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Posts Tagged ‘treasures on earth v treasures in heaven’

Many years ago, in a far, far away land called my childhood, one of my favourite books was The House That Jack Built. Our copy had windows in each page that gave the reader enticing views of what was to come—plus the whole book was shaped like a house. But, above all, we loved the rhythm and the repetition contained in this story:

This is the house that Jack built

This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built

This is the rat that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built …

And on it went.

P1030988I thought of that book again last week when we arrived home from an interstate trip to discover how large the house under construction opposite ours had become in our absence. It seems to be growing taller and grander by the minute. Admittedly, it is on the ‘up’ side of our narrow street while we are on the lower ‘down’ side. But it is still an imposing edifice—or will be. Another neighbour on our side has christened it ‘the Palace of H … (insert owner’s name here!)’.

Now our neighbour across the road has worked very hard as the owner-builder. When not at his other responsible job, he can be found onsite here, supervising the construction of his ‘Palace’. Several times, he has taken my husband on ‘the grand tour’, explaining what rooms are what and how hard he has worked on it and how well he has planned it all. Hopefully, the time will come when he can relax and enjoy his wonderful, new home. Hopefully, his wife and children are surviving without him around most of the time. Hopefully, it is not the be-all and end-all to him.

Whenever I catch sight of our neighbourhood ‘palace’, however, I am reminded of the story Jesus told about the rich man who decided to tear down his old barns and build bigger ones to store all his  crops (Luke 12:13-21). But that very night, he died and was not around to enjoy all the fruits of his labours. As Jesus warns us:

… a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Luke 12:15b

Now don’t get me wrong—I love beautiful homes. And I have seen those who own very large ones use them in a wonderful way to bless many. In the end, however, these homes are only bricks and mortar. In the end, they will end up as a pile of rubble, just as the original, neat house opposite us was demolished in order to build the new ‘palace’. In the end, any material things we put before God with be worth nothing—including those books and computers we set such store by in our own humble home! What we all need to ensure, as Jesus also point out, is that we become ‘rich toward God’ (Luke 12:21), rather than setting our hearts on any riches this world can provide.

I hope our neighbour across the road and his little family enjoy their new ‘palace’ for many years to come. But I hope and pray that one day they will be rich in the things of God too. Because that’s what really matters, don’t you think?

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