Self-Storing Treasures

Recently two separate self-storage facilities have been built within about three miles of my house. One is actually within about 50 yards from one that has been in our area for several years. I keep thinking about those self-storage facilities as such a reflection of our culture and environment now. If you turn on your television, you can see it in shows such as Hoarders and Storage Wars. We want all the stuff and we want it for ourselves.

It’s even more apparent within us. We store up knowledge (not a bad thing), emotions, feelings and even Christ. We self-store thinking that if we keep it to ourselves, we are better off. If we store up the blessings and giftings from God that we are doing this life the right way because it’s how it plays out in our culture.

But we are so wrong…

What we define as treasures, they reflect where our hearts are. And what we do with those treasures, those gifts and blessings, well they also tell us where our hearts are. Time is a treasure to some…but how are we spending it? Money is a treasure to others….but how are you spending it? What about your gifts and talents? Are they being spent or stored up?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)

For a long season I stored up my own treasure, in my own self-storage unit you could say. I pulled it away and packed it up thinking that was what I should be doing. Packing away treasure that I defined instead of spending it for what it was made to be spent on. When I took the time to break down and really examine these verses in Matthew 6, I found that my treasure is worth pulling out of storage because it has a better return on investment in heaven than by storing it away. My heart is with the treasure I spend for His glory and good…not the one I pack away in self-storage and keep for myself. It does no one any good to hoard my time, my talents…these treasures I have been gifted, especially me, but most importantly the God who gave them to me.

What today do you need to unpack from self-storage? What do you define as treasures of your life-where your heart is invested by time or money or your talents? How are you storing them up? Where are you investing your treasure, here on earth or in heaven?

Gifts and Tools and Talents

For years my dad will talk about tools with me. It must be a tomboy thing. He will pull them out and show me what they do, or point to one in Home Depot and talk about all of it’s uses. In being a new homeowner I am relishing the information he has shared with me over the years, because when something happens (like the washing machine drain pipe coming loose) I know what I need to use to fix the problem.

It’s the knowledge that he has carried for years that I am thankful he spent time passing on to me. The same goes with my car. He educated me so that I would recognize when I was being had by a mechanic or when to take my car in when the alignment felt slightly off.

We all have these tools and talents, knowledge that we have ascertained or been gifted. This last year I truly doubted much of the tools I had in my own toolbox, and questioned any of the talents in which I felt I had. I didn’t put them to use, or I used them for something else in the hopes that would be the fix.

In the middle of Advent season, God showers us with our gifts by ensuring we see the talents we have in the midst of confusion, division, doubts and busyness. He gives us these gifts and tools to be used, to multiply again and again. I think know I have taken these gifts for granted, eschewing them aside because it didn’t seem like they were of use. I heard something yesterday that caught my attention:

That’s the thing with tools. When they are used for their purpose they work well. When they aren’t, well...”

Our gift may be a voice, a song, writing or baking. It could be mothering or leading. So often we doubt the good gifts given and they go unused. We turn into the man who buried his gold in the field because of fear. We see the others around us using their gifts given and we begin to skew our minds into thinking He hasn’t gifted us as well or with opportunity.

But look at how He gifts, each one according to their ability. I started thinking on that after hearing it in the context of my favorite people currently, Mary and Joseph. They were faithful in what they were given. They could have said no, but He knew their hearts, their talents, their faithfulness, and most of all, their ability to carry what He called them to do.

What would it look like if we started being faithful in the gifts He has given us? Instead of living in fear of not accomplishing it with what He has given, but rather rejoicing in what He entrusts to us to carry? Maybe they aren’t the best cookies in the world, but you baked them for that family you knew needed them. Maybe you only get to speak to kids for twenty minutes once a week, but you spoke to the hearts who would listen, who needed you to speak that truth into them. Maybe you don’t get as many views or likes on something you poured your heart into, but you were obedient to do what He impressed upon your heart. (Hi, that one’s me and I’ll dive into that ugly mess in a later post)

Be faithful in the gift given this year. If it matters enough to Him to gift you with it, then it makes an eternal difference that you use it.