Friday, November 13, 2015

Treasure Exchange

We only had three things on our list: cat toy, vegetarian bean paste, return/exchange heater (one we bought last week that refused to heat).  This short outing turned into deep thought for the rest of the week. 

Along our route to the department store I looked at all the houses as we drove by them.  Glancing out the car window I shared with my husband what came to mind. “You could go inside every one of these houses and they’d all be different.  It wouldn’t matter how nice they were … they are all going to be gone.” 

Last Sunday was my mother’s birthday and I miss her tremendously since she moved to Heaven. I suspect that’s why my mind was directed down so many rabbit paths for days on end.  I wasn’t trying to be morbid or negative, but was thinking about what the Bible says concerning our possessions in a new Heaven and Earth.   

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As soon as we arrived at the store my husband went to customer service to return the non-functional heater.  Looking for something else in the heating department, I motioned to hubby that I’d like to visit the Christmas section in the next room. He began looking for the replacement heater and I went my jolly way to take in all the new holiday displays. 

While he was browsing the aisle some friends of ours stopped to talk.  Sophie asked where I was and he sent her round the corner while Don stayed and chatted with him. 

Greeting me with a big smile Sophie and I looked at the new colors and discussed various decorating ideas we had for our homes. A few minutes later we rejoined the boys and made plans to meet up for lunch the next day to celebrate her birthday. 

We finished looking for the items on our list, but they were still out of bean paste. Oh well, I suppose accomplishing two out of three things wasn’t bad. 

Earthly Possessions 

Knowing that I was going to see my friend in the next few days I wanted to get her something unique.  This was even before we bumped into one another in the store.  I prayed and asked God to show me something really special for her and give me favor in finding the right present. 

Not long after I was in the store my eyes came across a lovely purple, short sleeved knit sweater. My first thoughts were of mom, because purple was her favorite color. It also happened to be one of Sophie’s.   They were both the same size so I felt good about the product and that God gave me wonderful favor in the pricing. 

Preparing to wrap the gifts I purchased for my friend, I cut off the tag on the sweater.  Turning the tag over I noticed it read, “Earthly Possessions” on the label. Immediately I thought about something God spoke to my spirit in 2004 when I gave away my most precious belongings.
 
Not dwelling on it, I didn’t think anything else about the tag and finished wrapping the gifts.   

It was weird though, because that topic was something I discussed with the Lord in 2010 when my Mom left her temporary home here on earth to be with Him in Heaven. 
 
I was in a conversation with Him when I heard, “What did your mother take with her when she left?”  Of course the answer was “nothing.” 

“For we brought nothing into this world,
and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”


Greet & Eat 

Our lunch gathering was set for 11:30 on Thursday (11/12/15) morning. Since it was Sophie’s birthday I asked her where she would like to sit. Her choice was a far corner booth by a window away from the crowd. When we all sat down Don joked on how close we would have to sit, but we all agreed it was fine. 

Lucy with waiter Frank Nelson Season 2 Episode 49
"Lucy Changes Her Mind"
I could see Sophie wasn’t happy with the arrangement even after we were all seated.  “Let’s move over there.” She pointed to the chairs in the next aisle.  The four of us stood up and walked over to the seats.  “No this one would be better.”  So we moved over to another section.   

As we were switching tables an episode of “I Love Lucy” popped into my head of when Lucy kept moving Fred, Ethel and her husband from one table to the next.  We had a good laugh over what was happening.  

Locating a set of chairs at the far end of the restaurant we continued over to that area and finally sat down.  Sophie was right about the move, but I wonder if the waitress thought we were playing musical chairs.  In the end we actually sat where I suggested.  Sorry Sophie, I didn’t realize it until my husband pointed it out to me at midnight.

Tagged by the Holy Ghost 

The buffet style lunch was over and we had a bit of time left to chat before our friends had to leave for another appointment.  The boys talked amongst themselves while Sophie and I shared memories of our families.   

Slipped into the conversation, she talked about her homeland and how things were in her country.  Her parents would forego possessions and worked hard to ensure all of the children benefited from a college education, while they endured hardships.  

Sophie told me what she imagined Americans to be like and that people in her country think we’re all rich.  She learned that wasn’t true first hand when she moved here.  

As for possessions in her country, they are few. Forget owning a home or land; and material items such as an oven are a luxury that many don’t enjoy.  Listening to her maybe there was more to that tag on the sweater after all.  What was the Holy Spirit trying to reveal to me? 

After we finished eating I handed the gift package to Sophie.  She kept shaking her head as if she wasn’t going to accept it. Now I’m thinking how are we going to connect here?  She doesn’t like sweets, tea or accumulating material things.  Boy did her husband hit the jackpot when he married her!   

About that time Sophie shared how she wanted to learn the “lingo” or “slang” we use in our country.  She didn’t understand the phrase her mother-in-law used when she said she was going to “hit the hay.”  This would be a prime time to teach her a few more like, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” 

Heavenly Treasures 

I’m not really sure what she was thinking at the time, and I certainly didn’t want to offend her.  Finally, I persuaded Sophie to take what I was offering out of friendship.  

When we arrived home my husband and I sat in our car for thirty minutes talking about the events of the afternoon.  Our neighbors must think we’re strange, because we do this all the time. 

We’ve known Don and Sophie for about a year now.  They are both highly educated individuals, friendly and generous.  However, what I like most about them is although they have a nice new home, they embrace people not things.  

My conversations with Sophie over the course of this week magnified what Jesus taught when He warned us not to get attached to the things of this world.  It isn’t that the Lord doesn’t want us to have things, but because possessions are temporal they shouldn’t be the most important thing in our lives. 

It took some time, but years ago I made the choice not to love things more than I love the Lord.  I’ve had beautiful homes, cars and things in the past and hope to have them in the future.  My reason for these treasures now isn’t what it was when I first desired them as a young adult. 

Any time a person or thing becomes more important than our relationship with Christ, it makes us not worthy of being His disciple, child, friend and heir.  

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy

I never want to be in that position again, because I know that means my heart really belongs to my treasures here – my stuff – the things that are going to go “poof” and disappear one day.  In reality, that’s pretty stupid isn’t it? 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth (material things),
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth
nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I believe God means what He says in His Word about our hearts not being found in the right place when it comes to how we view the use of material goods here on Earth. 

It isn’t a sin to have earthly possessions, but it is a sin not to use what God has provided for good works.  When Mary poured expensive oil over Jesus’ feet, He didn’t scold her for having such an extravagant item in her house, but praised her for the use of it.  (See John12:1-8)

It’s time we took a look at what treasures are filling our house and our hearts.
 

This Week’s Challenge:
Exchanging Treasures 

God has blessed His children with good things, and some of those happen to be material possessions.  Our Daily Favor Challenge two weeks ago showed us that as the Body of Christ, “We Can Do Better.”

Part of believing what we believe about the Bible, requires that we lay aside our mindset of why we have earthly possessions.  When we returned the heater, it was with hopes of an exchange for something that would benefit us long term.  That’s the same principle God wants us to grasp when it comes to serving material things, rather than having them serve us to fulfill the call on our lives. 

Our challenge this week asks, “What things have we acquired that could be put to better use?”  It’s time to do some fall cleaning and go deep into our treasure chests of collectible items and make an exchange.   

What possessions do you have that mean more to you than God?  Would you be willing to part with them to prove that serving the Lord in obedience means more to you than that item?  If not, enjoy your treasure chest here, because it will be empty when you reach Heaven.  If so, make your treasure exchange this week by giving something you value away and watch how the favor of God really works here on Earth.
 


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Until next time, exchange your treasures for Heavenly favor! 

“My favor is not found in earthly treasures.”
Jesus Christ 

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.
Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness.
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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
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Image:  Money Bag
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