“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.” (Matt. 6:19-21 NLTI)
I was driving to the grocery store on a warm morning in May. The trees which had looked like skeletons only two months before were covered in lush, robust, green leaves. Birds were flying to and from their nests to gather food to feed their newborn babies. Butterflies were floating along the roadsides looking for freshly blooming wild flowers. The fields were full of buttercups and dandelions. The sweet scent of clover was filling the air as well. I smiled as I watched the golden sunshine reflecting off the leaves. It was such a peaceful and heavenly time. I felt happy to be alive.
My calm was broken, though, as I rounded a curve. A huge moving truck was coming my way several feet over the center line. I swerved as far onto the berm of the road as I could to miss it. It was followed by not one but two other moving trucks just as large. I wondered if all the stuff inside of them belonged to the same person. I slowed down my car and waited for my heart rate to follow. It was then that I noticed a self-storage business along the side of the highway, building new units for all the people who couldn’t fit their possessions into their houses. I saw a young couple carrying boxes into one of the units. It seemed strange that a couple just out of their teens could already have too much stuff.
I lost my own taste for owning stuff when a house fire in the middle of the night destroyed everything my family owned when I was only eleven years old. The only thing I had left was the underwear I was wearing. Yet, our whole family had awakened in time to escape and we thanked God for our lives. In the weeks that followed friends and family gave us a lot of stuff to get us back on our feet, but none of it seemed as important any more. What was important was seeing my Mom’s smile, giving my Nana a hug and a kiss, and watching my Dad snooze in his chair after a hard day’s work. What was important was the stuff of the soul, not the stuff of this world.
Since then I have tried to limit the things I purchase. I didn’t want too much stuff crowding up my life. I wanted to only buy what I needed and to spend my days in learning, growing, and loving others.
In this life we are given a limited amount of time. We can spend it loving each other, enjoying this beautiful world God made for us, and making it a better place or we can spend it acquiring stuff. One gives us joy. The other gives us work. One builds us treasures in Heaven. The other takes our treasures here on Earth. One fills our lives with peace, kindness, and happiness. The other fills our days with worry, fear, and regret. Make your choice wisely then. Fill your life with love not with stuff.
Joseph J. Mazzella