same?
Do you love God more than all others, and do you love Him enough to let it all go? Or, do we say we love God with our lips, but our hearts are tied up somewhere else? Where your treasure is, there your heart is also. Martin Luther stated, “What a man loves, that is his god. For he carries it in his heart, he goes about with it night and day. He sleeps and wakes with it; be what it may- wealth, self, pleasure or renown.” When our treasures become more valuable to us than Christ; then are hearts are no longer His. No matter what treasures you have today, no matter what things you cannot live without, know that you cannot have life without Christ? Do these things really give you the joy that you seek? These things that you possess, and the people you treasure, they are not yours- they are His. The time that you have been given today is from God, store up in heaven treasures that will not decay, that will not draw you away, but draw you to Him, who lives and reigns in heaven, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.