Moths and rust

I tend to forget a basic truth that Jesus shared in Matthew: “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.”

I grab satisfaction out of getting a thing I can hold, something that works well and doesn’t break. That satisfaction lasts a while, and then that thing becomes just another part of my life. It blends into the background, and I forget the initial thrill.

Worse, even though it’s higher quality than many of its lesser brethren, it breaks. Then it’s either impossible to get it fixed or it costs as much to fix as buying a new one that isn’t made quite as well.

Jesus knew that, even back before my thing was invented. The tax collectors he ate dinner with must have had pretty nice couches. They didn’t want the couches that lesser mortals had – they requested the nicer fabric option with stronger wood frames.

We never read about Jesus questioning their couch choices nor the cost of the fine wine they served. Instead he just relaxed with them and enjoyed the fine meal they offered. We don’t know what paths their conversations followed. I’m sure there were several moments when they thought, “Maybe I need to look a little closer into that part of my life.”

When Jesus spoke of treasures, he was talking to a large crowd of people – not just tax collectors. He went on to say where we should store up treasures – in heaven. I think his dinners with tax collectors were one of the treasures that he was storing up. Matthew, the man who wrote down Jesus’ words above, was a tax collector. Those dinners paid off by creating lasting relationships. And lasting words that we learn from today.

Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.