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“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19)

This last month has been a rollercoaster for my fellow citizens of Alberta. May 1 marked the start of a wildfire that is being labeled the most costly disaster in Canadian history. It has displaced approximately 88 000 people, destroyed more than 2 400 buildings, and approximately 1 900 firefighters have and continue to fight the ongoing inferno. Some people being evacuated had mere minutes to grab something and leave their home. Hearing this made me think, “What would I take if I had only 5 minutes?”

Smoke looming over the city of Fort McMurray ominously.

“Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

As I thought about all the items I own and which ones I would grab if I had 5 minutes this verse came to mind. I can remember having this verse told to me as a child in Sunday School, I’m not sure I ever perfectly understood it, but after living for such a short time, so far, I see the importance of this verse. We put so much value in stuff that we sometimes forget that it’s all just stuff. Their value lies in the memories we associate with them, and the work and money we put into them – that’s it. Our stuff will never last; even our memories fade. So why would I hold it all as a treasure?

About three years ago I had a conversation with a wonderful lady who has been a great influence in my life. She has since moved away and I don’t know if she realizes the impact that she has had on my life, but there was one thing from this conversation that has stuck with me. Actually it was something that she had learned that week. “Camilla, I need to be in a place where if there comes a time where my husband is no longer with me I can continue to live without him. My reliance needs to be on God, my heart with God, not on my husband.” That struck a chord for me. It is an idea that can cross boundaries, one that is not simply relevant to marital relationships, but all relationships (including the relationships we have with items and possessions.)

It is important to store all that I hold dear with God. What I give to him will not be destroyed, deteriorate, or die. They aren’t physical treasures, they aren’t tangible, but they are real. There needs to be conscious effort to put God first, put him as the only thing on my list of “things to grab if I have 5 minutes”. With him I am provided for, loved, have joy, am alive… Remember “He is; therefore I am.” So when I have him, that’s all that I need. He is what will satisfy.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21)

You know it can be a hard thing to let our treasures go. I’d say for me that it is people I have a hard time surrendering to God. But in the end I know that if I give God my heart (which I consider to be my treasure), then I know that it will be taken care of. I will be given a greater capacity to love, to forgive, to support, to help, and to have compassion. However, if I hold onto the things of this world, when the stuff or people that I hold as treasures fail me, leave, or die a part of me will go with it. Living with God at the top of the list allows me to be free from the temporariness of this world. I want my heart to desire more of him.

So another question I would like to ask is this, if you had no time to grab anything, if you had to leave everything behind would you be ok with that?

Matthew 6:33-34

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