I remember going to visit my grandmother when I was just a kid…we would travel all the way to California. it seemed like the longest trip… but it was always worth it, because I loved going to my grandma’s. She had the greatest toys — toys, comic books, games — she kept them in a box in her closet. While we were there, I could take those games out. I could take those comics books out. I could takes those toys out, and play with them — just like they were mine, like it was my stuff. But at the end of the week, when we would pack up to go home… try to sneak a comic book home and she morphed from little grandma to the all-seeng presence. I could never take any “stuff” with me.
It was there before I came and there when I left. While I was there I could play with it like it was all “My Stuff” but when I left, it all went back in the box.
I remember going on vacation with some friends of ours. We went to the North Woods in Minnesota. We had a great time, except for that afternoon when we pulled this Monopoly game out of it’s box. Brian was a good friend of mine, humble, gentle, just a good guy. But what we didn’t realize was that Monopoly changed him — ruthless, total commitment to acquisition. He knew that ultimately the master of the board was the one with the most stuff. He was ruthless in his passion to have it all in his hands and by the time we were done, he’d reduced us to financial and psychological bankruptcy.
But you know what? No matter how well had learned to play the game, no matter how many hotels he had placed on Boardwalk, that afternoon when the game was done…it all went back in the box. For an afternoon he was on top, but before we left that place. It all went back in the box.
As it is with monopoly and Grandma’s toys — so it is with life — it all goes back in the box. In I Timothy 6:7, Paul says: For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. It doesn’t matter how well you play the game, how much stuff you collect. It all goes back in the box. In the end it’s no more “my stuff” than monopoly money. In the end it all goes back in a box and at the very end we call that box a casket and if the focus of our hopes and joy was my acquisition of stuff — in the end — all that’s left, is in the box.
But there is another way. Listen to what Jesus said about the box.
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)
This vitally profound statement that Jesus makes has wrestled it’s way into my heart…For where your treasure is… I’ve come to understand that this is as true as the truth that Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead. It is foundational. Where my treasure is my heart will be also.
If we don’t want our hearts to end up in a box…we need to send our treasure on ahead. How? Be Generous.