“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21, NIV 1984).
My Musings – The above image might not be immediately recognizable to those much younger or older than me, but it’s a picture of Steve Martin from his movie debut in “The Jerk.” A comedy that was billed as “a rags to riches to rags story.” Here are a few lines from right after he lost the riches he had acquired. “
Well, I’m gonna go then. And I don’t need any of this! I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything – except this (referring to an ashtray), this ashtray, and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need, too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this! The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. Well, what are you looking at? What do you think I am, some kind of a jerk or something? And this! And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair…I don’t need one other thing, except my dog (the dog growled at him) I don’t need my dog.”
There are so many things that we think we need in this life, only to find that once we have them we are not satisfied and think we need more. Still, joy and happiness eludes us. John D. Rockefeller is reported to have said, “How much money does it take to make a man happy? Just one more dollar.” Whether He sincerely believed this (he was, after all a great philanthropist), or was being cynical (people will never be satisfied with what they have) is open to debate.
The tragedy of pursuing and accumulating the things that we do not have to make us happy (other than the fact that they cannot buy happiness), is that in the end (maybe sooner), we cannot keep them. He may not have originated the quote, but Reverend Billy Graham once said, “I never saw a U-Haul behind a hearse.” Actor Denzel Washington elaborated on the quote, “now I’ve been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life – I can’t take it with me, and neither can you. So, it’s not how much you have. It’s what you do with what you have. And we all have different gifts. Some have money, some love, some patience, some ability to touch people. But we all have it. Use it. Share it. That’s what counts.”
My Advice – That’s real “treasure” building. But it requires an initial investment. It requires surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. Then you will realize that you don’t need “just one more dollar.” You “don’t need one other thing.” All those things you thought you needed, you really don’t. The things you thought you needed and so desperately wanted to hold onto, you need to let go. Real wealth is investing in (“use it, share it”) His Kingdom and His Righteousness. The question is not “who wants to be a millionaire?” It’s “who wants to be a millennium heir?” More often than not, the riches are found in the rags.