Our house was broken into by thieves. Their target was our copper pipes, but they also nabbed a brass mallard, some sweet little Nikon binoculars, and a blanket of which I was inordinately fond. It could have been worse. They could have taken much more, and trashed the place, but they did not.
This comes to mind as I read the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus told his disciples not to store up treasures on earth but in heaven, “where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (see Matthew 6:19–21).
Where is my treasure? There is an ache in my heart when I think of the things that were taken, particularly that blanket. It leaves a hole that cries out to be filled. But with what?
- More possessions that can be stolen or moth-eaten or rusted away?
- More or better investments?
- What about less tangible treasures like prestige or power?
- More books published, or a bigger social media following?
- Health or beauty or nice clothes?
And when death steals all these things from me, will my heart be just a gaping hole?
How full is your “heavenly handbag”?
Every time I see our empty blanket chest, the ache reminds me: “lay up treasure in heaven.” Better to stock my heavenly treasure chest—or as Pope Francis called it, the “handbag of heaven.”
In Luke 12, Jesus tells the disciples to sell their possessions, give alms, and focus on filling “purses that do not grow old.” We don’t need to be afraid for ourselves, he says, because it’s God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom! (see vss. 32–34). In God’s economy, it’s those who give who receive: “give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap” (Luke 6:38).
What I love about both of these passages (Matthew 6 and Luke 12) is the reason Jesus gives to store treasure in heaven: so that our hearts will be there, too. We can guard against aching hearts by giving away and holding lightly earthly things, and amassing the kind of treasure that lasts forever.
In the end, the treasure that lasts turns out to be the same treasure that really satisfies our hearts. The investment that truly pays is knowing and loving Jesus and the things he loves: Holiness. Mercy. Truth. Justice. Charity. It is in loving others—even those we don’t like, even enemies—as he does. It is in giving our things and our selves up for him, investing time in people before profit.
It’s worth thinking about: What’s in your handbag?
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“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.”
—Isaiah 55:2, ESV
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©2022 Sarah Christmyer
Joe R Tringale says
Thank you for the reminder of what’s in my wallet.
About 20 years ago, things my mother gave me and had passed to me were stolen. I was sick and’ after awhile, I started to pray for the thief.
Like you mentioned, we came into the world with nothing, we leave with all the spiritual gifts God has give us like, Love, Grace and Peace.
Barbara Gilligan says
I am so sorry this happened to you. You certainly know how to bring Our Lord’s Word into all of this. Our home was broken into when my grandfather died. The event has stayed with me and I think of it every time I leave the house. The Lord’s peace be with you. Thank you for your enlightening perspective.
CHARLES AZZOPARDI says
WE PRAY TO GOD THAT HUMANITY WILL ACCEPT GOD’S GRACE.
Julie Foresee says
Sarah, losing something that we hold dear to our hearts is part of life. I had a rosebud that I kept for years that my late husband gave to me on a special occasion. Somehow, while rearranging my desk where the rosebud sat, it ended up on the floor without me knowing. My little Corgi puppy got ahold of it, and destroyed it before I realized it was gone. When I found it in pieces on the floor, I cried for hours and still have great sadness when looking at the empty container where it once was placed. Reading your blog today will help me move past my sadness. Thank you for the encouragement to move past this.
Toni Lovingood says
As a child, we came home and the thieves ran out the other door. I recall being frightened for years afterward of coming home. Home is such a place of sanctuary for us. It feels like such a violation and invasion of our personal space. It was a unique list of items taken. God will use it to work His purposes in them and wrap you in the warmth of His love just as that blanket did. No doubt even the thieves knew they had entered a home filled with God’s love. You may never know what impact it made on them.
So thankful that none of you were harmed.