Each Monday morning, our very first order of business after breakfast (often while we still have our PJ’s on!) is to introduce Pippa’s homeschool memory verse for the week by doing a little craft or illustrating some aspect of it. This week’s verse was long for the girls, and full of words and concepts that were foreign to them and difficult to explain. Here’s the verse in its context and in Grownupese (ESV):
19Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(from Matthew 6)
My girls don’t know what moths are, and to describe one to a little girl as a “brown butterfly”, I learned, only serves to arouse her deepest affections and sympathies rather than conveying the true destructiveness of these pests. They didn’t know what rust was either, but now they understand it’s something that eats cars. Treasure, they do understand… and they like it! So amid two excited little girls’ questions of, “Talk more about the moth-es, Mommy” and “Can I go get my “Pip book” so that moth-es don’t eat it?” I somehow had to try to unravel the deep truths of this verse and impress them on their little hearts. Yikes.
Somewhere in all of my rambling and refocusing, I started to really get what this verse is saying. I mean it started to really sink into my heart. What it boils down to (I think) is this: We cannot keep anything from this life – to Pippa’s horror, not dolls or clothes (“But we can wear clothes in Heaven, right Mommy?” Trust Romilly to totally derail a theological discussion with a perfectly reasonable yet extremely tricky-to-answer question.) or cars or any of our stuff.
So what will there be in Heaven? I was pleasantly surprised that my girls did (with a bit of prompting) know the answer to this question. There will be God and there will be people.
It wasn’t for nothing that Jesus said, when asked which was the most important commandment, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. ” (Mark 12:30-31, ESV) Indeed, every single commandment given in the Bible is fulfilled in doing these two things with all of our whole-hearted fervor.
God and people are the only things worth loving because they are *the only* things we will have with us after this fleeting life is over. They are the only treasure worth having, because they are the only treasure we can keep. Everything else in this life is only valuable as a means to those ends. Everything. Else.
So how do we “store” the “treasures” of God and people in Heaven? Well, God is already there, of course, waiting and longing for each and every one of us to accept His free offer of grace and an eternity with Him, not because of our own righteousness, but because of Christ’s death on our behalf. We can invest in the treasure of God by every day spending the time with Him, in prayer and in diligent study of His word, that it takes to truly draw near to Him and experience that close fellowship that we, as His children, are privileged to have. What better way could there be to spend one’s time than getting to know the One who created you? (And I am *completely* preaching this to myself here!)
And how can we “store up” people? The sad truth (but the truth no less) is that God’s word tells us not everyone will be in Heaven. We would do well to remember this with reverence and trembling as we invest in the lives of others. As controversial and narrow-minded as this may sound in this age of “tolerance”, Christ is, the Bible tells us, *the only* way provided for man to be reconciled to God. Those who reject Christ’s offer of salvation, whether by active refusal or by passive indifference, will not be ours “to keep” in Heaven. If we love our friends, we are compelled by that love to plead with them, as we have opportunity, to recognize the truth of the gospel. (Ahem, Self? Are you listening???)
I will leave you with some recent photos of four little souls that I long to know will one day spend eternity with the Lord (and with their Mommy).