James 5:3 – Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. (NIV)
For many years, I have been living with the knowledge that I am responsible for a very valuable diamond ring that was my mother's. She was given these diamonds when she married my stepfather. He had his "graduation" several years before hers, so she took her wedding rings to a jeweller to have them made into a dinner ring. At her "graduation", she left this highly valued ring to her granddaughter, my daughter. I was to keep the ring as long as I wanted it, and then pass it on to my daughter.
My husband and I have matching wedding bands. Mine has been a constant companion for 43 years. There are a few other pieces of jewellery that have sentimental value, but there has been no emphasis on jewellery in my life. During the time I was preparing for a trip away from home, I decided to put the dinner ring and the wedding ring away for safekeeping. If there were to be a break-in while we were away, these valuable things would not be found.
It was some time after we returned home that I realized that I did not know where I had "hidden" the rings. The looking process took place over nearly three months. This really gives one time to think about the important things! It was not important, either for my salvation or to find favour with God, for me to find the rings, but it was hard to face the humiliation of losing such a "treasure".
It was not a real treasure. The value of my own peace and time was weighed against the anxiety and time put into searching, examining my movements, and knowing that in my own house, I had lost something for which we were paying insurance premiums. It became clear to me that this was not the way I wanted to spend my time protecting earthly goods. I wanted to be free of these concerns.
What is weighing down our time? What is disturbing our peace? What is keeping happiness away? Where are our values?
Matthew 6:19-21 – 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. (NIV)
Prayer: Forgive us, O God, when all too easily and all too often we allow our minds, and our time and attention and energy, to be focused on the treasures of this world. Help us rather to set our minds on things above. Set us free with joy to spend our time and energy laying up treasure in heaven by investing ourselves in sharing the treasures of Your truth and love with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.