Here is where this series takes a sharp turn from what I assumed it would that night in August when I heard the whisper while painting. I think I kind of assumed that I would be painting the picture of my life as I explained all about how to live simply.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I really thought I had a lot to teach people about living with less and not needing to have the latest styles and the newest vehicles and the biggest and most lavishly decorated houses. I kinda thought I had the 'not storing treasures on earth' thing down. But the question, "Does not storing up treasures on earth automatically mean I am storing them up in Heaven?" brought me up short.
I do believe the Bible is clear that we should not seek to be rich and to have all the possessions that go along with it. Money is a master, that's why Jesus said we can't serve both it and Him. As soon as we have money, something in our human nature makes us want to own the symbols of our prosperity, I saw that in myself clearly with the bulging envelope marked house fund! I think that is why Jesus said it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. That's the way it works; that is what money does.
The interesting thing is this: God doesn't actually mind us being channels of a lot of money. There is no problem with money flowing through our hands. The problem is wanting to be rich; to have it, to own it.
A message I listened to by John Piper brought this idea out so clearly. He told about a magazine ad he saw for La Z Boy. The man in the ad wanted his office to reflect the fact that his business was a success. In other words, the chair you sit in should look like what you make. John Piper says, "No. It should look like Jesus is valuable!"
I believe that with all my heart, and I want to live that way. I believe truly living that way means making it practical in what I wear, what I drive, the house I live in, the way I decorate; every part of my life. But this is where the sharp turn comes in.
When the question, "Does not storing up treasures on earth automatically mean I am storing up treasures in Heaven" came up, I suddenly realized that Jesus isn't calling me to focus on the list of ways I should live simply or have less. He is calling me to store up treasures in Heaven!
It seems almost silly now but I didn't realize at first that the two were different.