Along with much of the country, California has been hammered with floods, fires, and evacuations. Likely you’ve seen examples on the evening news. A recent fire in the community next door forced an evacuation of a long time friend, Jim Davis. Here’s his story.
“We had to evacuate due to the close proximity of the Liberty fire a couple of months back (December 2017)…From the time I arrived at my house to when we were told we were under mandatory evacuation orders, we had about 40 minutes to gather up what we could. Just 40 minutes. Some people in those recent disasters did not have time to gather more than what they were wearing. In that sense, we were quite lucky.
“So, the question is, faced with looming disaster, what do you take? What do you value? What is important to your heart? For us, it was computers, hard drives and memory cards and sticks, two musical instruments (not easily replaced) 2 cameras, a few clothes, insurance papers, birth certificates, and prescription medicines. Those items, with the exception of the cameras, were all related to ministry and family. That's where our hearts are. Clothes and meds were for survival post disaster. Oddly, what we didn't take were the keys to the safe deposit boxes, or to the trailer that we could have lived in if necessary, which is in storage in Menifee.
“So, there's the idea: What do you take? Because what you take, if given time, may indicate where your heart truly is.”
Jim then referenced Jesus’ words, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being” (Matthew 6:19-21, The Message).
Think with me—what would you take if you had an hour to pack and go? What does that reveal? But let’s go further. What do your checkbook and calendar whisper about your values? Yeah, many of these don’t say much. Necessities such as housing and clothing and food and jobs suck up time and money, and that’s fine. But how about the discretionary income? Do we use it primarily to build our kingdom?
Do these give a hint that we yearn to build God’s kingdom? Or a strong and clear statement? Do we build for this short and temporary life, or for eternity?
A big caveat: let’s not get legalistic. I offer no answers, but the questions can help us. Several decades back, the entertainer Pat Boone caught some flack for living in Beverly Hills with a nice pool. But Pat baptized a lot of people in the entertainment industry, his neighbors, in that pool.
What counts? Asking the questions. Exploring how we use the stuff of our lives. Determining if we believe God has more worth than anything or anyone else. Being sensitive to the nudges of the Spirit.
Kick Starting the Application
If you ranked your priorities honestly, where would God place? Are you happy with that? Examine how your use your treasure and time, does it roughly correlate to the above? Think of a few specific acts that you can make to better reflect your value of God.