Daily Devotions are published Tuesday-Saturday during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NRSV)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I have to admit that many of my pleasures are, indeed, earthly: my red coffee mug with the flower pattern on it; my light-wash jeans torn at the cuffs; my Nintendo Switch; my favorite veggie pizza with burnt crust and no olives. Maybe I don’t go as far as to treasure these pleasures. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, I should save my treasuring for what is heavenly. Yet there are treasures I hold on earth without guilt or shame.
I treasure my mom. Her love for me is fierce, her kindness contagious, and her drive to do good inspiring. I treasure my dad. He’s wise without arrogance, funny without cruelty, and willing to walk miles with me. I treasure my brother. Each subject of his passion radiates, and I’m lucky to feel like one of them. I treasure my sisters (and apologize for combining the three of them into one insufficient sentence). They are unapologetically successful, loyal, smart, and tall.
These are all people who dwell on earth, but they are my most prized treasures. I’ve often questioned my hierarchy of love. Most days, my family feels closer to me than God. Like God, they offer me unconditional support and a sense of peace. Does that earthly closeness make me a bad Christian? I would argue not.
It is through people that I praise God. In this sense, my parents and siblings aren’t earthly treasures at all, but heavenly ones. I think Jesus knew that when he spoke these words to his disciples, but it took me a while to untangle the difference, or rather re-tangle them. Thanks to messengers like Jesus, heaven and earth are intertwined. I find heaven in humanity, and I hope to find humanity in heaven one day.
Dear God, help bring us closer to the people around us and, through them, closer to you. Amen.